In an earlier blog posting, I talked about the uncertainty that accompanied getting off the plane in Beijing and (fortunately) how relatively easy the processes ended up being. One of those fairly fast and straightforward processes was going through Chinese customs and getting my passport and visa inspected.
Different visas allow a visitor to enter and exit China a different number of times. My Z-Visa was a single entry visa, which meant that I could only come to China once on it. The Chinese customs officer did something on the computer. Then to show that I had used my one entry, he used the highly official method of making a check mark with a pen on the visa.
Immediately after arriving at the airport on Thursday, August 19, two clocks started ticking. I had 24 hours to register with the neighborhood police station and get a Temporary Residence Permit. Then I had 30 days to get my official one-year Residency Permit. What felt like a culminating moment (arriving in China) really was just the beginning of the next phase of paperwork.