What is the change? Chinese New Year falls on Feb. 16 this year and offices will close in China, Singapore and many other Asian countries to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

What does the change mean? Applicants should expect closures and delays in processing during the holiday period.

  • Implementation time frame: Roughly Feb. 15 through Feb. 21, with exact dates varying from country to country.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits and other immigration-related services.
  • Who is affected: Applicants seeking immigration-related services in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam, among other countries.
  • Impact on processing times: Applicants should expect delays of up to one week.
  • Next steps: Time-sensitive applications should be filed before the holiday break, if possible.

Background: Asian countries celebrating Lunar New Year will welcome the Year of the Dog on Feb. 16. Days on which public offices will close vary from country to country:

  • China – Offices will be closed from Feb. 15 through 21, with regular business resuming on Feb. 22.
  • Hong Kong – Offices will be closed from Feb. 16 through Feb. 19 and may close early on Feb. 15. Regular business will resume Feb. 20.
  • Singapore – Offices will be closed from Feb. 16 through Feb. 19, with regular business resuming Feb. 20.
  • Taiwan – Offices will be closed from Feb. 15 through Feb. 20, with regular business resuming on Feb. 21.
  • Vietnam – The Tet holiday will be observed Feb. 14 through Feb. 20. Regular business will resume Feb. 21.

BAL Analysis: Employers and individuals should plan now for the holiday closures and check consulates for related closures. Applicants should check with their BAL team for individual countries and offices.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in China. For additional information, please contact

Copyright © 2018 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact