Visas and Permits

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: Dec 1, 2022 Print
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1. What are the requirements for foreigners applying for a work permit in China?

Basic requirements for domestic employers:

Enterprises that hire foreigners should be established in accordance with laws and have no record of severe illegal or credit defaults. Job positions should have special requirements for foreigners, temporarily lack suitable candidates at home and do not break related laws in China. Salaries and wages should be no less than local minimum wages. And employers should apply to related departments for approval in advance if laws and regulations require.

Basic requirements for applicants:

Foreign applicants should be at least 18, in good health and have no criminal record. They should have identified employers in China and possess necessary specific skills or appropriate knowledge to engage in the work. The work should be in line with the needs of China's economic and social development, and employees should be technical personnel in urgent domestic need. If there are other provisions in laws and regulations on foreigners' work in China, such provisions shall prevail.

2. What is the procedure for hiring foreigners to work in China (working in China for more than 90 days)?

(1) Employers or trusted agencies should register accounts at the website of Services System for Foreigners Working in China, submit permit applications and print the Notification Letter of Foreigner's Work Permit in China.

(2) Foreigners could apply for Z-, F- or R-type visas at local Chinese embassies or consulates with the Notification Letter of Foreigner's Work Permit in China and other required materials.

(3) Employers can apply for the Foreigner's Work Permit Card online within 15 days after foreigners' entry in China with valid visas, and pick up the cards at local departments charged with foreigners' work in China.

(4) Foreigners should apply for work-type resident certificates at the entry and exit administrative institutions of local police organs within 30 days after their entry in China with valid visas.

3. Can a foreigner apply for Chinese nationality as a spouse of a Chinese citizen?

According to the Nationality Law of the People's Republic of China, foreign nationals or stateless persons who are willing to abide by China's constitution and laws and who meet one of the following conditions may be naturalized upon approval of their applications:

(1) They are near relatives of Chinese nationals;

(2) They have settled in China;

(3) They have other legitimate reasons.

Foreigners who want to apply for Chinese nationality as a spouse of a Chinese citizen should apply to the exit and entry administration department of the local public security bureau where their Chinese relatives are located and submit documents such as international travel documents, marriage certificates, and residence certificates in China for approval by the Ministry of Public Security. Residence certificate in China refers to Foreign Permanent Resident ID Card.

According to the Measures for the Administration of Examination and Approval of Foreigners' Permanent Residence in China, Chinese citizens' foreign spouses can apply for permanent residence in China if they meet the following conditions:

(1) They have been married for at least five years;

(2) They have stayed in China for at least five successive years with no less than nine months' residence per year;

(3) They have stable source of subsistence and a dwelling place.

They can visit the website of the National Immigration Administration of the Ministry of Public Security for further information on application materials.

4. Can two people of foreign nationalities register their marriage in China?

According to the Department of Social Affairs, Ministry of Civil Affairs, two people who are both foreign nationals cannot register their marriage with China's civil affairs department

5. Why do Chinese visas have different types and categories?

A visa is the basis for the activities the holder may engage in while in China. In light of China's laws and regulations, Consular Officers make the decision on what type of visa to issue to an applicant based on the applicant's personal status and purpose for visiting China

6. What is the relationship between the duration of stay and period of validity of a visa?

Duration of stay refers to the longest period the visa holder is allowed to stay in China from the date of entry into China on each visit.

The holder of a visa is eligible to enter China at any time prior to the expiry of its period of validity (allowed to enter China even before the 24:00 hour of the last date of its period of validity) provided that the granted entries on the visa have not been used up. Duration of stay is no longer useful once the period of validity expires

7. How do I extend the duration of stay of a Chinese visa?

Some types of visas may be extended. You may apply for extension of the duration of stay of your visa at a local public security authority at the county level and above before the expiration of your stay. Overstay will violate the law of China and will result in punishment.

8. What would be the best time for me to apply for a Chinese visa?

It is advisable that you apply for a visa one month in advance of your intended date of entry into China, and do not apply 3 months earlier than your intended date of entry. Your visa might expire before your intended departure date for China if you apply too early; but if you apply too late, you might not be able to obtain a visa in time for your scheduled departure. For instance, if you plan to enter China on July 1, the best time for you to submit your visa application is the early of June. If you need express service or rush service, you will be required to pay an extra visa fee plus express service fee or rush service fee

9. Where do I apply for a Chinese visa?

If you are ordinary passport holders of your own country, please submit your application to the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre. However, Holders of diplomatic and service (official) passports or applicants eligible for applying for China's diplomatic, courtesy, and service visas, and applicants applying for a visa /entry permit to the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Region of China should still apply directly to the Chinese Embassy

10. Can I apply for a visa online?

For the time being, you cannot apply for a visa through the internet, however you can complete your application form online

11. I want to tour China by driving my own vehicle; what type of visa should I apply for?

You should apply for a L-visa for a special tour. A special tour includes: mountain climbing, self-driving, hiking, cycling, horse-riding, hot air balloon, or other expeditions. You need to provide a visa notification issued by China National Tourism Administration or the tourism administration of related province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the Central Government.

12. What type of visa should I apply for?

It depends on the purpose of your visit. Please see the section "A Brief Introduction to Chinese Visas". It is up to the consular official to decide on the type of visa to be issued.

13. How long in advance should I apply for a visa?

It is advised that you submit the application one month in advance of your planned date of entry. Application made too early may cause the expiry of the visa and you won't be able to use it in the end, but if you submit an application too late, there might not be enough time for the application to be processed.

14. What are the measures China uses to promote foreign investment?

Investment promotion refers a series of activities that governments adopt to attract foreign direct investment.

Investment promotion includes the following specific types of activities: advertising, direct mail, investment seminars, investment group, participating in the industry fair and exhibition, distributing materials, one-to-one direct marketing, preparing agenda for potential investors, facilitate interaction between potential investors and local partners, acquiring licenses and approval documents from the various government agencies, preparing project proposals, conducting feasibility study, and providing services to investors after the project begins to operate and so on.

Investment promotion does not include offering incentives to foreign investors, screening foreign investment or negotiating with foreign investors, although many organizations that are responsible for carrying out investment promotion activities also carry out these kinds of activities

15. What procedures should foreign investors follow to set up FBIE?

(1) The investors shall submit the establishment application and relevant documents to the administrative departments in charge of foreign trade and economic cooperation at the provincial level of the place where the FBIE is to be established.

(2) The administrative departments in charge of foreign trade and economic cooperation at the provincial level shall complete the original examination and report to the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (hereinafter referred to as the MOFTEC) within 15 days as of the acceptance of the above-mentioned materials.

(3) The MOFTEC shall, with the consent of the Ministry of Science & Technology, make a written decision on approval or disapproval within 45 days as of the acceptance of all the above-mentioned materials. And it shall issue a Certificate of Approval for Foreign-invested Enterprises to the approved enterprises.

(4) With the approved of establishing an FBIE, the applicant shall file an application for registration at the State Administration of Industry and Commerce or at local bureaus with its authorization by presenting the Certificate of Approval for Foreign-invested Enterprise within one month as of the acceptance of the Certificate of Approval for Foreign-invested Enterprise

16. How can I get the latest information about Chinese Government Scholarship?

Please visit our website or for up-to-date information. You can also consult the Chinese Embassy (or Consulate General) in your home countries or designated Chinese universities for related information

17. Who qualifies to work as a foreign expert in China?

The term 'foreign expert' refers to foreign professionals who work in China in a capacity that is considered important for the country's economic and social development - at the invitation of the Chinese government or an enterprise, institution, multinational or other organization.

The following foreign professionals are eligible for foreign expert status in China:

1). Technical or management personnel – based upon specific requirements concerning agreements between governments or international organizations.

2). Professionals specializing in education, scientific research, news media, publication, culture, art, health, sports and other fields.

3). Senior technical or management professionals, at the level of vice-general manager or above - or a similar level.

4). Representatives of overseas organizations or agencies, accredited by the State Bureau of Foreign Expert Affairs.

5). Professionals specializing in fields such as economics, technology, engineering, trade, finance, accounting, taxes and tourism - with special expertise that is required in China.

18. Which department is in charge of these foreigners employed in China?

According to the Regulations on the Administration of Employment of Foreigners in China, foreigners employed in China are in the charge of the of people's governments of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities and the authorized prefecture-level administrative departments of labor security.

Foreigners here refers to: people do not have Chinese nationality in accordance with the stipulations of the nationality law of the People's Republic of China; and the term "foreigners employed in China" here refers to the foreigners who are engaged in social labor and obtain the labor remuneration but have not obtained a residency in China in accordance with the law.

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