Visa & Residence for Foreigner in China

Foreigners - Visa and Residence

For those foreigners who work in the Mainland China are required to apply for immigration visas in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations in Mainland China.  Meanwhile, the way and the place they live are constrained by the rules and regulations as well.  In brief, they are as follows:-

A) Immigration and Emigration Resident

i)  Foreigner Immigration

Expatriates who enter into Mainland China must have a valid entry visa. It can be applied through China’s diplomatic representative agencies in foreign countries, consular offices or outside organization. (Note: Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan compatriots immigrants are subject to applicable state regulations, with an entry and exit permits issued by the authorities, HVP, etc. from China ports whcih opened to foreign traffic )

The types of visas issued by China include diplomatic, courtesy sign, official visas and ordinary visa etc. It depends on the identity of the expatriates in China and his purpose for coming China. For merchants, the most common use is ordinary visa. The issuing department issues the visas according to his/her reason for coming China, namely, character “D” visa, character “Z” visa, character “X” visa, character “F” visa and character “L” visa etc.

 character “D” visa: issued to those who come to China for immigration;
 character “Z” visa: issued to those who come to China for office or employment and their accompanying family members ;
 character “X” visa: issued to those for studying, further studying, internships for six months or more ;
 character “F” visa: Issued those who come for being invited to visit China for studying, lecture, business, scientific and technical and cultural exchanges and short-term training, internships and other activities not exceeding six months;
 character “L” visa: issued to those who come to China for tourism, visiting relatives or other private purposes persons.
 character “G” visa: Issued to persons who transit through China
 character “C” visa: Issued to crew, aviation, shipping tasks international train crew, international and domestic aircraft crew, international sailing ship seafarers and their accompanying family members;
 character “J - 1” visa: issued to those reporters who resident in China for long time
 character “J - 2” visa: issued to those reporters who resident in China for short time

Due to an emergency and it has not enough time to apply for a visa at the Chinese agencies abroad, as long as they hold an invitation letter issued by China national authorized organization and holder of these letters who has diplomatic relations with China or the country's official with ordinary passports, they can apply for visa through Ministry of Public Security Port visa authorized agencies. Ports are set at: Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Dalian, Fuzhou, Xiamen, Xi'an, Guilin, Hangzhou, Kunming, Guangzhou ( Baiyun Airport ) , Shenzhen (Luohu , Huanggang, Shekou), Zhuhai (Gongbei) and other places.

ii) Immigration

Foreigners who arrive at the port should first check-in and submit the passport, visa and relevant documents, fill-in the immigration card, obtain the inspection approval before entry. It is required to make customs declaration for those arrivals with baggage items and follow those relevant procedures and customs reporting matters. Note the posting notices by the Immigration Department. In addition to those prohibiting goods, the customs territory usually permits them to enter with a range of luggage item for duty free provided that they have reasons.

iii) Residence Permit

Holders of visas D, Z, X, J-1, as well as those, according to the Chinese government signed agreements with foreign governments which enable them to stay in China for more than 30 days, must since the date of entry, within 30 days living in the cities, counties, apply for residence permit or temporary resident permit from the Public Security Bureau. Holders of visas F, L, G, C , or J-2 visas, can stay in China during the specifies duration set out in the visa without obtaining residence documents.

The holder’s term in China is valid during the period set out in residence permit.  Stay in China for a year or more should apply for foreigners residence permit.  Usually, residence card will be valid for one year to five years.  For those invest in China or economic, technological, cultural etc, with remarkable achievement, they can apply for permanent residence permit. Residence in China for less than one year, the foreigners should apply for a temporary residence permit .

iv)  Emigration

Expatriates who within the permitted period as granted in residence visa or residence permit, have to leave and return back, should before leaving, apply to the local public security organs for permit to return to China; if the case is that it will not return after leaving, he shall hand-in Chinese border check or residence permits when leaving.

B) Housing

Rental: According to relevant rules and regulations in China, for the sake of maintenance of national security, public order or other public interests, city and county public security bureau can limit foreigners or foreign institutions in some areas for residences or offices. Upon the approval of those local public security organs obtained can the foreign real estate be rented to foreigners, or such as the export of commercial housing and so on. Generally, foreign lessee is not allowed to rent living quarters or domestic ordinary commercial housing, but in some cities, such restrictions are gradually relaxed.

Purchase: Expatriates can, within the relevant laws and regulations permits, buy real estate in China.  Foreigners buy real estate in Mainland China belong to private property, and must be within the prescribed period, go to the location of the real estate property management department for applying housing ownership registration and obtaining building ownership certificates.

Sale: Expatriates can sell private houses.  After the sale of real estate, the seller and the buyer shall transfer of housing ownership, registration changes through real estate management authority.

Property Inheritance:  For expatriates, who propose to inherent those China real estate, shall apply to the relevant authority by providing a certificate notary by public notary to prove their occupation, address, and that their relationship. Foreigners who inherit real estate in China is governed by Chinese law.