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China clamps down on expats working in China – but which visa type is required?

Posted on December 30, 2011 by China Briefing

chinese-visaDec. 30 – China currently issues nine different types of visa for various purposes, however for foreign nationals working in China, only the Z visa is valid. Here we provide details on all of the different types of visas and their applications and permitted uses as follows. A summary on the Z visa situation and the required supporting documentation is provided at the end.

The nine types of Chinese visas fall into two categories, namely, ordinary and diplomatic visas. The ordinary visa consists of eight types, which are respectively marked with Chinese phonetic letters F, L, Z, X, C, J-1, J-2 and G. The diplomatic visa is marked D.

Ordinary Visa

L Visa = Tourist visa

Issued to foreigners who enter China temporarily for touring, family visiting or other personal affairs. Single-entry and double-entry tourist visas are available. The maximum stay in China per entry is 30 days. Multiple-entries are not granted for tourist visas.

No visa is required for foreigners who only travel to Hong Kong and Macau. For those who wish to travel to Tibet, an approval notice from the China Tibet Tourism Bureau is required in order to apply for a tourist visa. Telephone number of China Tibet Tourism Bureau: +86-891-6834313. Fax number: +86-891-6834632.

F Visa = Business/Visit Visa

Issued to foreigners who are invited to China for business visits, research, lectures, and scientific-technological and cultural exchanges. Single-entry, double-entry, six-month-multiple-entry, and one-year-multiple-entry business visa are all available. The maximum stay in China per entry is 30 days.

Z Visa = Work Visa

Issued to foreigners who are taking up a post or employment in China, and their accompanying family members.

X Visa = Student Visa

Issued to foreigners who come to China for studies or intern practices for a period of six months or above.

C Visa = Crewmember Visa

Issued to crewmembers on international aviation, navigation and land transportation missions and their accompanying family members.

J Visa = Journalist Visa

J-1 visas are issued to foreign journalists who are posted to China for at least one year.

J-2 visas are issued to foreign journalists who are on temporary interview missions in China.

G Visa = Transit Visa

Issued to foreigners who transit through China.

D Visa = Residence Visa

Issued to foreigners who are going to live in China permanently.

Diplomatic and Service Visa

Issued to foreign government officials and the staff of diplomatic missions and of the United Nations who travel to China for official mission or accreditation.

About Z Visa

Z visas are issued prior to entry into China upon the submission of supporting documentation by the employer and related government department. Upon arrival, the Z visa holder must then obtain work and residence permits. When applying for the work permit, the employer's business license, Organization Code Certificate, tax registration certificate and FIE approval certificate (if the employer is foreign-invested) must be provided, among other required documents.

Where a foreigner changes his/her job but continues to hold a valid work permit, he/she can undertake an "employer change" procedure with the government to renew the work permit. The actual procedure for the renewal may vary from city to city. In Shanghai, the main documentation required for such application includes:

Two copies of the foreigner employment application form

A release letter from the previous employer (if the foreigner is relocated to Shanghai from a different city, government-released proof of work permit relocation/cancellation shall be provided)

Valid business license, Organization Code Certificate, FIE approval certificate (if the employer is foreign-invested) of the new employer

A curriculum vitae in Chinese, including the highest academic degree obtained and complete work experience

Work-related qualification certificate or proof of past work experience (issued by previous employers) that is related to the new employment

Academic qualifications

Employment contract with the new employer

The current work permit

Valid passport, residence permit and employer's employment permit

Three passport photos

Other documents required by the government

We advise readers to obtain professional advice when dealing with such procedure, as requirements may change on a case-by-case basis.

If in doubt concerning the application process of visas for expatriate personnel, please contact Dezan Shira & Associates at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Expatriate workers in China without the correct paperwork are increasingly at risk to be caught in 2012 due to the increased PSB scrutiny of expatriates in China. We recommend carrying a photocopy of your relevant passport pages with you at all times, in addition to your residence permit if working in China. Expats without these documents should take the matter up with their employers, while it should be noted that both the employer and the employee can be fined, have their business licenses revoked, and face deportation if they are not in compliance.

Reprinted by permission of China Briefing

www.china-briefing.com/en/

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