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Obtaining a Residence Permit in China

Obtaining a Residence Permit in China

Foreign individuals who want to live in China need to obtain a permanent residence permit in China. The application is submitted together with several documents. Those who come to the country to work must first obtain a work permit and then apply for residency in China.

 Quick Facts  
Temporary residence permit types

– Work Visa,

– Student Visa,

– Long Stay Journalist visas (Z, X, J-1)

Time needed to obtain temporary residence permit (approx.)

6 weeks

Temporary residence permit validity

1 year

Documents for obtaining temporary residence

– passport with valid entry visa,

– completed visa application form with official stamp,

–  original registration form of temporary residence,

 – family member’s passport with a valid residence permit,

– two passport photos with white or light blue background

Mandatory registrations with state authorities (i.e. with the population/ municipality register)

Documents submitted to the Immigration Service Center of Exit-Entry Administration Bureau of Shanghai Public Security Bureau

Dependents can join the temporary permit holder (Yes/No)


Our lawyers can offer details about how to immigrate to China.

Types of investment available for residency purposes

–   an individual can invest a capital of at least RMB 10 million in China;

–  make investments in regions prescribed by the government;

– establish a high tech or innovative enterprise

Temporary or permanent residency for investment purposes


Minimum investment amount

CNY 600,000

Minimum temporary residence before applying for permanent residence

Four years

Our team can offer details about how to immigrate to China.

Residency for individuals married to a citizen of the country Permanent residence
Documents for obtaining permanent residence

– complete application form for permanent residence in China,

– valid passport and valid visa;

– passport photos;

– a health certificate;

– non-criminal record abroad;

– complete resume of the applicant

Our lawyers can offer details about how to immigrate to China.

Naturalization requirements

– immediate family with Chinese nationality,

– possess permanent residency in mainland China or a special administrative region,

– have other “legitimate reasons”.

Citizenship after permanent residence


Dual citizenship permitted (Yes/No) No

Our immigration lawyers in China can help you deal with the requirements for obtaining a Chinese permanent residence permit in the country in 2024, especially if you find it difficult to relate to the Chinese authorities because of the language barrier. Foreigners visiting close relatives in China in recent years can only apply for an L visa (single-entry, double-entry, multiple-entry) outside the mainland. This visa is only valid for 30 days and can only be extended twice. In addition to this, the services of our lawyers are also at your disposal if you are interested in trademark registration in China. It is a critical aspect of doing business in China because it protects your brand and intellectual property. To effectively register a trademark in this country, a thorough understanding of the country’s trademark laws and regulations is required.

Below is an infographic with information on this topic:

Requirements for obtaining a residence permit in China

Individuals who want to apply for a China residence permit needs to respect a few important requirements that can be entirely explained by our Chinese lawyers. Here are the general rules and conditions:

  1. The applicant must have a valid passport and a health certificate issued by an approved hospital;
  2. The individual should also obtain a document from the Chinese embassy or consulate in his/her country of residence which proves that the individual has no criminal record;
  3. Two passport photos are also needed;
  4. Application fee;
  5. Foreigners who work in permanent representative offices in China must also provide the Employer’s Card and the Employment Certificate.

The application must be submitted as soon as possible after the foreigner has arrived in China, but no later than 30 days afterward. The usual validity period of the resident permit cannot exceed the validity of the passport. Those who want to live in China for less than one year can apply for a temporary residence permit.

The required documents can vary according to the Chinese city in which the applicant wishes to live. Our law firm in China can give you specific details about the formalities for a China permanent residence permit in 2024. You might also want to watch the following video presentation on this subject:

Applications for residence permits in China in 2024

Resident permits in China in 2024 can be extended, depending on the purpose of the visit: study, work, private affairs, or family reunion. The validity of the renewed permit cannot exceed that of the first resident permit. The applications should be submitted within three months or at least seven working days before the expiration date of the current permit.

Note that foreigners over the age of 60 can be granted a two-year residence permit. When this permit expires, it can be renewed. To learn more about such advantages, the services of our lawyers are at your disposal. All the documents submitted in an application for a residence permit in China must be true. Our Chinese attorneys can also help you arrange the purchase of a property in China.

The timeframe for obtaining a residence permit in China is 6 weeks, while in other countries such as Korea, it may take only 20 days to obtain temporary residency.

Types of residence permits in China

According to the legislation in force in China, the following types of residence permits are required for foreigners who want to settle in this country:

  1. Temporary residence permits are required for those who want to stay for more than 6 months in China, but not more than a year. Various visits are allowed with this type of residence permit.
  2. Permanent residence permits are renewed once every 10 years and are connected to the D visas. China permanent residence permits are also called “Green Cards”.
  3. Foreigner residence permits can be renewed every year and are required for most categories of foreign workers in China, except investors, company directors, etc.

Every residence permit in China requires special attention in terms of application conditions. All legal aspects related to immigration to China can be detailed by our Chinese lawyers who can help you with the preparation of the necessary documents for the application.

How to apply for family residence permit within mainland China?

Most of the applicants for family residence permit are qualified to apply for this new option for residency in China. People who apply for a family residence permit can be granted single entry, double entry, or multiple ones. Chinese tourist visas are available for less than six months through the local Public Security Bureau also known as Hu Kou, where Chinese citizens register their households.

Foreigners who live in China and enjoy the status of permanent residents are also registered with the local Public Security Bureau. If any person is eligible for a family residence permit in China and he/she desires to live for more than six months in this country, he/she can apply for a permit valid for one year, which is extendible with relevant documents when required. Children less than 18 years of age or foreigners above 60 years are granted a family residence permit which is valid for two years and this permit is also extendible when it expires. It is important to note that overseas Chinese who come to China to take care of their parents aged above 60 can only apply for a one-year residence permit. Holders of residence permits can enter or exit mainland China many times till the validity of the permit ends.

The family residence permits can be extended when they expire. The holders of family residence visas are not allowed to work in China. Besides this information, if you are interested in information about divorce in China, our lawyers can assist you. You and your family are likely to experience a lot of stress while you navigate the divorce process. To prevent emotional breakdowns, you are advised to hire expert divorce lawyers. If you are facing divorce proceedings in China, it is preferable to employ a divorce lawyer to handle the legal parts of your case. With his legal help, you can avoid multiple legal problems. 

The application procedure for the family residence permit in China

A person can go to the main city Public Security Bureau (PSB) for his/her greater area or local PSB where the issuance of a certificate of temporary residence permit takes place. The required documents for a family residence permit include a photocopy of each original document. The presence of a sponsor like a wife of the applicant needs to be present in person with the applicant. The whole application process will take almost three weeks to process. 

Our immigration lawyers in China can assist you in the application process, and they can guide you with the necessary documentation to avoid any waste of time. 

Who can apply for a family residence permit in China?

We present you the categories of people who are eligible to apply for a family residence permit in the People’s Republic of China:

  • Overseas Chinese, who have purchased a land property in China and are aged above 60 years, can apply for a family residence permit in China along with their non-Chinese spouses and children aged below 18; 
  • Foreign children can apply for family residence permitif they are under 18 years of age and are being taken care of in China, but must have overseas Chinese parents or their parents must be Chinese citizens who hold permanent residence permits in foreign countries;
  • Foreigners who are above 60 years of age along with their spouses, who are interested in immigration to China with their immediate relatives, because they do not have immediate families abroad, are eligible for a family residence permit in China. Their immediate family members or immediate relatives can be foreigners who have permanent residence status in China or they can be Chinese citizens;
  • Non-Chinese children less than 18 years of age, parents, or spouses of Chinese citizens or foreigners who have permanent residence status in the People’s Republic of China can apply for a family residence permit;
  • Overseas Chinese who are above 18 years of age and they come to China to take care of their parents above 60 years of age can apply for a family residence permit in China. 

Residence Permits in China as per 2015 policies

Some residence permits were introduced in the 2015 policies related to this type of permit. The new policy consists of five modifications, which include:

  • long-term 5 year residence in China;
  • personal employment permit;
  • residence permit for foreign China university graduates;
  • expert residence permit in China;
  • permanent residence permit for top-entrepreneurs etc.

You can get legal assistance from our attorneys regarding different kinds of options for residency in China.

Expert Residence permit in China

The Shanghai Science and Technology Commission has created a list of 3500 innovative firms. The foreign employees of such firms are named experts. They can apply for a five-year work permit. Once, these experts have worked for more than three years, they can directly apply for a Chinese permanent residence permit.

Foreign citizens accepting a job in Beijing should consider the requirements for obtaining a residence permit here. The validity of a residence permit in China might vary but cannot be less than 90 days and not exceeding 5 years.

Foreign students and the benefits of a residence permit in China

Another amendment to the legislation on immigration and resettlement of foreigners in China involves foreign students, especially those who complete their studies at prestigious universities in Shanghai. They can apply for a residence permit valid for two years. This program dedicated to this category of students will simplify their path to entrepreneurship in China.  You can also benefit from the legal services offered by our specialists in immigration in China.

Applicants for residence permits in China will be scheduled for a face-to-face interview with the immigration authorities. Yet, applicants above 60 years of age who cannot travel due to health problems or those considered exceptional ability talents for China can be assisted in applying. Our Chinese lawyers are at your service in such cases.

Permanent residence permits for top entrepreneurs in China

China permanent residence permits can be obtained by overseas entrepreneurs or foreigners who want to invest in this country. Thus, those who invest at least CNY 600,000 each year and are up to date with their taxes can get this type of China permanent residence permit. Even those who have worked in Shanghai for at least 4 years, without interruption and without having problems with the law can apply for this type of Chinese residence permit.

Foreigners having a residence permit issued in China must inform the local authorities of any kind of modifications within 10 days. These changes might include the name, sex, passport number, and purposes of the residence permit if that is the case.

You can discuss all legal issues regarding China permanent residence permits with our experienced immigration specialists. And those who want to relocate their companies to China can turn their attention to our legal services.

Long-term 5-year residence in China

Foreigners who have worked uninterruptedly for at least two years in Shanghai, China, without violating the immigration laws are optimal candidates for long-term 5-year residence permits. The Chinese authorities are entitled to carry out the necessary checks to ensure that the applicants did not have any problems with the law while working in China.

This new program for residency in China simplifies the process of annually renewing the residence permit of foreign nationals. Find out from our team of lawyers in China what are the necessary steps to obtain a residence permit valid for 5 years.

Why invest in China

China is one of the most important business destinations in the world and the most open market to foreign investors. Generous industries already host hundreds and perhaps thousands of companies established with local and foreign capital. Affordable labor costs and much simplified company registration procedures are among the most important benefits for foreigners who want to grow their business in this part of China.

Infrastructure and logistics, plus the advantageous tax system for foreigners who establish their operations, especially economic zones in China, are other important advantages, considered by those who want to make investments in this country. Here are some statistics that largely underline China’s economic direction:

  1. More than USD 1,769 billion represented the total FDI stock of China in 2019.
  2. The total value of the greenfield investments in China registered nearly USD 62 billion.
  3. The 2020 Doing Business report issued by the World Bank ranked China 31st out of 190 countries, in terms of simplified business.

If you need more information regarding why you should invest in China in 2024, get information from our lawyers. Besides this, our Chinese lawyers can offer you comprehensive information along with practical assistance if you want to apply for residency in this country.

Working with our Chinese lawyers

The professionalism, the attention to detail, and the transparency with which we treat each case are seen in the final results that our clients benefit from. Everything related to the immigration process, from a legal point of view, comes to the attention of our specialists with experience in this field, so do not hesitate to talk to us.

Feel free to contact our law firm in China to find out more about the requirements for foreigners who wish to live in the country or open a business in 2024.