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Passport, Visa & Permits


This section is intended for reference only. We strongly recommend that you contact the embassy directly for the most up-to-date information that pertains to your specific situation.

Passport

You must have a valid passport to travel abroad. A passport is an official government document that certifies one's identity and citizenship. The process and cost associated with getting a passport can be high, so start the process at least six months before you plan to leave. Your passport must be valid 6 months beyond your intended stay. Minors are allowed to travel on their parents' passports up until aged 15 years.

Visa

A visa is a stamp or endorsement placed by officials on a passport that allows the bearer to enter the country. Visas are obtained from the Embassy or consulates.

Who Needs a Visa?

Most travelers will need a visa (qianzheng) to visit mainland China. These should be obtained from a Chinese embassy or consulate before departure or you will have to have to leave the country and apply. Visas for Hong Kong and Macau can be obtained through a Chinese embassy or consulate, but must be applied for separately from the mainland Chinese visa. However, citizens from most Western countries do not need visas to visit Hong Kong and Macau.

However, certain airports allow a 12-hour stay without a visa so long as you do not leave the airport. Nationals of Singapore, Brunei and Japan do not need a visa to visit China for a stay of up to 15 days. Hong Kong and Macau residents of Chinese nationality need to apply at the China Travel Service (the sole authorized issuing agent) to obtain a Home Return Permit. This is a credit card sized ID allowing multiple entries and unlimited stay for 10 years with no restrictions including on employment. Citizens of the Republic of China (Taiwan) may obtain an entry permit (valid for 3 months) at airports in Dalian, Fuhzou, Haikou, Qingdao, Sanya, Shanghai, Wuhan, Xiamen and China Travel Services in Hong Kong and Macau. Visitors must hold a Republic of China passport, Taiwanese Identity Card and Taiwan Compatriot Pass (taiba-ozheng). The Compatriot Pass may be obtained for single use at airports in Fuzhou, Haikou, Qingdao, Sanya, Wuhan and Xiamen. The entry permit fee is RMB 100 plus an additional 50 for issuing a single use Taiwan Compatriot Pass.

L Visa - Tourism

Getting a tourist visa is fairly simple. A single-entry tourist visa is valid for a visit of 30 days and must be used within three months of the date of issue. A double-entry tourist visa must be used within six months of the date of issue. It is possible to secure a tourist visa for up to 90 days for citizens of some countries.

There may be restrictions on visas for political reasons.

A Visiting Relatives Visa is a classification of tourist (L) visa, this allows visitors to obtain a 6 to 12 month visit. Individuals seeking to apply for a visiting relatives visa should first enter the country on a different visa and then apply for a visiting relatives visa at the local Public Security bureau.

More information can be found at the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau.

Z Visa - Working

The Z visa is valid for 30 days and once you arrive the employer gets you a residence permit. A multiple-entry visa, it is hard to convert from a tourist (L) visa. If you enter as a tourist and later want to get a Z visa, you will need to leave the country and apply from outside. An invitation letter from the employer is also required.

Apply by submitting the application to the Visa Office of the closest Chinese Embassy or Consulate before entering China. No appointment is required, but you (or an agent of yours) must present the documents. Mailed applications are not acceptable and will be refused. The regular processing time is 4 working days. Express service is offered at 2-3 working days processing with an additional $20 charge. There is also same day rush service which costs an additional fee of $30.

X Visa - Student

Student Visa is issued to an alien who comes to China for study of more than six months.

Apply by submitting the application to the Visa Office of the closest Chinese Embassy or Consulate before entering China. No appointment is required, but you (or an agent of yours) must present the documents. Mailed applications are not acceptable and will be refused. The regular processing time is 4 working days. Express service is offered at 2-3 working days processing with an additional $20 charge. There is also same day rush service which costs an additional fee of $30.

An alien who comes to China to study, short-term advanced studies or intern practice for a period of no more than six months shall apply for a (F) Visa.

Registering

When visiting, you must register where you are. If staying in a hotel, guest house or hostel, the staff will do this by scanning your passport, visa, and entry stamps at check-in. If you are staying in a private residence you should register with the local police within 24 hours in the city and 72 hours in the countryside. However, this is rarely enforced.

Permanent Residence

A permanent residence card allows for stays of 5 or 10 years and freedom to move within, as well as in-and-out of China.

The Required documents need to be submitted to a Entry-Exit Administration of the Ministry of Public Security and communication will be in Mandarin. If you are not completely fluent, you should take a friend or advisor. The office will investigate and verify the conditions of the applicant according to the specified pre-requisites. The application is made and they approve or reject within 6 months of receiving the application. If you receive the permanent residence card should not stay in China less than three months in a year or less than a year in five years. The fee is 1500 RMB.

More information can be found at the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau.

Citizenship

Chinese citizenship is available for qualified foreign nationals.

China does not allow dual citizenship. The Public Security Bureau will accept applications for citizenship. If applicants are abroad, citizenship applications are handled at Chinese embassies and consular offices. After they are submitted, the Ministry of Public Security will examine and approve or dismiss applications. If approved, it will issue a certificate of citizenship.


12/05/2011

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