Advice for Tourists Visiting China
of Temporary Residency
|Certificate of Temporary
By law all foreigners must register with local Police
within 24 hours of entering China (72 hours in rural
locations). This is done for you automatically if you
are staying at a hotel - so you have no need to worry
about it. Hotel staff will ask to see your passport,
fill in the forms for you, and hand back your passport.
They will not keep your passport, as you are supposed
to carry this with you at all times
If you are not staying in a hotel, you will need to
register with the local Police - it is a simple formality.
Each small city district will have many Police Offices,
but only one will process and issue Temporary Residency
Certificates. This may be miles away from where you
are living, and you will probably need help finding
Despite what regulations dictate, the one local Police
Office dealing will normally only have a few specific
staff to process you, and they will invariably only
work 'Bank Hours' ie: 9 to 5 Monday to Friday, with
2-hour break for lunch. If this is your first visit
to China, or you are an independent traveller, then
we strongly urge you to go to the relevant Police Station
within the 24 hour period - at least you have tried
to register. Old hands will know the local system well,
and be well known by the local Police also = no problem
The first time you register can be quite a lengthy process
- and this applies every time you change to a new location!
However, it becomes a quick formality for all subsequent
visits once you are logged in the local system.
Generally you will need the following:
* Passport with current visa.
* One passport type photo.
* Photocopies of your personal passport page, and current
visa showing entry stamp - which you should provide.
* You may also be required to fill in a form or book
entry, briefly stating your address and other details
in Chinese characters - you may need a friend to help
you with this, as officially Police cannot do this for
* Once issued, this form also requires a round, red,
official stamp or seal, which is normally done as part
of a seamless process.
* The Certificate when issued is a page in convenient
A4 size, which can easily be folded to fit your wallet
All Chinese must carry their Identity Card with them
at all times. This in turn means Foreigners must carry
their passport. However, those in possession of a Certificate
of Temporary Residency may carry this instead, and it
is valid for all purposes within China, except things
such as buying a car or placing orders with China Telecom.
The above is the standard form for issue of this certificate,
but the national policy is interpreted in differing
ways by regional city governments. By this I mean large
state governments below Province level, and above City
level. Guangdong Province has approximately 18 of these,
each comprising of 5 or 6 counties.
Each of these City Districts has its own version of
issue criteria for the Certificate of Temporary Residence.
I lived in Foshan for 6 years, and the basics were as
given above. I have since moved to neighbouring Tai
Shan City proper, which is also capital of Tai Shan
City District. However, this in turn forms part of Jiang
Men City District Upper Level, and they have a different
set of rules.
In essence we are moving away from an area where it
is common for foreigners to live, to an adjacent area
where it is more unusual. In Jiang Men City they implement
an additional policy of only allowing processing of
CTR supported by invitation. This should pose no problems
to those who have a business visa, as this already includes
a company invitation to come and stay in China.
I personally have an extended L or Tourist visa (Cheapest
option until June 2010), and therefore need to supply
additional information to above as listed below:
* Family book of my spouse's family.
* My spouse in person.
* My spouse's Chinese Identity Card.
* My house rental contract.
Having attended at the first opportunity, we were then
allowed 2-months 'Grace' before needing to complete
the registration process. This was probably due to the
fact my current visa is: single entry, 90 day stay (No
exit every 30-days). Your situation may be different.
It is common for the family head to keep the Family
Book, and in our case this was my Father-in-Laws Brother.
We returned with all credentials required within a week
to complete formalities. However, this was only for
the initial registration, as all future ones will be
completed quite simply by myself only.
Note: the 2-months 'Grace' period means exactly that,
and we were warned that we would be fined and annotated
to official records if we strayed into month 3!
China Expats believe other areas may operate slightly
differing policies, and we look forward to hearing from
you if you have had other experiences?
information is as supplied by the Chinese Embassy in
UK, as dated 20th June 2008, and/or other reliable sources.
Please check this information yourself as it may alter
without notice, and whilst we try our best to ensure
it is correct, please do not hold us responsible for
any errors - this is intended as a simple guide only
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