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Registering a Birth
The Basics
This page is primarily intended for those couples who, having had a baby in China, now want to register the birth.

Please regard this as possibly the most important decision you will ever take for your infants life and future prospects. This page is basically about what Nationality your child will officially be, as shown by their passport -

Welcome to: A Can of worms!


1. This page will presume you are a western foreign male married to a Chinese Mainland wife. She has just given birth to your child.

If these are not your precise circumstances, then please interpolate, and regardless - seek advice from as many diverse sources as possible.

2. Nationality

a. Your child can either be Chinese or a full National of your home Country.

b. If you take your home Country citizenship for them - then they will continually be subject to the same absurd Chinese visa regulations and bi-monthly changes in policy with no advance warning + inflated charges ... that you currently endure.

c. If you decide upon Chinese citizenship - then the child will have no stupid visa problems (like you are probably subject to already?), and drop straight into the Chinese education system; but may have difficulties leaving China in the future.


1. There is no option for joint citizenship; therefore your child is either Chinese, or your Nationality. Only!

2. Being actually born in Hong Kong (Or Macao) opens many securely locked doors.

You need to answer the following questions before committing pen to paper, and deciding your child's Nationality and status:

i. In which Country will you be physically living in for the next 24 years (Arbitrary age of leaving University).

ii. In which Country will your child be mainly resident in, as an adult in future life? (This is all about parents plans for the later life of their children, and it is very important for them).

Register The Birth in China or Home Country?

A. What happens if your Chinese visa is renewed, but your child's is not?
B. What happens if your Child's visa is renewed, but yours is not?

You will not have any of these problems if you register your child as a Chinese National - giving you plan to live permanently in China.


a. The other side of this dilemma then centres upon two things:
i. Chinese Government permission for them to leave China
ii. Your home government's permission for them to visit

b. Your child's children will most likely have to be born in your home country to have automatic citizenship rights, otherwise it reverts to them being Chinese, or a matter for the country in which they were actually born in. China may not recognise these rights!

Take your time to seriously consider which option is best, as time is not your problem. China allows up to 2 years for the registration of the Birth; whilst home country is likely to be at least 6-months.

Register the Birth as Chinese

Pretty simple and straight forward. Your wife and her family will know how to do this, and basically all that is required is the child's Birth Certificate and the Family Book + appropriate Identity Documents.

Once your child's name is entered into the Family Book, the process is complete. Later they will have to apply for a Chinese Passport, etc; as required - and as in your own home country of course.

Register the Birth as British

(Or your home Country)

If you decide to take your home Nationality for the baby, then remember that you will also need to get them a passport and visa for China immediately!

1. Register the Birth with your Home Country. This is a full and separate process. This takes between 6 and 9 months to complete.

2. You will have to physically take your baby outside of China in order to get their visa to enter China. You will need a special document obtainable from the PSB (Police or Public Security Bureau). This may be very easy, or extremely difficult. It is called 'one-time Exit Visa/Permit'. If it is not easy, then allow at least 3-months for this to be granted = Officially recognising the Child is not Chinese.

3. Once outside of Chinese borders, you can then take them back to your home Country, and apply for a visa for them to go to China (Obviously you will need a passport for them before you can apply, and you cannot apply for this until they have become a citizen of your home Country of course).

There is a lot more to this of course, so please see a reply about this general subject, as supplied by the British Consulate in Guangzhou, dated 4th January 2010. The Consulate gave excellent information and support, which also included the application form and current charges:

Reply to my email
(Lightly edited for personal reasons only)

Application Form: 'Birth Certificate or First Passport for Child'

Related Pages:

- A lot to consider here for mixed-race couples!
This information is as supplied by The British Consulate General in Guangzhou + Ourselves, and ably supported by our friends and various internet portals.
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