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Chinese Residency
This is a quick guide concerning how to obtain Chinese Residency (September 2008)
These notes are current for British citizens. Most Foreigners will have to meet very similar criteria

Short Answer:
Ordinary Foreigners are unlikely to even be allowed to apply for Residency, regardless of personal circumstances. There are exceptions, so if you like a challenge, then read-on...

Chinese Residency :-

There are in fact several versions or types of Residency
. For ordinary Foreigners wishing to live permanently in China, obtaining a residency permit varies between 'Extremely Difficult' to 'Impossible'. That stated, it can be done! Below are some common forms and brief details. But first:


Residency Means Either:
1. A 'D Type' visa - often with a validity of 10-years
2. A Permanent Residence Form (Time factored) or a Temporary Residence Form. You need your current visa to register with the local Police (Public Security Bureau).
Generalised: You will get a Permanent Residence form if you have a Z visa, or a Temporary Residence Permit for holders of other visas
3. The so-called Chinese Green Card is normally a Z visa, but can occasionally be a D visa depending upon your personal circumstances

I have heard that after living in China for 5-years I can automatically get a Residency Permit.
Totally false.
1. However, and totally unofficially, it can sometimes make life a little easier when dealing with authorities
Is it true that if I marry a Chinese National I can get a Residency Permit
No - not quite...
1 . This can change your reason for being in China however, as you can now legally claim to be visiting family on your visa application
2 . Depending upon your personal circumstances, this may carry a little weight with local Government or Police (Public Security Bureau)
3. After five years of marriage and 5 years of continuous, prior residency + other criteria - you can apply for a D visa (See link below)

Obtaining general Chinese Residency status is a very long process, it takes at least one year for ordinary people, and often a lot longer. Your marital status and length of time spent living in China are largely irrelevant. 85% of applications are refused
1 . A Chinese Residency Permit is not Citizenship - do not confuse!
2 . All Residency Permits are only approved by Central Government, The Ministry of Public Security in Beijing

Get all the Facts here with one click

Various Ways Residency Permits are Issued:

Exceptional Circumstances:
Certain highly distinguished International figures may be bestowed Residency by Central Government in Beijing. This is very rare, but has happened

Occupational Qualification:
The officially registered Foreign Representative of a WOFE (or WFOE) may be nominated for Residency when the Company is formed, or as a latter replacement figure. This, and certain similar positions are normally only available to employees of very large International Companies who invest a very large amount of money in Chinese Enterprise

Rich People:
If you have Circa half a million US Dollars lying around, you will easily be able to establish an enterprise in China that will also grant you a Residency Permit of some description

Ordinary People:
For ordinary people, the process is unusually standardised throughout China; and goes like this:
1. Before you can even apply, you need to convince the Local PSB (Police or Public Security Bureau) authorised to accept applications, that you qualify to apply. They will arrange an interview where you must answer a string of questions. If you pass this, then they will issue you with an application form.
2. Once you submit your application, the local PSB will take a minimum of 6-months to process your application, and often a lot longer. They need to process your application with reference to a very large manual. They will ask many questions about you, and make numerous background checks. Ultimately, they need to ensure that your application is not later rejected by a higher authority - as this would be devastating for them personally (Loss of Face and Political suicide)
3. Once approved, your application then passes higher, through various District and Regional levels. 85% are rejected.
4. Ultimately your portfolio will arrive at The Ministry of Public Security in Beijing, who ultimately decide whether to approve or deny your application

Green Card (New Chinese Work Permit):
This is a new and evolving initiative mainly concerned with gaining a Work Permit. However, there are residency aspects sometimes associated with this. Full details here (Same link as above)
This 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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