Residence permits to aid visits by family
By Jin Zhu and Zhu Zhe (China Daily)
Updated: Protected content
Multiple entries, exits set to help foreigners with close kin in China
BEIJING - Starting next month, foreigners who have close relatives in China will be able to apply for residence permits that are valid for up to two years, the Ministry of Public Security said on Thursday.
Residence permits do not have limits on the number of entries and exits, which will "greatly facilitate the travel of foreigners", a ministry official told China Daily.
Currently, foreigners who come to China to visit family members should apply for an "L visa", which is valid for up to one year. Under existing rules, the visa has limits on the frequency of entries and exits.
But with more foreigners visiting their close relatives in China, the ministry has decided to grant residence permits to them to make their travel more convenient, said an official surnamed Jia with the ministry's exit and entry administration bureau.
The new rule stipulates that if foreigners need to stay in China for more than six months, they can apply for residence permits that are valid for one or two years if they fall under the following five categories:
* Foreign spouses, parents, and children under 18 of Chinese citizens or foreigners who have permanent residence status in China.
* Foreigners older than 60, and their spouses, who do not have immediate family abroad and come to China to live with their immediate family. The immediate family members in China can be Chinese citizens or foreigners who have permanent residence status in China.
*Overseas Chinese aged above 60 who have bought houses in China, and their foreign spouses and children aged below 18.
*Overseas Chinese older than 18 who come to China to take care of their Chinese parents, who have reached 60 and do not have any children in China.
*Foreign children under 18 being taken care of in China and whose parents are overseas Chinese or Chinese citizens who hold permanent residence permits in other countries.
Under the new rule, the validity of the residence permit can also be extended when it expires.
The full text of the rule is posted on the ministry's website at Protected content .
Jia said that currently, foreigners under the five categories all need to apply for an "L visa".
Under the existing rules, residence permits are only granted to foreigners who come to study and work in China. More than 400,000 foreigners have gained residence permits in China, official figures showed.
Yuan Shuping, a Beijinger who married a German 10 years ago, said on Thursday that she has been looking forward to such measures for a long time.
"My husband's family members come to China to visit us every year and every time they need to apply for L visas that allow a single entry, which is troublesome," she said.
"I am very delighted to see that my husband's relatives will be able to apply for residence permits since he already got permanent residence in Protected content she said.
"I'm sure they will come to see us more often in future."