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Visas & Work Permits in China

How to Get Citizenship in China

Simply put, there is no easy way of becoming a Chinese citizen. While the process might seem simple and standard enough, the Chinese government is very selective about the individuals that are allowed to be naturalized here. In this article, we discuss what you need to expect from the process of getting Chinese citizenship.

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You are eligible for Chinese citizenship if you are:

  • an immediate relative of a Chinese citizen;
  • have settled in China; or
  • have other legitimate reasons (not specified).

However, even if you meet one of these main Chinese citizenship requirements, becoming a Chinese citizen can still be a challenge.

According to people who have attempted obtaining citizenship, the government itself puts obstacles in front of foreigners who wish to take on this quest. They complicate the application process and do not provide the necessary information easily. The proof of that is the latest population census that counted only less than a thousand naturalized Chinese citizens in the whole country (that excludes the 56 indigenous ethnic groups of the country among which are Koreans and Russians). The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) notes that acquiring citizenship in China is “theoretically possible” but in practical terms “extremely difficult”.

If this sounds like an unnecessary hassle you do not wish to go through –– you are not alone. Many expats live in China for years without actually obtaining their citizenship. One of the main reasons for that is that international travel becomes significantly more complicated if you are a Chinese national.

However, if you are planning to settle in China for good and further travel is not in your plans, naturalization might be perfect for you. Equip yourself with patience and persistence and file your Chinese citizenship application format your local embassy. In order to do so, you will need to present the following documents:

  • birth certificate
  • proof of the qualifying clause (e.g.: relationship with the near relative)
  • passport or other travel documents
  • additional documents (letters of employment, schools attended, tax returns, or other proofs of residence)

China’s citizenship fees add up to 250 CNY, with 50 CNY for the application and 200 CNY for the certificate itself.

Note that once you have decided to apply for Chinese citizenship, you will have to give up your citizen’s rights in other countries as China does not recognize multiple citizenships.

Updated on: May 17, 2019

All about China

From the requirements for moving to China and applying for the right visa to avoiding cultural misunderstandings, our practical guide walks you through all the steps to move to China and make it home.

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