The new Chinese visa policy
Over the last decade, the number of foreigners entering and living in China has been growing at an increasing rate. Whether you come to China for traveling, business conducts or studying, you need to obtain a corresponding visa in order to stay in China legally.
The new Chinese visa issuing regulations effective as of July 1st, Protected content , was drafted as a part of the Exit and Entry Law by the National’s People Congress last June. It was intended to address the illegal stay and illegal employment of foreigners in China. Overall, there are heavier fines for breaking immigration laws, stricter enforcement of residence permits and most importantly, changes in visa types issued to foreigners.
Let’s take a look at the visa changes first, below is a table comparing original visa types to visa types after new policy changes.
Resident visa, issued to permanent residents
No significant changes found
Employment/work visa, issued to foreign workers and their accompanying family members
Issued to foreign workers working over 90 days
Issued to foreign workers working no longer than 90 days
Student visa, issued to students and others coming to China for training or internship for a period of six months or more
For long-term study over Protected content
For short-term study no longer than Protected content
Business visa, issued to persons invited to give lectures or for official visits; for purposes of business, scientific, technological, or cultural exchanges; or for short-term studies or internships lasting less than six months
Non-business visa, issued to individuals for purposes of non-business (scientific, educational, cultural, health, sports) exchanges and visits no longer than Protected content – non-commercial purposes
Tourist visa, issued to persons entering China for tourism, to visit relatives, or for other private purposes
Will generally remain the same, and a group L visa will be added for tourists traveling in groups. Maximum 90 days.
No significant changes found
Crew visa, issued to crew members performing duties on board an international train or aircraft, and their accompanying family members
Issued to crew members performing duties on board a foreign aircraft, train, bus, or ship, or to family members of ship crews
Journalist visa, issued to foreign journalists
Issued to resident foreign journalists over Protected content
Issued to foreign journalists for no longer than Protected content
New business visa, issued to persons coming for business and trade activities- commercial purposes
Family reunion visa over Protected content , issued to family members (children) of Chinese citizens or permanent residents, including children left in China to be taken care of by Chinese relatives
Issued to foreigners visiting Chinese citizens and permanent residents for no longer than Protected content
Issued to foreign professionals who are highly skilled or whose skill is urgently needed by China, and who will be residing in China for up to 5 years and includes a residency permit.
Issued to the R-1 types of foreign professionals staying in China for no longer than Protected content .
Issued to foreigners coming to China for private activities. including marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption, or for medical services
There will be notable changes in the enforcement of Chinese immigration laws, especially illegal employment and illegal stay.
Firstly, the penalty for both the employer and the foreign employee in the situation of illegal employment has soared. For example, if you worked illegally before policy changes, you were fined maximum 5,000RMB. Under the new policy, you can be fined up to 20,000RMB or worse, deported or refused entry for a maximum of 5 years. If you are unable to register at the police station to get the registration of temporary residence within 24 hours of your move, before you were charged a maximum of 500RMB for the penalty, but under new laws you can be charged up to Protected content for the late register.
Secondly, the Chinese immigration internal system is now integrated nationally, meaning your records are able to be documented permanently and leaving few opportunities to take advantage of system loopholes. A more rigorous background checking procedure will be implemented. More specifically, criminal records, mental conditions and educational background will be systematically verified. For example, before the new policy was implemented, you were able to gain a clean record if you renewed your passport, an option no longer available.
Thirdly, in accordance with new policies, the renewal of tourist visas will only be available for up to 90 days. In other words, if you stayed in China on a tourist visa for 60 days, you are able to renew it for another 30 days. However, if you stayed on a 90-day tourist visa, you will not be able to renew this visa.
Lastly, there will no longer be 12-months business visas issued. Furthermore, 6-months or 12-months business visas issued from Hong Kong will be suspended until further notice after the implementation of the new policy.
For an English translation of the new visa regulations you can take a look on: Protected content .
In short we can say at certain points the Exit and Entry policy of China has changed significantly. More specifically it concerns new types of visas, while other ones don’t exist anymore, a stricter and heavier enforcement system for breaking the immigration laws and the national integrated internal system, which reduces the ways to take advantage of the system. Beside these changes, at this moment it is not possible to obtain a 6-month or 12-month business visa in Hong Kong.
Keep in mind that these are general guidelines and it is important to ask proper advice for your own specific situation. Maxxelli Consulting together with its partners can investigate your case and look for an optimal solution.