How to apply for residence permit in China?

Posted 2014-2-3

It is not your visa but your residence permit that gives you the right to live in China. Upon arrival in China, you have 30 days to obtain your residence permit. 

Your initial visa grants you the right to enter China for a specific purpose, but expires after a few months. If you wish to stay longer in China, you will need to apply for a residence permit which works like a multiple-entry visa, allowing you to leave the country and return without an additional visa as long as the permit remains valid (even if your original visa has expired). 

Types of residence permits
There are three types of residence permits that allow you to live in China:

1. Permanent residence permits (little green booklets) are issued to those holding a D visa and are renewable every 10 years.

2. Temporary residence permits are valid for 6-12 months. Generally required for visiting scholars or those entering for job training.

3. Foreigner Residence Permits are normally valid for one year and are renewable annually. They are the standard residence permits issued to the majority of foreigners working in China.

Document needed

Applied by the applicant in person

1. Valid passport data of the applicant;

2. Two 2-inch color photos, recently taken without a hat;

3. Registration Form of Temporary Residence for Visitors;

4. Health Certificate

5. (required of an person above the age of 18 for the first application);

6. CV and education certificate of the applicant;

Time needed: around 25 working days

Applied by a family member on behalf of the applicant

1. Valid passport data of the applicant;

2. Two 2-inch color photos, recently taken without a hat;

3. Registration Form of Temporary Residence for Visitors;

4. Health Certificate (required of a person above the age of 18 for the first application);

5. Marriage Certificate if applied by the spouse, Certificate of Family Relationship if applied by a parent, and Birth Certificate if applied by a son/daughter.

Time needed: around 15 working days

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