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Visas for Foreigners in China

Chinese visa is a permit issued to a foreigner by the Chinese visa authorities for entry into, exit from or transit through the Chinese territory. The Chinese visa authorities may issue a diplomatic, courtesy, service or ordinary visa to a foreigner according to his identity, purpose of visit to China and passport type.

The first thing you need to organize for making your move to China is to get a visa. Unless you only need a tourist visa, you should leave plenty of time for gathering all the documents you require. Two months is a safe bet, although the process can take longer.

Typically the Chinese embassy will take a week to process your visa application providing all documents are satisfactory and there are no further questions. However be aware that Chinese visas are only valid for entry within 3 months of their issue date, therefore although it is necessary to leave sufficient time to obtain your visa it is also important not to get your visa too far in advance either.
Residence Permits in China
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:
  • Permanent residence permits (little green booklets) are issued to those holding a D visa and are renewable every 10 years.
  • Temporary residence permits are valid for 6-12 months. Generally required for visiting scholars or those entering for job training.
  • 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.
Frequently Asked Questions on Chinese Visa
Frequently Asked Questions on Chinese Visa
Frequently Asked Questions

1. Should I apply for a visa to visit the mainland China?

A: Aliens to visit China are generally required to apply for visas in advance, but the following aliens are exceptions:

1) Ordinary passport holders from Singapore, Brunei and Japan can gain access to China without applying for visas for up to 15 days for business, sightseeing, visiting relatives and friends, or transit. They can enter and exit from the ports that are open to foreigners.

The following citizens of Singapore, Brunei and Japan are also required to apply for visas before they enter into China:
1) Ordinary passport holders intending to stay in China for more than 15 days;
2) Ordinary passport holders intending to study, work, reside or gather news;
3) Diplomatic passport or Official passport holders.
Last Updated on Saturday, 27 September 2008 11:52
How can expats import their personal cars to China?
As to non-residential permanent visitors' cars for personal use, please see Measures of the Customs of the People's Republic of China for Supervising the Import and Export of Articles for Personal -residUse of Nonential Permanent Visitors (Order of the General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China (No.116)).

Pay taxes according to the rules.


a. Tariff rate: 25%; value added tax rate: 17%;
 consumption tax rate: 12% for cross-country vehicles installed with spark-ignition reciprocating or rotary
internal combustion piston engines with a displacement between 2.5 and 3.0 liters (please see also Announcement of the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (No.25 of 2006).

b. Calculating formula: amount of tax= duty-paid price*tariff rate; amount of value added
tax= (duty-paid price+ actual tariff levied+ actual consumption tax levied) * value added tax rate; amount of consumption tax= [(duty-paid price+ actual tariff levied)/ (1- consumption
tax rate)] *consumption tax rate.
Obtaining a Driver's License

altForeigners can get a driver’s license in China.

Who should apply for a driver’s license in China?
Foreigners from any other country who want to drive in China must apply for a driver’s license. International driver’s licenses are not recognized in China. Licenses are valid in the Chinese mainland only. Residents from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan also need to apply for a driver’s license to drive in the mainland of China.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 September 2009 17:38
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