Q&A Regarding Chinas Recent Residence Permit Entry


This article sources from the National Immigration Administration () official account's recent article:


The below common questions and answers apply to most nationalities. A few nationalities, such as South Korean, are much more flexible, and many more types of visas are being issued due to the bilateral agreement with China.

1. According to the new policy effective September 28, 2020, who can return to China?
Individuals with a currently valid residence permit for work, family reunion, or personal affairs. Note that the notice specifically refers to residence permits, not visas. Business and tourist visas are not and do not provide residence permits. This does not include student residence permits or residence permits for other reasons. The initial work visa (e.g., "z visa") is currently not issued by most consulates or embassies at the moment and does not apply under the recent policy. The only visa used for entry is the "special visa" given from submitting a PU invitation letter and other documents to the consulate or embassy.

2. Assuming my residence permit is still valid, can I automatically come back to China, or do I need to apply for an entry visa at the consulate or embassy? 
If your residence permit is still valid and is for one of the above purposes, then yes.

3. If I hold an expired work permit or residence permit, can I return to China?
Generally speaking, if the work permit or residence permit has expired, then you will need a PU invitation letter and the related "special visa." It is best to check with your consulate or embassy to confirm. This is what they mean by "relevant materials" in the official source.

4. If I hold a canceled work permit, but the residence permit has not officially been revoked, and the expiration date has not passed, is the residence permit still valid to enter? 
No, because the residence permit, while not officially canceled, is invalid after ten days from the work permit cancellation. Please see our relating article about transferring to another employer, which details this. Click here to read it.

5. What if I am changing employers? I have been officially released with the work permit cancellation receipt and release letter. 
Whether or not your new work permit has been issued does not matter because, as mentioned in the previous question, as the residence permit you hold is invalid, you would not be able to use it to enter China. Your only way to enter is via a PU invitation letter and obtaining the "special" corresponding visa.

6. What if I am a student?
International students (except for Koreans) are not included in the above announcement; therefore, they are not eligible to return at this time.

7. What if I registered and own a company in China? 
Being the legal representative or investor of a company that you established gives no specific benefits. You would fall into one of the already mentioned situations.

8. Is the COVID test and quarantine still required? 
Yes! The COVID test is required before and after arrival, and the quarantine is also still needed. These exact procedures have not changed.
Common quarantines:-14 days in the quarantine facility-14 days in the quarantine hotel-Seven days at quarantine facility or hotel + 7 days at home quarantine (Originally available in Shanghai and now also possible in Shenzhen)-Other (especially if you arrived from a different place than where you live, you might have additional quarantine)
Considerations for the type of quarantine:-Personal: age, traveling with young kids-Where are you coming from-Where you live in China (e.g., if you live in another city or province than your arrival)-If others from the flight had the virus-Other factors
It is also essential to keep in mind that flights remain expensive and limited, and in all situations, you need to pay for the quarantine accommodation.

Are you looking for more useful tips for your life in China? Get in touch with contributors for a consultation and follow us in our WeChat Group to receive the latest news. Expat Services (WeChat ID: ExS-SH) can add you into our WeChat group if you would like to ask the authors specific questions or concerns.

Julian is based in Shanghai but often travels for work and runs a company that works with individuals and organizations doing business between the US, China, and Africa. He has been based in China for a number of years.
Ikky is an R&D Manager working in Shanghai. He has been living in China for over 11 years.    
Jatin (known by the nickname "Prince Jatin") is a Multicloud DevOps Expert working in Shanghai. He has been living in China for over Nine years and owns four Indian communities WeChat groups known for "Helping Indians by Indians" with their specific inquiries regarding China affairs, he is also an active contributor to few other expat communities with expat work affairs based his knowledge and research expertise.


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