There are growing numbers of foreigners who come to China to visit close relatives in recent years. Under existing rules, they can only apply for an "L visa" (single-entry, double-entry, multiple-entry) outside mainland, which is only valid for a short term and can be extended twice (each for 30 days in general). But now the Chinese Ministry of Public Security has made changes to its policy concerning foreigners with immediate family living in PRC. Depending on how long they will stay in PRC, the applicants can be granted by local Entry & Exit Department either a family visit visa that is valid for one year at most; or a residence permit that is valid for a minimum of 180 days and a maximum of 5 years. The residence permit does not have limits on the number of entry and exit as long as the permit is valid, which will greatly facilitate the travel of foreigners.
Yang Mei, a Cantonese who married to a Filipino 3 years ago, wrote in her blog that she has been looking forward to such measures for a long time.
"My Philippine husband comes to PRC every year to visit my family, but most of time he can only be granted a single entry visa, it is really troublesome. But now I am delighted that he is able to apply for this residence permit."
Who are eligible to apply for this Family Visit Visa/Residence Permit?
(1). Foreign spouses, parents, and children under 18 of Chinese citizens or foreigners who have permanent residence status in PRC.
(2). Foreigners over 60, and their spouses, who do not have immediate family abroad and come to live with their immediate relatives, and their immediate family members in China can be Chinese citizens or foreigners who have permanent residence status in PRC.
(3). Overseas Chinese aged above 60 who have purchased real estate in PRC, and their foreign spouses and children aged below 18.
(4). Overseas Chinese older than 18 who come to PRC to take care of their Chinese parents, who have reached 60 and do not have any children in PRC.
(5). Foreign children under 18 being taken care of in PRC and whose parents are overseas Chinese or Chinese citizens who hold permanent residence permits in other countries.
How to apply for this Family Visit Visa/Residence Permit within mainland PRC?
Applicants of this category cover most of ones who are qualified to apply for this new family visit visa/residence permit. For specific requirements, please read on following paragraphs:
a. For applicants of this category, they can be granted single entry/double-entry/multi-entry L visas valid for less than 6 months through local Public Security Bureau, where the Chinese citizens register their household (also known as Hu Kou) or main living area in recent years and where foreigners who have permanent residence status live.
b. If they need to live for more than 6 months, they can apply for the residence permit valid for one year and it can be extended with relevant documents when it expires.
c. For foreigners over 60 and children under 18, they can be granted a residence permit valid for two years and it also can be extended when it expires.
What documents should be submitted when applying for this Family Visit Visa/ Residence Permit?
The above applicants are required to provide certified Marriage Certificate or Birth Certificate or Certificate of Kinship when they apply for Chinese L visa or residence permit. (The certificate should be translated into Chinese)
1. If one wants to visit a Chinese citizen who lives in Mainland PRC, the Chinese citizen also need to provide Chinese ID card and Residence Certificate (Household registration or proof of temporary residency where he/she lives for over 6 months).
2. If one wants to visit an overseas Chinese living in Mainland PRC, the overseas Chinese is required to provide his/her Chinese passport, Permanent Residence in foreign countries and Proof of Residence in Mainland valid for at least 6 months.
3. For those who visit Hong Kong and Macao residents living in Mainland PRC, applicants need to provide their sponsor's Mainland Travel Permit for Hong Kong and Macau Residents and proof that they have live in Mainland for more than 6 months.
4. For those who visit Taiwan residents living in Mainland PRC, the applicants are required to provide the Entry Permit of Taiwan Residents to the Mainland or Travel Documents of PRC and proof that they live in mainland for more than 6 months.
5. Applicants visit foreigners who have permanent residence status in China, the Permanent Residence Permit and the proof of living in China for more than 6 months are required.
Where to submit the application
1. You can go to the main city Public Security Bureau for your greater area or your local PSB where your certificate of Temporary Residency was issued.
2. Generally, the application will take 3-week to process. With all required documents (everything requires photocopy), your sponsor (your wife, child, etc) needs to be present in person with you.
Basic Requirements for Application
1. Your passport (with current visa and certificate of Temporary Residency);
2. Temporary Registration Form issued from the local Public Security Bureau.
3. Very recent photographs with receipt, they must be specified standard and less than 1-month old;
4. Application fee. (Expect change from 1, 000 RMB)
1. Residence permits do not have limits on the number of entries and exits, holders can exit and enter Mainland PRC for many times during its validity, it saves time and money.
2. The Family Visit Visa/Residence Permit can be extended when it expires.
3. Holders of this Family Visit Visa/Residence Permit are not allowed to work in China.
4. When your application is processed, your current visa or Certificate of Temporary Residence (CTR) is automatically cancelled as of that moment.
5. Overseas Chinese coming to take care of parents aged over 60 - they can only apply for a one-year residence permit.