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Policy for Foreigners with Immediate Family Living in China

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)

Important Notice

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.

- Last modified on Sep. 07, 2020 -
Questions & Answers on Policy for Foreigners with Immediate Family Living in China
Asked by JOHN from UNITED STATES | Sep. 09, 2020 10:12Reply
my wife is an American citizen with elderly parents in China
My wife is a Chinese born, however she became an American citizen 2 years ago. She has elderly parents that live in China needing her help. Both parents are 90 years old each. We have been trying for over a month to contact the Chinese consulate first in Houston that closed and the Chinese embassy in D.C. Have sent many emails to the consulate asking for help but no one answered back. Does anyone know what I can do ?
Answers (1)
Answered by Ella | Sep. 13, 2020 23:49

John, what help do you expect? Attending her parents? Or getting a visa to go back to China?
Asked by Petra from SLOVAKIA | Sep. 07, 2020 08:21Reply
family visa question
Having a 5 year family residence permit in China, I could not work with that visa, right? Can I study and do part-time work with that visa? Or what about manager's visa - does something like that exist or self-employment?
Answers (3)
Answered by Alice | Sep. 13, 2020 19:48

Yes, you cannot work with the family visa. And it's not allowed to study and do part-time work with this visa either. The Manager's visa does not exist. If you want to work in China, you should apply for a work visa.
Answered by Petra | Sep. 14, 2020 09:13

What about self-employment or freelancing? Is that possible to carry out?
Answered by Alice | Sep. 17, 2020 01:47

Freelancing is ok I think.
Asked by Ben | Aug. 28, 2020 21:59Reply
I am foreigner living in China with my Chinese wife now and for some reasons my visa expired for 3 years, but now i have stay permit (humanitarian visa) which is renew every month what do i do to get family resident permit while im in China ?
Answers (1)
Answered by Wendy | Sep. 03, 2020 00:15

Ben, you can apply for a Q1 visa at the local exit and entry administration and then get a temporary residence permit with it.
Asked by Chris G from CHINA | Jul. 20, 2020 00:00Reply
In the event of my spouses death
I have been mrried for 8 years to a Chinese national and have a Family Visit /Residence visa. She is sick and may die, what happens to my visa and me?
Answers (1)
Answered by Nancy from USA | Jul. 26, 2020 23:23

You can try to apply for a permanent residence permit before she dies.
Asked by Anonymous from UNITED KINGDOM | Jul. 14, 2020 13:59Reply
If I apply for a residence permit for family visit, do I need to do a medical check?
I would like to apply for a 1 year residence permit for a family visit to China, my mother is Chinese and I want to visit my grandma/learn more about her hometown. I want to stay longer than 6 months but do not want to take the medical check (China being very behind on some medical advances!). What is the best thing for me to do?
Answers (1)
Answered by Fiona from UNITED KINGDOM | Jul. 16, 2020 00:55

You have to go through a medical test in order to get this residence permit.
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