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Residence permit for foreigner in China

All foreigners in China need a visa. In 2008 China has created stricter rules and started to enforce existing rules more strictly. For example it is quite difficult/impossible to get an F-visa or L-visa for over 30 days at the moment. Possibly this will be relaxed after the Olympic Games, but there is no way to tell at the moment. On this page I give practical information about a Z-visa / Residence permit for foreigner in China. According to the guy at work who helps me, a Z-visa == residence permit.  Read more to see a copy of my visa.

If you already have a Z-visa, you probably also have a Foreign Expert Certificate. Before I started to work, my employer helped me to obtain this certificate, which takes the form of a small book, very similar in shape and colors to a passport:


Foreign Expert's Certificate China 2006/2007



 Foreign Expert's Certificate China 2008/2009. The inside is also different from before.


Documents Required for extending work Visa:

Foreign Experts Certificate
1.         employment contract (original and photocopy)
2.         passport (original and photocopy)
3.         Foreign Experts Certificate (original and photocopy)
4.         application form (see attachment)
5.         two photos (blue background, 2 inch, with barcode form)

1.         application form (see attachment)
2.         passport (original and photocopy)
3.         Foreign Experts Certificate (original and photocopy)
4.         two photos (blue background, 2 inch, with barcode form)


Important: The photo's need to be 2" with blue background and you need to ask for a special form from the photoshop. This form states that the photo's are yours and includes a barcode. Our photoshop immediately asked me if I wanted that kind of photo, so I guess most shops know about the requirements. Regular photos without this extra form will not be accepted!

Attachement: Visa Application Form.doc  


My curent visa page


When you  are applying for the first time, the flow is this:

  1. Sign a (temporary) contract with your new Employer.
  2. Get a health check in a government approved hospital (in Shenzhen, it's the hospital near HuangGang custom I believe
  3. With the results of the health check, go to your employer and apply for a Foreign Experts Certificate
  4. With the certificate, you can apply for the visa, which is valid for 1 year and is multiple entry.

Some tips:

  1. Start the application process about 1~2 months before you need the visa
  2. Foreign Experts Certificate takes a few days
  3. Visa also takes a couple of days
  4. Get help from your company! You need contracts anyway.



It is at the moment (August 2008) extremely difficult to get Foreign Expert Certificate's (and thus Z work visa) for American citizens. Apparently the USA is on some blacklist, together with other countries. Netherlands is no problem.

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Nikki   | |2009-08-25 19:02:47
Z-Visa is not a Residence Permit. The Residence Permit is something different. You must register your residence with the PSB after you are in China-- you already have your Z Visa.
Juyonis  - I want to know   | |2012-02-25 22:09:12
I have a f-visa, and i need a residence permit. How can i do it?

3.26 Copyright (C) 2008 / Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

Last Updated ( Thursday, 28 August 2008 )
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