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Temporary Residence Registration

All foreigners in China need to be registered with their local PSB (Public Security Bureau, like Police station). This rule has existed for a long time, but was never enforced strictly. From July the 1st 2008, they will start to enforce the rules more strictly: with fines of up to 5000 RMB! It is strongly recommended that all expatriate personnel living in apartments in China register with the local PSB prior to July 1st to avoid problems. Read more below for the procedure and who need to do it.

Who is affected?

Guests staying in Hotels and Serviced Apartments
Guests must be registered upon arrival with the PSB by the hotel and/or serviced apartment management company. Usually this procedure is automatic with input from the hotel being directly fed into the local PSB computer at the check-in procedure, with no additional action being required from the guest. However, daily checks are now in operation with the PSB physically visiting hotels to request copies of the hotels in-house guest list to make sure they match the PSB’s own records. If they do not, the hotel / serviced apartment will be fined RMB5,000 per missing entry. Hotel guests under these circumstances would not be fined. However it does mean that foreigners wishing to stay at an hotel in China must provide full passport and visa credentials in order to check in.

Expatriate Employees Living In Private Apartments
The apartment management company should be contacting foreign tenants / residents and requiring them to register with the local PSB. If this is not done, both the management company and the foreigner can be fined RMB5,000. It is important to note that this rule applies to any foreign person living in any apartment or private dwelling - even if it is for just for one night. If staying overnight or visiting friends in China, registration must be carried out upon arrival with the local PSB office responsible for the area within 24 hours of arrival.

source :


How to register?

Registering is not easy, it's best to bring someone who speaks Chinese with you and to take at least half a day off (In Futian district in Shenzhen registration of foreigners is only done during working hours on Monday - Friday).

The basic steps:

  1. Get two passport photos ready
  2. Bring passport + your address and lots of other stuff (see 3)
  3. Get copies of your passport personal information (2x) + visa page (2x) + stamp for last entry (2x) and other documents (see the Chinese note at the bottom). For example I need 2 copies of the house contract.
  4. Go to the PSB that covers your appartment building. This can already be quite difficult to find. For example in Nanshan you have to go to a different PSB than in Futian district.
  5. When you arrive at the PSB, you probably need to ask where foreigners need to register. Don't trust the signs, because you might wait in a queue that is not being used anymore! In Futian for example, you need to register in a small computer room next to the main registration room (which has a seperate queue for foreigners - unused!)
  6. You first have to get the right registration form (see below)
  7. Possibly you have to get some stamps from the local police officer + management office from the building where you live. Without those stamps / signatures, you just cannot register. We didn't have the form so we didn't know about these stamps, so we had to leave the PSB without being able to register...
  8. (2 days later) I went back to the PSB with the stamps from the local police officer & the management office from our appartments and everything was ok! In fact, it went quite smoothly, glad i'm now registered correctly again!


Not easy at all. Previously in Nanshan we didn't have to get a stamp from the local police officer and management officer. I think the rules have changed and they now check the place of residence more strictly. People who rent need to provide a copy of the renting contract for example.


registration form of temporary residence for visitors china
Registration form of temporary residence for visitors - Shenzhen, China
Chinese requirements - these are the detailed docs you need to bring (in my case at least)
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David Holler  - temporary (private) residence permit   | |2009-03-03 13:48:47
hi. thanks for your helpful entry.
Here in Lhasa everything seems more difficult ...
Can you (or anyone) perhaps scan me an example of the paper you got then.
Some kind of private/ temporary residence permit, I guess.
I would like to show them here, that anywhere else in China one can get this.
Mike Carpenter  - temporary (private) residence permit   | |2009-03-17 17:51:29
How about if I am staying at a friend's house. The house is a rented house. So in this case would I need the his rental agreement; made between my friend and his landlord?? I am planning to stay in my friends place in Nanjing, China...
Thijs     | |2009-03-22 16:38:51
I'm not sure what the rules are if you stay at a friend's house
Perhaps you can ask your friend to go with you to the PSB to ask?
coolaid  - penalty..   | |2009-06-05 01:08:31
What happens if the psb caught an advert proving u teach private classes without a working visa.. plus u never registered ? what would be the possible penalty ...
Thijs   | |2009-06-05 10:26:38
Hi coolaid; I looked up the regulations and posted them in another article:
Naveed AHMED  - about registration   | |2011-01-06 01:23:06
dear i need help for make sure how to registration local PSB i go many times i marry with chines me and my wife live in Shenzhen i got 1 year multiple visa now i need local Psb registration but i dont know how to do with this and what agreement need go many times i need for my residence visa so anyone help me and show me agreement i also have agreement but they said this is not we need other i dont know what they need my wife also go with me many times she work in company she not have time all time some time bcoz of work sat and sun she have holiday but that time holiday government if anyone know about this help me what agreement need and how to make its other all document i have i really thnx if anyone tell me this difficult china make everything difficult no body help
khalid  - about registartion   | |2011-05-07 16:51:11
if you are still having problems employ an organisation that can help you.
Alex  - Very different in chengdu   | |2011-06-30 23:01:38
This registration was much much easier in Chengdu. All I needed was my passport and walk up to the counter at the district police station. I told them my current address and that was it. I'm here on a student visa, can't say for sure what it's like for other visa types though.

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

Last Updated ( Friday, 27 June 2008 )
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