Immigration and Work Visa / Work Permit – China

Applying for a Visa to Work in China

Foreign nationals must obtain an appropriate visa before entering China unless exempted under certain agreements and regulations.

A Visa for Work Purpose

A work visa is required for working in China. There are different categories of visas needed for entry into China.  Among them, Z visa and R visa are Work Visa. 

China Work Visa - Z visa

It is needed for working in China in general.  Before applying for one, you must first reach an employment agreement with the employer in China with a signed contract.  You should then apply in you home country with one of these to indicate eligibility to work in China.

  • Foreigners Employment Permit of the People’s Republic of China issued by the Chinese authorities for Human Resources and Social Security.  If the intended work period is 90 days or less, applicant must apply for an Approval of Short-Term Employment for Foreigners. He/She must also submit the visa application before the work commencement date indicated on the Approval.
  • Foreign Expert Work Permit issued by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.
  • Registration Certificate of Resident Representative Offices of enterprises of foreign countries(regions) issued by the Chinese authorities of industrial and commercial administration.
  • Approval document for commercial performances issued by the Chinese authorities for cultural affairs.   If the intended performance period is 90 days or less, applicant must apply for an Approval of Short-Term Employment for Foreigners.  He/She must also submit the visa application before the commencement date of the performance as indicated on the Approval.
  • Letter of Invitation to Foreigners for Offshore Petroleum Operations in China issued by China National Offshore Oil Corporation.

Holders of China work visa, Z visa, must apply for a foreigners’ residence permit from a local public security authority within 30 days after entry.  The maximum periods of stay are as follows.  Five years for Foreign Experts.  Two years for foreigners working in reputable registered entities.  One year for others.

China Work Visa - R visa

It is needed by a foreign professional to work in China as a foreign expert.  He/She must have an invitation from the Chinese government or an enterprise, institution, multinational or other organization in China.  Also, he/she must work in a capacity considered important for the country’s economic and social development.   The applicant must also submit his/her China work visa application in his/her home country.  Also, a Confirmation Letter for High Level Foreign Talents issued by the State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs, or other eligible certifications, is needed.

An application for extension will extend the stay of a R visa holder for no more than 180 days.

A Visa for Other Purposes

C visa

Foreign crew members of any means of international transportation, including aircrafts, trains, ships and motor vehicles.  Also any accompanying family members of the crew member.

F visa

Exchange, visit, short-term study and other activities.

G visa

Transit through China.

L visa

Entry to China as a tourist.

M visa

Going to China for commercial and trade activities.

Q1 visa

Family members of Chinese citizens or foreigners with Chinese permanent residence intending to go to China for family reunion or foster care, with a stay exceeding 180 days.

Q2 visa

Visiting relatives who are Chinese citizens or foreigners with Chinese permanent residence, with a stay of no more than 180 days.

S1 visa

Going to visit foreigners working or studying in China to whom they are spouses, parents, parents-in-law, or sons/daughters under the age of 18, or those intending to go to China for other private affairs, with a stay exceeding 180 days.

S2 visa

Visiting family members who are foreigners working or studying in China.  Also for going to China for other private affairs.  With a stay of no more than 180 days.

X1 visa

Studying in China for a period of more than 180 days.

X2 visa

Studying in China for a period of no more than 180 days.

This is based on latest information published by relevant authorities at the time of posting.  FastLane HR will not be responsible for any loss or damages incurred as a result of any inaccuracy of such information. 

Date: July 2022

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