Chinese new visa rules for foreigners

2 min.

By ECOVIS Ruide China, Pingwen Hu

1. Overview

Effective since 1 September 2013, the State Council recently released a new regulation, introducing various new visa types and providing clarity on the administrative procedures and supporting documents required.

2. Expansion of visa types

The new regulation expands the visa types from 8 to 12 categories. Following types may be related to the foreigners visiting or working in China:

F Visa: Foreigners engaged in exchanges, visits, inspections, etc. (non-commercial related activities)
M Visa (new): Foreigners engaged in business or commercial purposes
R Visa (new): High foreign experts who are urgently in need in China
S Visa (new): Visiting spouses, parents (in children aged under 18 of foreigners residing in China for purpose of work or study who come to China for 180 days or less (S1 visa) or more than 180 days (S2 visa)
Z Visa: Foreigners working in China

3. Changes to requirements and processing time

According to the new regulation, there will be additional (may be stricter) requirements and increased processing time for a visa and/or residence permit applications. The time taken may vary, depending on the location of the application (overseas and in China), but on a whole, the estimated timeline can be illustrated as follows:

China Visa process

4. Our observation and suggestion

Due to the visa types will be changed since 1 September 2013, companies and foreigners may need to revisit the criteria for each visa type before making the applications for the proper visas. For example, business visitors should apply for the new M visa (as opposed to the F visa).

Companies should expect additional bureaucracy and longer waiting time for the application of visas to be approved. Therefore they are advised to prepare the travelling or working plan and apply for visas on behalf of their employees earlier than before. We also suggest companies maintain detailed records of the employees’ work, authorization documents, and time spent in China under different visas.

The new regulation (English Translation) is attached to this Express Info.

For more information or advice please contact our professional team.

Contact person

Lawyer in Heidelberg, Richard Hoffmann
Richard Hoffmann
Lawyer in Heidelberg
Phone: +49 6221 9985 639