Work and Resident Permit Applications of Foreign Employees in China

by Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP
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The most important issue for foreigners working in China is to apply for work and resident permits with Chinese authorities. Compare with the procedures and documents required for foreigners who work for a foreign enterprise’s representative office in China, those for the foreigners working for foreign invested enterprises are more complicated and time consuming. Let’s take the latter as an example to provide some general and useful information on the work and resident permit applications for foreigners working in China.

Procedures for Work and Resident Permit Applications

The procedures will be varied based on different situations, depending on whether the foreigner is in China or not when submitting the applications. According to our experiences, most foreigners will submit their applications after they come to China, so we will take such case for our example.

Step 1: (1) To obtain a health check report at the official designated hospitals;

(2) To obtain Temporary Resident Certificate from the responsible police station of your resident area;

Step 2: To apply for Employment License with municipal or provincial labor and social security bureau;

Step 3: To apply for invitation letter for visa type change with municipal or provincial bureau of commerce or its designated authority;

Step 4: To apply for temporary working visa at Chinese embassies outside China mainland;

Step 5: To update Temporary Resident Certificate from the responsible police station for visa type change;

Step 6: To apply for Work Permit with municipal or provincial labor and social security bureau; and

Step 7: To apply for Resident Permit with municipal or provincial public security bureau.

Documents Required for Work and Resident Permit Applications

The main documents required for work and resident permit applications shall include the following:

  1. Original Passport with business visa (F) or tourist visa (L);
  2. Chinese Resume;
  3. Original Diploma Certificate for college or above degree;
  4. Employment Certificate from previous employer for at least two years employment experience;
  5. Original Health Check Report;
  6. Passport-sized photos with white background;
  7. Original Temporary Resident Certificate;
  8. Guarantee Letter issued by the Chinese employer; and
  9. Application Forms.

If resident permit needs to be applied for foreign employee’s spouse or children under 18 years old, the following documents for spouse and children shall be required:

  1. Original Passport with business visa (F) or tourist visa (L);
  2. Original Temporary Resident Certificate;
  3. Original marriage certificate and birth certificate;
  4. Passport-sized photos with white background;
  5. Health Check Report for spouse (not required for children) ; and
  6. Application Form

Useful Points:

The following points should be kept in mind when applying for work and resident permits:

  1. Work and resident permits can be only issued for the foreign employees who hold manager level post or above and who have obtained bachelor or above diplomas;
  2. Original diploma certificate is required to be presented for authority's inspection;
  3. Working visa (Z visa) can only be granted to the foreigners who enter into China with business visa (F visa) or tourist visa (L visa);
  4. After entering China mainland with temporary Z visa, foreign employees cannot go outside of China mainland when applying for work and resident permits which usually takes about 10-15 working days; otherwise, the temporary Z visa needs to be reapplied.
  5. Applicant needs to show up at the public security bureau when applying for resident permit; and
  6. Change applications need to be submitted within 10 days if any changes of the items indicated in the work and resident permits occur, including changes of employer and resident place, etc.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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