China recently implemented the “Exit-Entry Administration Law,” a new law that is intended to standardize the issuance of visas for foreigners, as well as related services and management.  Scheduled to take effect on September 1st, the law emphasizes stricter enforcement over foreign visitors, and imposes harsher penalties for illegal employment.  The regulation categorizes ordinary visas into 12 types that are based on the person’s purpose of entry.  New visa categories introduced include an R-visa for high-level foreign professionals, and a Q-visa for foreigners who come to China to visit relatives.

Previously there was only one type of residence permit available for foreigners staying in China.  Now, under the new regulation, a foreigner may obtain a residence permit from one of the five residence categories, including residence permits for work purposes, residence permits for study, residence permits for journalists, residence permits for family reunions, and residence permits for private matters.

The regulation also addresses illegal residence stating that a foreigner who stays or resides beyond the period permitted by his or her visa or residence certificate will be deemed to be residing illegally.  Illegal residence further includes foreigners admitted into the country without a visa who remain in China beyond the visa-free period and fail to apply for a stay or residence certificate.