Travel to China – Visa Conditions
Travel to China is not easy without a visa. You need a visa to enter China. Chinese visa application centers are open from mid August to mid September, for an eighteen to thirty day stay. On 4 September the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a statement regarding the situation concerning foreigners travelling to China and their stay in China.
The Ministry said that it is “not in the interests of China or the international community” to issue exit visas to foreign nationals coming to visit China. It also reminded the British citizens that they should seek exit visas after six months from the date of their last entry. It is important to get a visa before travelling to China. Foreign nationals who have a long-term visa and wish to extend their stay can apply for an extension at the customs office in Xujiahui.
The Chinese government has introduced a series of measures to discourage the illegal movement of Chinese nationals traveling abroad. They have strengthened the control on the exit and entry of tourists and citizens. There is a fast-track program for those Chinese nationals traveling to China on business. They have been approved by the Ministry of Transport and the State Administration of Foreign affairs. The fast-track program has been designed for businessmen to increase trade with China and strengthen their relationship with the Chinese community in Hong Kong.
Chinese authorities have been carrying out regular checks on foreigners working in China and there have been cases of thefts, arrests and detainments. Tourists working overseas and who are not employed by local enterprises are required to register with the local labor authorities and present their valid work permits when they arrive in China. In some regions, foreign workers will be required to register with the local labor authorities after arrival in China. Travelers visiting China for the first time should follow the rules and guidelines set by the Chinese Foreign Affairs Department and consult them before travelling abroad. The relevant information regarding registration and related requirements should be collected before travelling to China.
China’s consulate-general in Hong Kong and the consulate in Beijing are the only foreign offices that are authorized to issue visas to people travelling to China. Visitors who are unable to present their valid work permits in China can apply for a visa from the Chinese consulate in Hong Kong or the Chinese consulate in Beijing. Foreigners who are approved for a visa for three months or more can remain in China for an additional three months. On returning from a visit to China, expatriates are required to leave China and obtain exit visas at the exit point specified by the Chinese authorities.
Traveling to China may pose some difficulties due to the ongoing implementation of exit-exit policies of the Chinese authorities, particularly for citizens of non-PRC countries. The PRC authorities have implemented a system called “corporation entry permit”, which allows employees of foreign corporations to enter China for a period of up to six consecutive years without obtaining exit visas. The duration of the six consecutive years of stay depends on the authorized partner’s current residence as decided by the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The main entry criteria required for foreigners travelling to China comprise: residence permit, foreign business presence, passport, flight details, invitation letter from the holder’s employer, and payment of prescribed exit taxes. Foreigners may not enter China using the Commercial Autonomous Zone (CAZ) without having obtained a business pass or Business Travel Control Certificate (BTC). Passes to China do not include children below the age of 18 years. Passport applications are available at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website. The free e-book on Chinese Travellers’ China Pass offers detailed instructions for arriving in China with your passport.
For citizens of Canada travelling to China to work, a work permit is mandatory before entering the country. If you don’t have a work permit, you may obtain one at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website. There are three main types of work permits: business entry, employment registration, and study exit. Business entry permits can be renewed every two years and must be renewed through the same channels. Study exit permits are only available to students pursuing university studies and are valid for two years. No work permit is required for visiting relatives.