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How to Get a Green Card in China?
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You Should Submit: (a) Valid Passport or equivalent; (b) Health certificate issued at state level; (c) Credentials proving no criminal record by China embassies or consulates; (d) Two passport photos, no hat; (e) Other relevant credentials if required.

Fees: The fee for the new green card certificate is 300 yuan or about US$36. The cost of getting a new card is 1500 yuan or about US$180.

Time: The agency is open from Monday to Saturday, 8:30 to 12:00 in the morning, 13:00 to 17:00 in the afternoon.

In order to qualify for Green Card holder status, you must fulfill at least one of the following criteria:

I. Be a high-level foreign expert holding a post which promotes China's economic, scientific and technological development, or social progress.

II. Have made outstanding contributions of special importance to China

III. Have made a large direct investment of over US$ 500,000 in China

IV. Have come to China to be with your family, such as spouse, dependent minors or senior citizens.

To apply for the certificate:

I. Submit an application to a city-level Public Security Bureau or at the county-level branch of the Public Security Bureau directly responsible for the community of the applicant's major investment or long-term residence.

II.   Provide the specified application documents.

III.  The public security body shall investigate and verify the conditions of the
applicant according to the specified pre-requisites.

IV.  The local department will submit the application to the Ministry of Public Security for examination and approval.

V.  The ministry shall decide whether to approve or reject the application for permanent residence permit within 6 months of receiving the application.

VI.  Upon the approval of the Ministry of Public Security, the applicant will be granted a Foreigner Permanent Residency Permit by the Ministry of Public Security.

A Chinese green card is not equivalent to Chinese nationality. Presently China does not recognize dual or multiple nationalities. Thus, if one wants to become a Chinese national, original nationality status would have to be cancelled.

Those who obtain a Chinese green card should not stay in China less than three months in a year or less than a year in five years. Special causes will need approval from city level public security bureaus.

Expats with a Chinese green card will still need to observe rules concerning traveling, temporary living in other cities, and visiting areas closed to the public.

For further information or for a free copy of the "Chinese Green Card Guide," call Xiang Yang at the Beijing Zhongfu Law Firm at 6329-3541.

Location: Beijing Commercial Guild Hall, Bldg 1 Yulinli, You'anmenwai

Benefits of Chinese green card

Long validity

Foreigners without a Chinese green card need to renew their residence permit once a year. There are also limitations over the time duration and location they can stay within the PRC. In comparison, a Chinese green card for foreigners below 18 years of age is valid for five years and for those above 18, it is valid for 10 years. Because the Ministry of Public Security issues the card, it is valid throughout China.

Easy entry and exit

With a passport and Chinese green card, one can go in and out of China freely without needing a visa, thus a green card saves time and expense needed to get a visa each time you travel through customs. A Chinese green card can also be used separately as a legal certificate to stay in Beijing.


Expats without residency permits and who come to study in schools are not allowed by law to work in China without approval. However, there is no such employment regulation limiting foreigners with Chinese green cards. This means expats with a Chinese green card should be allowed to work freely and treated according to all Chinese labor laws.


Expats with a Chinese green card have the same rights in civil and commercial affairs as Chinese citizens. They can rent or lease houses without examination or approval from the public security bureau.

The following are some examples of the advantages of a working and residing license in Beijing:

Children's education

Expats with a Chinese green card have the same rights and responsibilities (apart from the right to elect, be elected and serve military service) as Chinese citizens of the city they live in. Thus, if in Beijing, their children can go to kindergarten, primary and high schools without extra fees.

Buying a home

With a green card, one can buy commercial housing or even economic-class houses in the city they reside in, if they meet the requirements.

Driver's license

With a green card, one can apply for a driving license, a temporary driving license, or automobile registration.

Opening an enterprise

They can establish an enterprise in the city they live in, and apply for scientific and technological project sustentation.

Professional status

They can join the city's talent cultivation projects and apply for awards given to talents and experts. They can also take part in professional qualification tests and registration.


They are valid for basic retirement insurance, city workers' basic medical insurance and can store money for housing in an accumulation fund.


Expats with a Chinese green card and without Chinese nationality enjoy the same investment advantages as other foreigners in China.

(Beijing.gov.cn, China Daily, October 16, 2006)

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