January 16, 2014

Chinese authorities in Shanghai and Tianjin have announced the roll out of two new online application systems that seek to streamline and modernize the Residence Permit application and renewal processes. While it is unclear exactly which effect the online systems may ultimately have on processing times, it is anticipated that some of the changes may delay the issuance of Residence Permits in Tianjin.

Shanghai – Online Renewal of Residence Permits Now Available

As of January 2, 2014, foreign nationals whose personal and professional information in China has not changed since their last Residence Permit application (either initial or previous renewal) are now eligible to submit their Residence Permit renewal applications through a new online system.

In the past, applicants were required to submit their original passports to the Shanghai Public Security Bureau (PSB) while their Residence Permit applications were being processed. This new system allows applicants to file their applications electronically without surrendering their passports. The electronic application will then be adjudicated by the Chinese authorities and, upon approval, the applicant will be required to present their original documents and passport for Residence Permit stamping.

Processing times are expected to be shorter than the current standard 7 business days and, as always, the Shanghai PSB reserves the right to require any additional documents at their discretion.

Please note that although applicants will be able to travel outside of China while their renewal application is in process, it is strongly recommended that they remain in the country or limit the duration of their trips so they will be available for their in-person appointment and Residence Permit stamping.

Tianjin – Online Interview System Implemented for Residence Permit Application

Tianjin authorities have announced that, effective immediately, all Residence Permit interviews will be conducted via a new online portal: face-to-face interview meetings will no longer be available. Initially rolled out in late 2013, the portal was designed to give foreign nationals another option to complete their Residence Permit interview formalities. The system allows an applicant to fill in their supporting personal and corporate information, book an interview time, and speak with an immigration officer.

As interview appointments will need to be scheduled and the Residence Permit application itself can only be filed at the Entry & Exit Public Security Bureau the day after the online interview has been completed, overall processing times for the Residence Permit procedures are expected to increase to 8-9 business days.

Finally, please note that Chinese companies will need to purchase and install new software for the online interviews. For more information on this software, please contact your Pro-Link GLOBAL Immigration Specialist.