August 27, 2013

Recently, the federal Chinese authorities, as well as the Chinese cities of Beijing and Shanghai, have announced both procedural and document requirement changes for various aspects of the work and residence permit processes.

These changes are all effective immediately.

What’s Changed?


In accordance with many of the recent changes to processing times, Chinese authorities throughout the country have announced the following procedural changes to the Residence Permit application process:

  1. Renewal of Residence Permit – renewal applications must be filed at least 30 days prior to current Residence Permit expiration date; and
  2. Processing of Residence Permit application – Processing times for Residence Permit applications have been extended to 15 working days. During adjudication, the Chinese authorities may hold the applicant’s original passport.


The Beijing Government Authority recently announced that the original company Business  License will be required for all residence permit applications filed at the Beijing Public Security Bureau. In the past, a copy of the Business License was sufficient; however, this new requirement will require filing agents to collect the original Business License from the Chinese sponsoring company before each Residence Permit application is filed.


There are two classifications of residence authorization in Shanghai: the more-common Residence Permit which simply gives a foreign national the right to reside in Shanghai, and the Residence B Card which confers additional residential and tax benefits to the holder. Recently, the Shanghai Labor Bureau has undergone an effort to reduce the number of Residence B Card holders by requiring that certain applicants provide additional qualifications to be eligible for the permit.

Traditionally, holding a Work Permit was sufficient to apply for this special permit; however, depending on the applicant profile, the Shanghai authorities now reserve the right to require that the applicant hold a Chinese Foreign Expert Permit. According to sources, it is unclear exactly how the Shanghai authorities will implement this new requirement and many applicants may still be able to apply for a Residence B Card while holding a Work Permit. If you or your employee wishes to apply for this special permit, please reach out to your Pro-Link GLOBAL Immigration Specialist.



Employers should note not only the increase in Residence Permit processing time, but also the increase in the required time to submit a renewal application of the same.


Although the recent change in Beijing is fairly simple, companies who employ foreign nationals in Beijing should nevertheless note the document requirement change. Requiring the original company Business License will also require that filing agents collect the original document before each Residence Permit application is submitted.


Applying for a Shanghai Residence B Card can be a very complex process and each case will need to be assessed for its specifics, as well as the applicant details and qualifications. Employers should remain flexible and open to sudden and unexpected document requirement changes from the authorities. Your Pro-Link GLOBAL Immigration Specialist will be able to assist with these case assessments.

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Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification. This alert was prepared by Pro-Link GLOBAL’s Knowledge Management team in conjunction with our PLG Office in Shanghai.

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