This summary is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered an authoritative guide on how to obtain work authorization in China. The intent is to give the reader a general overview of the process only. Procedures and requirements may have changed since the writing of this article or may have been inaccurately characterized in it. For current and detailed information regarding the topics below, as well as documentary requirements, processing times, post-arrival and departure requirements, penalties for non-compliance, allowances for accompanying family members, and any other information pertaining to your specific needs, please contact your Pro-Link GLOBAL immigration professional.



Permitted Activities – Business visitors must generally limit their activities to the following:

  • Attending business meetings or discussions
  • Making sales calls to potential clients provided that the visitor represents a commercial entity outside of China
  • Attending seminars or “fact-finding” meetings

Type of Business Visas
– Certain nationals may enter China without need of a business visa (visa-exempt nationals).   All other nationals will require:

  • a Type F visitor visa for non-commercial activities by government officials;
  • a Type M business visa for business or commercial activities.

Basic Requirements –

1. Intention of a genuine visit for business and not for paid employment;
2. Good health and character;
3. Evidence that there are no restrictions on his or her traveling to China;
4. No intention to permanently reside in China;
5. A ticket for onward travel from China;
6. Proof of funds;
7. Invitation from China may be required at the Consulate or Embassy’s discretion.

Estimated Processing Times – This varies by diplomatic post and country.

Maximum Time On Visa – This visa allows business people to make a short business visit to China for up to three months. Visas can be extended in country in some of the provinces.

Typical Documents Required
All travelers need to present the following documents to officers in immigration clearance:

  • a valid passport or other acceptable travel document and in some cases
  • a valid visa or authority to enter China


Basic Requirements – The principle visa category for temporary employment in China is the temporary residence permit for foreigners. This is held alongside a work permit (also known as an Alien Employment Permit). This is a category for employers to sponsor qualified skilled workers to work as intra-company transferees in the People’s Republic of China on a temporary basis.

Process Overview – The standard process for obtaining a work and a residence permit for skilled workers is jurisdictional and involves a six step process summarized below. Note that different processes apply for nationals of Hong Kong, Taiwan or Macau.

1. Employment License application*
2. Z Visa Invitation Letter issuance
3. Single Entry Z Visa application
4. Temporary Residence Registration
5. Work Permit (also known as Alien Employment Permit) application
6. Residence permit application*

Please note that extensive medical certificates are needed for the process.

Estimated Processing Time – six to eight weeks, depending on jurisdiction.

Validity periods – Work and residence permits are generally valid for up to 12 months.

Family Members – Secondary/ family dependents may not work without separate work authorization.

*Please note that immigration processes and document requirements may vary by province. Therefore, additional documentation, such as university diplomas, police clearances, marriage and birth documents, may be required by the host provincial authorities.   Additional documentation may require legalization by the Chinese consular authority in the document’s country of issuance.

China New Work Permit System

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