How to Apply for a Work Visa and Related Documentation in China

  • 29 March 2011 10:03 am

In this article, we look at how to apply for an employment and residence certificate in China, the current documentation needed, and new requirements that are being put in place across the country. Applying for an employment and residence certificate in China can be roughly broken down into four steps: the Alien Employment License application; the Employment Visa and Residence Permit Notification application; the Alien Employment Permit application; and the Residence Permit application.

1. Alien Employment License
The Alien Employment License is a document which basically states that a foreigner is allowed to work in China. It is needed to apply for an Employment (Z) Visa Invitation Letter from the Ministry of Commerce. An invitation letter is needed to apply for an entry visa that can be converted into a work and residence permit. While in the past it was common for F visas to be converted into work and residence permits, currently most cities require an applicant to obtain their Z Visa from their country of residence (their home nation or country where they possess legal residency).
The following documentation must be submitted:

    Application for Employment Permit for Foreigners
    Valid passport
    Copies of the health certificate issued by the Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Authority*
    Copies of the Industrial and Commercial Business License (duplicate)/Registration or any other governmental instrument of ratification
    Reasons for employment
    Credentials required for job
    Curriculum vitae of foreigner to be employed Letter of intention for employment
    Criminal record check**

* This can vary from city to city and even nationality to nationality; some nationalities do not need this certificate prior to obtaining their entry visa.
**This is a relatively new requirement that is not yet implemented in every city in China. We suspect that in the near future, it will become a standard requirement in every city.

2. Notification for Application of Employment Visa and Residence Permit
The Entry-Exit Administration of the Public Security Bureau in the city where a foreigner wishes to work and reside must issue this notification before an Alien Employment Permit will be issued.
The following documentation must be submitted by the employer:

    Employment license
    Valid passport of the applicant (copies of main pages and valid visa shall be attached)
    Application for Residence Qualifications of Working Foreigners in China (with photos)
    Two copies of the Industrial and Commercial Business License (duplicate)
    Temporary Accommodation
    Registration off the applicant (from local police station or hotel where applicant is residing)

3. Alien Employment Permit
The Alien Employment Permit allows foreigners to work legally in China. It is usually valid for one year and must be renewed annually.
The following documentation must be submitted by the employer:

    Employment License
    Notification for Application of Employment Visa and Residence Permit
    Copies of the labor contract or certificate of appointment (those who have a clear and defined position specified on the Business License/Registration or other governmental instrument of ratification may be exempt)

4. Residence Permit
The Residence Permit allows foreigners to legally reside within China. It is usually valid for one year and allows the holder to enter and leave China whenever they choose.
The following documentation must be submitted:

    Valid passport
    Alien Employment Permit
    Certificate of Verification for Physical Examination Record for Foreigner or Overseas Chinese
    Notification for Application of Employment Visa and Residence Permit
    Interview Record of Residence Qualification Application for Foreigners
    Chinese Visa or Residence Application form

Once these four steps have been completed, a valid work and residence permit will be issued and the foreigner is legally able to work and reside within the People’s Republic of China for the validity period of their permit (usually, but not always, one year). Both permits can be renewed prior to their expiration.

Article provided by Dezan Shira & Associates.

Dezan Shira & Associates provides a range of services for companies looking to undertake foreign direct investment into Asia. These include corporate establishment, accounting, tax, payroll, audit and due diligence.


Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on www.maxxelli-blog.com and was re-published here by kind permission.

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