China visa, work permit, and residence permit
Types of visa
Foreign nationals who enters and exit China must have a valid visa. Article 6 of the Regulations of the People's Republic of China on Administration of the Entry and Exit of Foreigners provides the following types of visas, each of which has specific purposes:
Article 6 Ordinary visas are divided into the following categories and shall be marked with corresponding letters in the Chinese phonetic alphabet:
(1) The C visa is issued to crewmembers performing duties on board an international train, aircraft or vessel, and the accompanying family members of vessel crewmembers, and vehicle drivers engaged in international transportation services;
(2) The D visa is issued to persons who come to China for permanent residence;
(3) The F visa is issued to persons who come to China for exchanges, visits, study tours or other relevant activities;
(4) The G visa is issued to persons who transit through China;
(5) The J1 visa is issued to resident foreign journalists of permanent offices of foreign news agencies in China; the J2 visa is for foreign journalists who come to China for short-term news coverage;
(6) The L visa is issued to persons who come to China for travel; persons who come to China for group travel can be issued Group L visas;
(7) The M visa is issued to persons who come to China for commercial trade activities;
(8) The Q1 visa is issued to family members of Chinese citizens and family members of foreigners with permanent residence status in China who apply for residence in China for family reunion, as well as for persons who apply for residence in China for fosterage or other purposes; the Q2 visa is for relatives of Chinese citizens living in China, or relatives of foreigners with permanent residence status in China, who apply for a short-term visit;
(9) The R visa is issued to foreigners of high talent who are needed, or specialists who are urgently needed, by the State;
(10) The S1 visa is issued to the spouses, parents, children under the age of 18 or parents-in-law of foreigners residing in China for work, study or other purposes who apply for a long-term visit to China, as well as for persons who need to reside in China for other personal matters; the S2 visa is for family members of foreigners staying or residing in China for work, study or other purposes who apply for a short-term visit to China, as well as for persons who need to stay in China for other personal matters;
(11) The X1 visa is issued to persons who apply for long-term study in China; the X2 visa is for persons who apply for short-term study in China; and
(12) The Z visa is issued to persons who apply for work in China.
Work permit and residence permit
To apply for a work visa, a foreign national must have applied for a work permit.
The work visa only grants the foreign employee the right to enter China and stay in China for a short time period. The foreign employee must apply for a residence permit (card) within 30 days of arriving in China.