The Nanfang / Blog


Getting a Chinese Green Card Will Now Be Easier Than Ever

Posted: 06/3/2014 2:10 pm

When a number of high-profile expats announced their departure from China last year, it appeared to have signaled a mass exodus of Westerners from the smoggy cities of the north—that is, if you believed it. The expat exodus may have simply been a southern migration to the sunny climes of the Pearl River Delta, or may not have happened at all.

Which is it? As if to save us from ourselves, Chinese authorities may have provided the answer in the form of a question: Why don’t you stay, all of you? In fact, China is now considering making it easier than ever for expats to obtain the vaunted Chinese “green card”.

On Monday, the Organizational Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China stated they have drafted regulations on permanent residence for foreigners and will consider more flexible and pragmatic application standards, reported China Daily.

READ: New Visa Policies for Foreigners Now in Effect—
What You Need to Know

Excelsior! This may be the answer to all your problems if a trip to the border via the “Hong Kong midnight run” is a monthly routine for you. A Chinese green card, otherwise known as a “permanent residence card”, will give foreigners the right to reside in China indefinitely. A green card holder will be able to enter and exit China with only a passport and the green card itself without ever needing to apply for a visa ever again.

First introduced in 2004, the granting of the “Regulations on Examination and Approval of Permanent Residence of Alien in China” was intended to attract “high-level foreigners” to invest in Chinese businesses and attract skilled professionals, and may again seek to attract more foreign talent with easing these restrictions.

And now this is easier than ever to obtain? How come there aren’t more of these handy cards around? Whom do I have to marry?

RELATED: Guangdong Residents Can Now Visit Hong Kong and
Macau With Their Fingerprints

Well, you may not have heard of the rarefied Chinese green card because next to nobody has it. Of the 633,000 foreigners living in China in 2012, only 1202 foreigners were awarded a permanent residence card—only 0.19% of the expat population.

But hey, the other 99.8% of the population now stand to have a better chance to enjoy a visa-free stay in China. All you have to do is satisfy one of the following conditions from last year which are now undergoing reforms:

  • you are a businessperson who has invested at least USD 500,000 in the country
  • you are a high-level foreign expert holding a post which promotes China’s economy, scientific and technological development or social progress with skills “needed by the State”
  • you have made an outstanding contribution of special importance to China
  • you are married to a Chinese national

READ: New Visa Laws to Make Life Harder for Illegal Expats,
Easier for Highly-Skilled Ones

The application form is probably provided with check-boxes to make filling it out also easier than ever, just in case you qualify for two or more of these categories.

Once you submit your application, the Public Security Bureau will process it, requiring you to wait a period of six months (or approximately 120 business days, if that makes more sense to you).

A permanent resident status card is valid for a period of five or ten years, but may be instantly revoked if you are in violation of any of the following:

  • You are deemed likely to cause harm to national security or interests;
  • You are ordered by the people’s court to be expelled from the country;
  • You have obtained permanent residence through falsified materials or other illegal methods;
  • Your accumulated stay in a year is less than three months, or your accumulated stay in a period of five years in China is less than one year, without permission

READ: In Praise Of… Being a China Expat

Congratulations! You now have the same rights as a citizen of the People’s Republic of China.

Now, the disagreement whether Western expats are leaving or arriving can end because we’ve made it, all of us: we’re being accepted into the fold of Chinese society. As the China Daily headline reads:

Green card application threshold to be lowered

Finally: “lowered expectations” are coming to the rest of the 99.8 percent of the expat community. The back-packing English teacher may soon yet be permanently residing next door to a CEO captain of industry in short time.


Photo: Sohu

Keep in Touch

What's happening this week in Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzhou? Sign up to be notified when we launch the This Week @ Nanfang newsletter.

sign up for our newsletter

Nanfang TV