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CHINA – Changes to Immigration Rules and Procedures in Shanghai; and Relaxed Entry Requirements for Taiwan Nationals

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On 1 July 2015 the Ministry of Public Security in Shanghai began implementing various changes to immigration procedures and rules, aimed at attracting more highly skilled foreign nationals to the city.

Also, the entry requirements for Taiwanese nationals travelling to mainland China have been relaxed.

Shanghai Changes

Visa On Arrival / Post-Arrival

  • Highly-Skilled foreign nationals, and those bringing entrepreneurial skills to Shanghai, and who have an alien employment licence, may now apply for a Z (Work) Visa on arrival at the port of entry instead of at a consulate abroad, or convert to a Z Visa post-arrival instead of having to leave China first.
  • Highly skilled foreign nationals (with either a talent certificate awarded by the Shanghai human resources authority or an endorsement from a high-tech business on the “Shanghai Technological Innovation Occupation” list) can now apply for an R (Talent) Visa on arrival at the port of entry instead of at a consulate abroad, or convert to an R Visa post-arrival instead of having to leave China.
  • Foreign investors with a verified business plan and evidence of funding can now obtain an S (Private Affairs) Visa on arrival at the port of entry.

Relaxed Criteria for Residence and Permanent Residence Permits

  • Any foreign national who has applied for and obtained two consecutive work-type residence permits can henceforth apply for a new five-year work-type residence permit when they apply for a residence permit the third time.
  • Foreign nationals who have worked in Shanghai in certain industries for four consecutive years and resided in China for at least six cumulative months every year during that period, can apply for the Green Card permanent residence permit if they are recommended by their employers.Previously, applicants had to have resided in China for three cumulative years within the four-year period. Applicants must receive an annual salary and pay income tax which at least match the average for the previous year in Shanghai. The current thresholds are 600,000RMB annual salary and 120,000RMB paid income tax.
  • Foreign nationals who qualify as “senior professionals” or “high-level foreign talent” can apply for the new five-year work-type residence permit if the assignment in Shanghai is for five years.“Senior professionals” must work for businesses on the “Shanghai Technological Innovation Occupation” list, and “high-level foreign talent” must be certified by the Shanghai authorities as such.
  • A holder of a “Talent”-type residence permit for at least three years can apply for the permanent residence permit (Green Card).
  • Foreign students who have graduated from Chinese universities can now apply for a two-year Residence Permit which allows for starting an innovative business. If hired locally, they must apply for the work-type Residence Permit.
  • Holders of permanent residence permits (Green Cards) and high-level talent or senior professional holders of work-type residence permits in Shanghai can now apply for residence permits for domestic staff.

Visa-Free Entry Extended

Visa-exempt nationalities can now stay in Shanghai without a visa for up to 144 hours (previously 72 hours), and this now includes travellers arriving by sea.

Relaxed Requirements for Taiwanese Nationals

Also effective 1 July 2015, Taiwanese nationals are no longer required to obtain Domestic/Residence Endorsement to enter Mainland China, and can now do so with only their TaiBaoZheng (entry permit for Taiwanese nationals). The TaiBaoZheng will henceforth be issued in the form of an ID card instead of a booklet.

Action Items

  • Highly-skilled foreign nationals and their employers, and foreign investors and entrepreneurs should take into account the new visa and residence permit rules in Shanghai when planning their projects in Shanghai.
  • Taiwanese nationals can travel to mainland China with fewer required documents.