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CHINA: Certain Nationals Holding Valid Residence Permits May be Able to Obtain a Visa Without a Letter of Invitation

, 20/08/2020

The Chinese authorities have confirmed that holders of valid residence permits, including for work or family reunion, who are nationals of certain countries, are now able to apply for a visa at a Chinese embassy or consulate in these countries without a letter of invitation (LOI or “PU Letter”).

However, the implementation of this new policy currently varies from consulate to consulate and should be confirmed before a visa application is submitted.

The new policy may apply to residence permit holders who are nationals of the following countries, applying for visas in these countries:

Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Background

Entry to China is currently suspended for all foreign nationals, including holders of valid residence permits.

However, companies in China are allowed to apply for an M visa invitation letter, with a maximum duration of 180 days, for essential foreign workers performing necessary and urgent economic, trade, scientific or technological activities. If the invitation letter is approved and issued (under limited circumstances), the foreign national can apply for an M visa at the relevant Chinese consulate.