Chinese Immigration Requirements and Process

The Chinese immigration application process is complex, decentralized and changes constantly. This document is designed to provide guidelines on the process with requirements.  Not all provinces have the same requirements and processes, however Visa Executive will lead Clients and Applicants through each provinces requirements as the need for this arises.  Our locally based Manager, Nick Lang has the required experience and skills to provide success in Chinese Immigration for our clients.


The most common immigration documents are "Tourist Visas (L)", "Business Visas (F)", "Employment Licenses" "Employment Visas (Z)", "Dependant Visas (Z)", "Employment Certificates" and "Residence Permits". Most corporate employees will receive Employment Licenses, Invitations, Type Z Visas, Employment Permits and Residence Permits. The relevant authorities are the Public Security Bureau and the Labor Bureau.

Visa Requirements for Corporate Employees

New Hires

In order to achieve Immigration Approval a new hire should have an undergraduate or graduate degree as well as relevant experience.  This is recommended, although there are no official limitations.

Intra Company Transfers

Intra Company Transfers involve the exact same application process as New Hires, although employers can expect more latitude in justifying the business need for the position. There are no hard rules on required tenure with the company, and virtually any connection between the foreign and the Chinese employer will qualify as "intra company".

Business Visits

Orientation, home-finding, and other preparation for employment can be conducted under business visitor status. It is possible to convert from business visitor to employment status without leaving China in some provinces, but others require applicants to exit China and obtain a Type Z visa at a Chinese Consulate in their home country or Hong Kong SAR.


Legal spouses and children up to age 21 of Employment Visa holders can receive Dependant Z Visas. Employment is not permitted, and non-married partners are not recognised.

Work Application Process

Process Summary

The process varies from province to province. However, the required immigration documents are:

  • Employment License
  • Invitation
  • Z Visa or F Visa
  • Employment Certificate and
  • Residence Permit.

In some provinces, you begin with an F (Business) Visa, enter China and then Visa Executive's Local Manager will provide assistance with the Employment License, Invitation, Employment Certificate and Residence Permit.

In others, the Employment License and Invitation are secured prior to the employee's arrival, and are utilized to secure the Z (Work) Visa. Upon entry into China, the Employment Certificate and Residence Permit are secured.

Processing Times

Processing times vary from province to province. Change of status applications are typically processed in approximately four weeks, where as provinces that require the Z visa to be issued at a Chinese consulate normally take about five to seven weeks from start to finish.

Application Evidence

A variety of personal and corporate documents will be needed to support the application. Such documents may include: copy of diploma(s), current resume (c.v.), birth and marriage certificates, immigration-approved medical exam, employment contracts, corporate registration certificates, and the like. Visa Executive will advise you of the exact documents required based upon the specifics of your case.

Residence Documents

All foreigners intending to reside in China must obtain Chinese Residence Permits.

Potential Issues

Domestic partners cannot receive dependant status. An absence of a degree, relevant experience, or sufficient compensation can complicate employment visa applications. The Immigration Department may also look at the Employer's ratio of foreign to local workers.


Most employment and respective dependant visas are issued with an initial validity of one year. Annual renewals are typically available as long as the applicant has met the requirements of the visa. At this time, only high level business persons who have been invited by the Chinese government and foreign investors who have invested more than US$3 million in capital are eligible to apply for permanent residency.

Work Application Process

Of course you are welcome to contact us if you have any problems or want to discuss a matter in more details at any time.

Why Visa Executive

At Visa Executive, we provide our clients with:

  • An efficient and transparent service
  • One point of contact for both the client and employee throughout the whole visa process
  • A unique on-line system that enables clients to track the progress of applications
  • A flat structured fee for each visa category
  • Updates on frequently changing immigration laws
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