Last updated on Jan 31, 2013
Requirements for foreign nationals to apply for permanent residence permit
The applicant must meet one of the following requirements:
1. The spouse is a Chinese citizen or a foreigner with a permanent residence permit in China. They have been married for at least five years. The applicant has lived in China for five consecutive years and shall live in China no less than nine months every year with financial guarantee for living and a residence;
2. Unmarried child under 18 years old who came to China to live with parents;
3. A foreign national who comes to live with a direct relative in China and has no other direct relatives overseas. The applicant must be over 60 years old, has lived in China for five consecutive years, and shall live in China no less than nine months every year with financial guarantee for living and a residence;
4. A foreign national who has made outstanding contribution to China or is a specialist needed by the country.
The applicant who meets any of the first three requirements must submit the following materials:
1. A valid foreign passport or other certificates that can substitute for the passport;
2. A health certificate issued by a health examination agency authorized by the Chinese government or a foreign health organization authorized by the Chinese embassy or consulate in the concerned country;
3. A certificate of no criminal conviction accepted by the Chinese embassy or consulate in the concerned country;
4. Four copies of a 2-inch, full-color portrait photo taken recently without a headwear;
5. An underage applicant must provide the household registration certificate of his/her Chinese parents or the permanent residence permit of his/her parents, the birth certificate or any certificate to prove parent-child relationship such as the adoption certificate. Certificates issued by a foreign agency are subject to authentication by the Chinese embassy or consulate in the concerned country;
6. Applicant who is over 60 and wants to live with a direct relative in China must provide the household registration certificate or permanent residence permit of this relative, a notarized proof of their relationship and a notarized statement that the applicant has no other direct relatives overseas, a notarized statement of the applicant’s income or his/her relative’s financial guarantee, property or house rent paid by the applicant or his/her direct relative. Certificates issued by a foreign agency are subject to authentication by the Chinese embassy or consulate in the concerned country;
7. Applicant whose spouse is a Chinese citizen or a foreigner with a permanent resident permit in China must provide the household registration certificate or permanent residence permit of his/her spouse, their marriage certificate, a notarized property ownership certificate or a notarized proof of rent payment. Certificates issued by a foreign agency are subject to authentication by the Chinese embassy or consulate in the concerned country.
The applicant who meets the fourth requirement must submit the following materials:
1. A recommendation letter and relevant certificates issued by a Chinese government department;
2. A valid foreign passport or other certificate that can substitute for the passport;
3. Four copies of a 2-inch, full-color portrait photo taken recently without a headwear.
China introduced a “Green Card” system in August 2004 to attract more high-end foreign professionals to work in China and to satisfy the need of some foreigners for a permanent residence permit in China.
Statistics show that by the end of 2011, more than 4,700 foreigners had obtained the Chinese “Green Card.” Those who own a Chinese “Green Card” can have unlimited stay in the country and can enter or exit China with just a passport and a “Green Card” without the need to apply for a visa.
China introduced a new law on entry and exit control in June 2012 and the new law will come into effect on July 1 this year. The law spells out procedures for foreigners’ application for a permanent residence permit and authorizes the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to set detailed administrative measures. It will remove legal obstacles for lowering the threshold for “Green Card” application.
Benefits for Foreigners Holding A Permanent Residence Permit
The permanent residence permit for aliens (PRPA) is an identification card for a foreigner to live legally in China. It can be used alone. Foreigners with a permanent residence permit enjoy following rights:
1. The foreigner is treated the same as a Chinese citizen, except for political rights and special rights and obligations stipulated by the law and regulations.
2. The foreigner has unlimited stay in China and can use a valid passport and PRPA to enter and leave China without a visa. His/her spouse and immediate family members can also apply for visa, temporary residence permit or PRPA according to regulations.
3. When entering or leaving China, the foreigner should carry or ship personal articles according to the Chinese Customs regulations for PRPA holders.
4. The foreigner doesn’t need the Employment Permit for Foreigners to work legally in China. If qualified, the foreigner is given priority in the application for the Foreign Expert Certificate or the Overseas Chinese Expert Certificate.
5. The foreigner can establish a company in China using funds of both foreign and Chinese currencies.
6. Government departments in charge of development and reform, commerce, industry, and foreign exchanges will simplify approval procedures if the foreigner wants to establish an investment project or a company in China.
7. The foreigner can take a vocational test or appraisal as required to apply for a professional title.
8. His/her child enjoys the same treatment as other Chinese children in compulsory education and will not be charged extra money for entering a school that is closest to home, except those specified by the government.
9. The PRPA can be used as a valid ID card to apply for social insurance. If the foreigner is employed in China, he/she must pay social insurance according to China’s Social Insurance Law. If the foreigner lives in China but is not employed, he/she can participate in the basic health insurance and old-age insurance for urban residents and enjoy benefits accordingly.
10. According to the Regulations on Management of Housing Provident Fund, the foreigner can pay and use the housing provident fund of his/her employer. When leaving the job, the foreigner can withdraw or transfer his/her share of the fund according to the regulations.
11. The foreigner can purchase a self-use residence according to relevant regulations and is not governed by the rules that a foreigner must live in China for at least one year to qualify as a homebuyer in China.
12. The foreigner must fulfill the obligations of a taxpayer according to China’s taxation law and relevant regulations.
13. When conducting bank, insurance, securities and futures transactions, the foreigner can use PRPA as an ID card to enjoy the same rights and obligations as Chinese citizens.
14. The foreigner can exchange his/her renminbi earnings into foreign currency and transfer the money abroad after showing his/her tax payment receipt from the tax bureau. PRPA can be used as an ID card when the foreigner conducts transactions in foreign currency.
15. The foreigner enjoys the same treatment and same fees as Chinese citizens when doing shopping, buying tickets to parks, museums, theaters, stadiums and tourism venues.
16. The foreigner can use PRPA to board a domestic flight, buy train tickets, or check in a hotel in China.
17. The foreigner enjoys the same treatment as a Chinese citizen when applying for a PRC driving license or a vehicle license plate. When applying for a driving license, the foreigner must provide his/her PRPA and health certificate after passing a road test.
18. The public security bureau will facilitate the procedures if the foreigner wants to obtain or regain his/her Chinese citizenship according to relevant regulations.
Entry and Exit Management branch of Suzhou Public Security Bureau
Address: 1109 Renmin Road, Suzhou
Contact number: 0512-68661471, 0512-68661472, 0512-68661473
Administrative service center in downtown Suzhou
Address: 389 Sanxiang Road, Suzhou.
Opening hours: 9am-12am, 1pm-5pm, Monday- Saturday (Closed in holidays). Contact number: 0512-33312345