As Covid-19 spread around the globe, movement across borders became more challenging than ever. Most countries increased their travel restriction to prevent the spread of the disease in the country.
Since China is one of the world’s biggest economies it was inevitable that the country returned to normalcy. However, the Chinese government had to make sure that only important movements were taking place.
Considering these factors, the central government announced several new measures for incoming passengers. Let’s look at the new criteria to work in China after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Visa application requirements
Previously, the Chinese government issued a China work visa (Z Visa) to individuals who had obtained a work permit and wanted to work in China. However, several changes have been made in the required procedures after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. To work in China now, one has to follow some additional steps before even applying for the visa.
Invitation to work in China
To apply for a visa, you first need to acquire an invitation letter. This invitation letter is generally regarded as a “PU letter” by the Chinese government. According to the latest policies, only the applicants who successfully acquire the PU letter from the China Foreign Affairs Office can apply for Chinese Z, M, Q1, or Q2 visas. Let’s have a look at some Chinese visa types for which a PU letter is required.
M visa, aka business visa, is the Chinese visa one has to acquire for conducting commercial and trade activities in the country. The intended duration of stay is generally 30-60 days for each visit. However, they issue M visas for up to 10 years.
This visa is issued to individuals who have acquired employment in China and intend to move into the country for work. Z visa holders need to apply for a residence permit before 30 days from their entry.
Q1 visas are issued to Chinese descendants or spouses. Family of Chinese residents or foreigners who have permanent Chinese residence are eligible for a Q1 visa. The duration of stay is generally more than 180 days. This visa is issued for single entry and holders need to apply for residency within 30 days of their entry to the country.
Q1 visa is issued to Chinese descendants or spouses who intend to enter China for a short visit. It is granted for up to 120 days on each visit. In most cases, Q2 is issued for multiple entries.
Before the M visa was introduced, an F visa was required for commercial purposes. However, it’s now issued only for research, scientific, lecture purposes. F visas are also issued for study tours and cultural exchange participants. To apply for an F visa, you first need the TE invitation letter.
The need for a PU letter
Firstly, you need to submit a police clearance certificate, degree, and other legal documents to your employer so they may issue you the work permit. After acquiring a work permit, a person can submit their work visa application at the Chinese Visa Centre along with additional documents such as a passport and application form.
To prevent the spread of the pandemic in the country, the Chinese government is only allowing individuals to enter China for the below-mentioned reasons.
Higher authority individuals
The administrative or managerial employees of a company who hold an integral position in the organization.
Senior technical specialists
Senior executives and technical experts who are responsible for handling a company’s key operations.
The employees who don’t match the above-mentioned criteria can still acquire a visa if their employer can obtain a PU letter issued for them. The invitation letter, however, can only be issued by the Commission of Commerce and Foreign Affairs Office (FAO).
The application for a PU letter can only be submitted by a registered company for their foreign employees. Any individual or agent can’t apply for the letter on their own. Here’s a rundown on how a company can apply for a PU letter for their employees.
To acquire the PU letter for an individual, their employer company first needs to contact the district foreign affairs and submit the application documents and wait for the approval. The process generally takes 2-6 weeks, however, the review can also take up to 2 months in some cases.
Once the letter has been issued, the company needs to send it to the foreign applicant.
The applicant needs to show the letter to the Chinese Embassy/Consulate in their country to apply for a new visa. Remember that the letter expires after 3 months, therefore, the applicant needs to proceed with their application process as soon as they receive the letter.
After the visa approval, the foreign applicant can purchase a ticket to China and travel to the country.
New PU letter policies in 2021
Acquiring the PU letter is quite challenging and therefore, the government has updated the policies for vaccine-inoculated foreigners from some countries.
Starting from March 15, 2021, visa applicants from countries including Sweden, Thailand, France, the United States, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, Denmark, Korea, Macau, Japan, Ireland, Italy, Hong Kong, Norway, and Germany don’t require a PU letter to enter China if they have been vaccinated with Chinese-produced vaccine.
The Chinese Embassy provides the following facilitations to the residents from the above-mentioned country who have taken at least two doses of inactivated Chinese vaccines with the required gaps in between or a single dose at least 14 days before submitting your application.
Foreign nationals and their families who intend to visit China to resume their work or business can continue with their application according to the policies before the pandemic.
The eligibility standards for visa application on account of emergency humanitarian needs have been significantly improved. The foreign family members of Chinese locals or permanent residents can apply for Q1/Q2 visas.
Holders of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Card (APEC) are eligible to apply for an M visa if they present their invitation letter (by the inviting party in mainland China) and the APEC business travel card.
This is good news for foreigners who aim to travel to China to resume their work or reunite with their families. However, it’s important to note here that in some of these countries (such as France) you can’t get COVID-19 vaccines produced in China. In that case, you can simply get vaccinated from some other country and acquire a vaccination certificate.
Therefore, the applicants from these countries first need to contact the Chinese Visa Application Service Center, to receive confirmation and then proceed with their applications. Once your visa application is approved, you can enter China after this notice.
Here are the latest updated policies of Hong Kong and Macau for inoculated visa applicants;
From March 15, 2021, the permanent and non-permanent residents of Macau are eligible to apply for all types of Chinese visas. However, they’ll have to provide 28-day stay evidence before moving on to the application submission. The individuals who acquire a certificate of vaccination issued by the Macau Health Bureau can also facilitate this regulation.
According to the news update published on August 3, 2021, Hong Kong entry has eased entry for inoculated visitors. Vaccinated visitors from the US, Canada, and other medium-risk countries are allowed to enter Hong Kong city. Besides, Hong Kong residents from previously banned countries such as India and UK can return to their countries. However, the visitors from these countries will have to spend 7 days in quarantine in a hotel after entering the city. They’ll also have to show a positive test report from a government-approved Hong Kong laboratory. According to a recent statement, the government expects to provide antibody testing facilities at the airport from mid-August.
Want to Work in China?
The visa regulations for starting or resuming work in China are constantly changing. The government has been updating the policies continuously to suit the environmental conditions and prevent the spread of the disease in the country. If you want to work in China but your documents have not been legalized by the Chinese government, feel free to contact us
or call us directly at +86-020-2917 9715.
At Business China, we have a team of business experts who can help you learn the intricacies and involved timescales of the application procedure and plan your actions accordingly.
Besides, we also assist our clients in establishing and managing their business in China with a wide range of services including but not limited to China WFOE incorporation
, representative office incorporation
, import-export licenses
, and branch office incorporation. We also provide accounting services such as bookkeeping and financial statements services.