Chinese Immigration Law – Get Legal Help from Our Local Lawyers

Immigration Law in China

Updated on Tuesday 19th October 2021

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China has become in the last decades a world of variety, where the values of the West have entered in what they used to be an enclosed, homogeneous society. However, after 1978, when state policies reoriented to international communication and trade, China has become one of the world’s leading economic powers. As such, it started to attract more foreigners interested in moving here. If you want to live in China, our immigration lawyers in China can offer you all relevant information regarding relocation laws and regulations.

Immigration Law – a short history 

Before 2012, immigrants had benefited from easy access in China under the 1985 Law of Administration of Entrance and Exit of Foreigners. However, after the law’s enactment, the number of immigrants increased rapidly and, by the end of 2010, approximately 594,000 immigrants moved to China. Most immigrants came from the Republic of Korea, the United States of America, Japan, Burma and Vietnam. 

2012 – new Immigration Law in China 

The Chinese authorities considered that the previous immigration law did not impose high standards so, in June 2012, at the National People’s Committee, a new law had passed: Exit and Entry Administration Law – in which it was stated, for the first time, that immigrants in China must have a certain level of education and occupational backgroundOur Chinese immigration attorneys can offer you more details on the eligibility process.

"The Three Illegals Actions" of China (San Fei) 

Upon the enactment of the 2012 Law, the purpose of the Chinese government was to restrict the access in the country to certain people and to combat the “Three Illegals”, namely:
  • Illegal entry in China;
  • Illegal residence in China;
  • Illegal work in China.
Illegal access means that a citizen living in China, having an expired visa, must pay RMB (Chinese yuan) 10,000; if not, the law states that the person should be imprisoned for three to 60 days. Unauthorized migrants are ineligible foreigners who provide false documents and can be fined RMB 5,000.
The household registration system (hukou) requires that within 24 hours upon their arrival, all immigrants are obliged to present at the local police station and register their new address; if otherwise, a penalty of RMB 2,000 will be applied. Our law firm in China can present to you the legal framework under which Chinese immigration law functions. 
If you are interested in moving to China, our immigration lawyers in China can help you throughout the process; don't hesitate to get in touch with our lawyers for legal representation on Chinese immigration law. 

Immigration visas in China

Foreign citizens must obtain a visa before relocating to China. There is also a visa-free exception in China based on relevant agreements and regulations. Chinese visas are divided into four basic types:
  • Courtesy visa: such visas in China are given to individuals who hold a diplomatic passport and privately travel to China for visiting relatives, tourism or transit. So, these individuals, due to their special status, enjoy the opportunity of courtesy visas;
  • Diplomatic visa: diplomatic visas are issued to the government officials and diplomats along with their accompanying spouses and minor children who hold a diplomatic passport, traveling to China for transit or official visit;
  • Ordinary visa: this type of visa is further sub-divided into various categories. An ordinary passport holder can visit China for work, news coverage, official visits, work, or permanent residency;
  • Service visa: this visa is issued to the consular officers and government officials along with their accompanying spouses and minor children who hold service passports, traveling to China for transit or official visit.
If you are interested in obtaining any of the above visas, you can rely on the services of our immigration lawyers in China. You can submit an application and documents under the supervision of our experienced lawyers. In addition, they can also provide you with a detailed guide on Chinese immigration law.

Who can immigrate to China?

Anyone can visit China for a short period, but if you want to relocate to China permanently, you must fulfill the following requirements as per the Chinese immigration law:
  • You must have maintained a direct investment for three consecutive years in certain sectors of the Chinese economy;
  • You must have made an excellent contribution to China;
  • You must have been spending a minimum of nine months of a year in China;
  • You should be over 60 years of age and have relatives in China;
  • You should have a full-time job in China as an assistant researcher, factory director, associate professor, or assistant general manager;
  • You should have been married to a Chinese citizen;
  • You can also immigrate to China for good if you are an unmarried child below 18 years who has Chinese parents.
If you want to immigrate to China for good and still have questions regarding the requirements, you are welcome to contact our immigration attorneys in China. They will provide you with comprehensive legal assistance regarding the regulations of the Chinese immigration law.

Who does not need a visa to immigrate to China?

Japan, Brunei, and Singapore citizens, who hold ordinary passports, do not need a visa to enter mainland China. But the purpose of the visit must be tourism, business, or meeting with relatives or friends for no more than 15 days. But these citizens must obtain a visa under the following circumstances:
  • If the purpose of visiting China is study, work, news coverage, official visits etc;
  • If a Japanese citizen travel to China with an official or diplomatic passport;
  • If an ordinary passport holder visits China for more than 15 days.
You can get further details about Chinese immigration law from our skilled lawyers. They will guide you regarding the necessity of a visa for traveling to China. You can also rely on the legal assistance of our lawyers if you want to initiate an imports and exports business in China.

Immigration statistics in China

China is a giant emerging economy that attracts people from all over the world. After the state policies reoriented to international trade and communication, China has never seen a fall in immigrants. Please find below the increase in the number of immigrants in China from 1995 to 2015:
  • In 2000, China welcomed 508,034 individuals, meaning a 14.89% increase from 1995;
  • China accommodated 678,947 individuals in 2005, which is about a 33.64% increase  compared to 2000;
  • In 2010, the number of immigrants in China was 849,861, a 25.17% rise from 2005;
  • There were 978,046 immigrants in China in 2015, a 15.08% rise from 2010.
Contact our lawyers if you are interested to know about Chinese immigration law. They can help you to relocate to China.
After relocation, if you want to start a business in China, you can get the legal assistance of our lawyers. They can help you get business licenses and permits etc.