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Visa changes offer more convenience for foreigners

The Regulation of the People’s Republic of China on the Administration of the Entry and Exit of Foreign Nationals came into effect on September 1. Visas for foreign nationals staying in China increased from nine types to 16. Among the new visas, those with the R prefix are for high-level talents and urgently needed professionals.

It is a supporting regulation of the Exit-Entry Administration Law of the People’s Republic of China. The new regulation details the contents of the management of foreign nationals’ entry and exit, including regulations on the issuing of visas to foreign nationals, management on their staying or residing in China and the authorized unit dealing with such foreign national related matters.

Newly added visa types include talent visa, business and trade visa, relative visa and private business visa, which are finer categories of the original “F” visa and “L” visa.

The original tourist visa and visa for visiting relatives were in the same visa category and now a “Q” visa is added for foreigners’ visiting relatives in China.

The new regulation states that foreign nationals can apply to extend their stay, while the previous law required that they had to revoke the original visa before receiving a new one.

When the visa is extended, the original visa’s numbers of entering China is unchanged. The applicant can still use the original visa to enter Chinese territory.

The new regulation also offers convenience for foreign nationals to change visa types. The regulation states that after foreigners enter China, they can apply to change their visa type with reasons stated in the regulation. The foreign national can file an application to an authorized entry and exit management agency higher than county level to apply for a new type of visa or change a short stay into residence.

The regulation for the first time has added a section covering another person applying for a visa on behalf of a foreigner.

Under the following three situations an organization or a person can apply for a visa for someone else.

1. If the foreign national is under 16, or 60 and above, or has difficulties in walking;

2. If the person has previously entered China and with a good record of stay in China;

3. If the inviting organization or individual offers a guarantee to cover the cost of a foreign national’s stay in China.

In addition, the inviting organization or individual can also apply for the visas on behalf of those foreign high-level talents and urgently needed professionals.

(Translated by Shen Li)

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