How to Apply for a work visa for foreigners in Shanghai

If you have a job now and your company is qualified to apply for the work visa, this can be done by your company.

General required documents include the employment permit, accommodation proof, photo, etc. You can also apply for the work visa through the local foreign affairs section, Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs or service agency:

I. Licensing matter: Work permit for foreign experts coming to China

II. Implementing organ: State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs
Provincial Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs

III. Application conditions:

Foreign experts who are employed to work in China, shall obtain the “Work Permit for Foreign Experts Coming to China”.Foreign experts who apply for ‘Work Permit for Foreign Experts Coming to China’ shall abide by Chinese laws and regulations, be in good health, maintain a clean criminal record, and meet one of the following conditions:

  • (I) Foreign professionals or managerial personnel who are employed to work in China for implementing the agreements between governments or international organizations and foreign and foreign economic and trade contracts;
  • (II) Foreign professionals who are employed to be engaged in education, scientific research, journalism, publishing, culture, arts, health, sports, etc. in China;
  • (III) Foreign senior professionals or managerial personnel who are employed to act as a deputy general manager or above in an enterprise in China, or enjoy the equivalent treatment;
  • (IV) Foreign representatives of the resident office of an overseas expert organization or a talent agency approved by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs;
  • (V) Urgently-needed foreign professionals or managerial personnel with special expertise who are employed in the fields of economy, technology, engineering, trade, finance, accounting, taxation, tourism, etc. in China.

Foreign experts in Clauses (2) and (3) of this article shall have a degree above the bachelor’s degree and more than 5 years of relevant work experiences (in which language teachers shall have a degree above the bachelor’s degree and more than 2 years of relevant work experiences).

IV. Application materials:

  • (I) Application Form of Work Permit for Foreign Experts Coming to China;
  • (II) Personal resume (including the educational background and work experiences);
  • (III) Copy of the highest academic certificate or professional qualification certificate;
  • (IV) Health certificate issued by the foreign health and medical institution certified by the Chinese embassy or consulate abroad or by the health quarantine department designated by the Chinese government;
  • (V) Employment agreement or contract:
  • Foreign experts mentioned in Article 3 (1) shall submit copies of relevant project agreements and project approvals;
  • Foreign experts mentioned in Article 3(2) shall submit a copy of the qualification certificate of the employer or the number of such certificate and the standard employment contract entered with the employer which is prepared by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs;
  • Foreign experts mentioned in Article 3 (3) shall submit a copy of the appointment letter or employment contract of the enterprise;
  • Foreign experts mentioned in Article 3 (4) shall submit copies of the approval document of a resident office in China and the appointment letter of the foreign representative or other legally valid dispatch document;
  • Foreign experts mentioned in Article 3(5) foreign shall submit a copy of the employment agreement or contract.

V. Handling procedures and period:

(I) Application

  • If the ministries and departments directly under the State Council, public institutions and professional parent companies need to employ foreign experts, they shall submit applications to the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs; if other organizations need to employ foreign experts, they shall submit applications to the Provincial Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs based on the principle of Administrative management.

(II) Acceptance

  • 1. The application will be accepted if the application materials are complete and in compliance with the legal form, or the applicant submits all the application materials in accordance with the requirements of the implementing organ.
  • 2. The implementing organ allows the applicant to correct mistakes in its application materials on the spot.Where the application materials are incomplete or do not conform to the legal form, the implementing organ shall issue a Notice on Material Supplement in the form of administrative license stamped with the special seal of the administrative organ and date on the spot or within five days, and inform the applicant to supplement and correct all the contents in one time. If the notice is not given within the specified period, the application shall be deemed as being accepted from the date of receipt of the application materials.If the application materials are incomplete or do not conform to the legal form and the correction is not done after being informed, the application will be rejected.
  • 3. For applications that are accepted or rejected, the implementing organ will issue a Notice of Acceptance of Rejection in the form of administrative license stamped with its administration special seal and dated.For an application that is rejected, the implementing organ shall indicate the reasons in the Notice of Rejection.

(III) Approval

The implementing organ shall examine the accepted application materials in accordance with relevant regulations and make a decision within 20 days.The time can be extended for ten days in special cases, which shall be approved by the person in charge of this administrative organ, and a Notice of Extension in the form of administrative license stamped with the special seal of the administrative organ and dated shall be issued to notify the applicant of the reasons for the extension.

If one of the following circumstances occurs, the implementing organ will refuse to grant an administrative license:

  • 1. The application materials are not true;
  • 2. The applicant does not meet the conditions of foreign experts;
  • 3. Other circumstances deemed by the implementing organ as inappropriate to issue the Work Permit for Foreign Experts Coming to China.

When the implementing organ makes a decision on granting or not granting an administrative license to the application, it shall issue a Notice of Administrative Decision in the form of administrative license stamped with the special seal of the administrative organ and dated. For the decision not to grant an administrative license, the implementing agency shall specify the reasons in the Notice of Administrative Decision. For the decision to grant an administrative license, the implementing organ shall, within 10 days from the date of the decision, issue and deliver the Work Permit for Foreign Experts Coming to China uniformly prepared by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.

When issuing a Work Permit for Foreign Experts Coming to China, the implementing organ shall affix the seal of the administrative organ and authorize a person to sign at the corresponding column.

VI. Other matters:

(I) Application for vocational (Z) visa.Foreign experts intending to work in China must apply for a vocational (Z) visa to the Chinese embassy or consulate abroad with the original work permit, a visa notification letter (electronic) of a Chinese authorized organization, and a valid passport.After the Chinese embassy or consulate abroad issues the vocational (Z) visa for foreign experts, it will retain the original work permit.

(II) Application of the Foreign Expert Certificate and the residence permit.Foreign experts who are working in China with a vocational (Z) visa must apply for the Foreign Expert Certificate to the work permit issuing department within 15 days after entering China, and must go to the local administrative department for exit and entry of public security to apply for a residence permit for foreigners with the vocational (Z) visa and the Foreign Expert Certificate within 30 days after entering China.

This regulation shall be interpreted by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.

Handling of Work Visa Formalities for Foreigners and Required Materials
The procedures for handling a work visa ad materials are described as follows:

Step 1: Application for employment permit (11 working days)

  • 1. Copy of the duplicate of business license for the legal person, certificate of approval (foreign-owned enterprise), social insurance registration certificate (domestic enterprise), registration form of record for foreign-invested enterprises (in the case of a branch company, it is also necessary to provide copies of the duplicate of the business license and the approval certificate of the parent company).
  • 2. Written report on applying for employment of foreigners (describe in detail the reasons for employment and job title, and affix the employer’s seal).
  • 3. Intention of the enterprise for employment of foreigners (for posts above the deputy general manager, it is necessary to provide the board resolution signed by two thirds of the board members and affixed with the seal of the company as well as a copy of the articles of association).
  • 4. Chinese resume of the foreigner.
  • 5. Original and translation of the foreigner’s Chinese and English academic certificates or professional qualification certificate (original four-year bachelor diploma and above).
  • 6. Copy of the first page of the valid passport of the foreigner.
  • 7. Certificate of more than two years of work experiences with the seal of the former employers (In the case such such certificate is in a foreign language, it shall be translated into Chinese and then stamped with the official seal of the translation company).
  • 8. Copy of the health certificate of the foreigner (issued by a physical examination organization designated by the overseas Chinese embassy).
  • 9. An employment application form for foreigners (stamped with the seal of the handling organization).
  • 10. A two-inch photo.
  • 11. Letter of authorization.

The Employment Permit for Foreigners is valid for 6 months from the date of issuance.

Step 2: If a person is abroad, he /she shall apply for a job invitation letter; if the person is in China, he /she can make a domestic change directly. Application for a Job Invitation Letter (5 Working Days)

  • 1. Copy of the company’s business license with seal
  • 2. Report form of application for visiting foreign businessman
  • 3. Copy of the first page of the passport of the applicant
  • 4. Copy of the employment permit (The foreigner shall provide the time to come to China, place of application and place of entry)
  • 5. If one’s family member also applies for the work visa, it is necessary to provide a copy of the first page of such member’s passport and the kinship certificate (which shall be a proof of marriage in case they are couples or a birth certificate for in case such member is a child under 18 years old).

The job invitation letter is for an overseas Z visa. Domestic Visa Change (L/F-Z) (5 Working Days)

  • 1. Original passport
  • 2. Copy of the accommodation proof
  • 3. 2 two-inch color photos in blue or white background
  • 4. An original of the physical examination certificate
  • 5. Clear copy of the employment permit, including both sides
  • 6. Copy of the duplicate of the business license with seal, copy of the approval certificate for foreign-owned enterprises, copy of the social insurance registration certificate for domestic enterprises with seal
  • 7. Application forms for the visa and residence permit with seal
  • 8. Official application letter for domestic visa change with official seal

What can be obtained through the domestic change is a two-month residence permit. If the family member still has more than 15 days, it is okay to skip this step and do the fourth step directly.

Step 3: Application for Employment Permit (5 Working Days)

  • 1. Employment Permit for Foreigners (original)
  • 2. An original of physical examination certificate (the heath certificate issued or confirmed by Shanghai Health Inspection and Quarantine Bureau shall be presented)
  • 3. Copy of the duplicate of the business certificate for the legal person
  • 4. A copy of the Labor Contract (which shall be translated into Chinese if it is in a foreign language) with the foreigner with official seal.
  • 5. Valid original passport and copies of the visa and the passport
  • 6. A registration form for employment of foreigners (with the seal of the handling organization)
  • 7. 2 recent two-inch photos
  • 8. Accommodation proof
    9. Letter of Authorization for Employment Permit

Step 4: Application for One-year Residence Permit (5 Working Days). Application for Residence Permit for the First Time

  • 1. Copy of the business certificate, the approval certificate for foreign-owned enterprises and the social insurance certificate for domestic enterprises
  • 2. Original passport, accommodation proof, 2 photos in white background
  • 3. Visa application form with seal
  • 4. Originals of the physical examination certificates for the employee and his /her couple (one for each)
  • 5. Kinship certificate (certificate of marriage, birth certificate) provided for family members

If the physical examination is made by the designated overseas medical institution, the confirmation shall be carried out in Shanghai.

Extension of Residence Permit (5 Working Days)

  • 1. Copy of the duplicate of the business certificate for a legal person
  • 2. Valid passport and accommodation proof of foreigners
  • 3. Copy of the employment certificate or expert certificate for foreigners
  • 4. Application forms of the visa and residence permit of foreigners (with the seal of the employer)
  • 5. A recent two-inch certificate photo

Application of Foreigners for Chinese Work Visa

Work Procedures

  • 1. Acceptance at the entry and exit reception window of the municipal public security bureau;
  • 2. Review by the handler;
  • 3. Approval by the leader;
  • 4. Preparation and issuance of certificates.

Declaration of Materials

  • 1. Hold a valid passport or other international travel document and complete the Visa Application Form.
  • 2. Copy of the temporary accommodation registration.
  • 3. Copy of the first page of the passport;
  • 4. Submit a recent two-inch front bareheaded photo and provide relevant certificates.
  • (1) Relevant certificates of application for return visa
    – The valid residence permit for foreigners shall be provided for application for the “D” return visa;
    – The valid residence permit for foreigners or temporary residence permit and the official company letter shall be provided for application for the “Z” return visa;
    – The valid residence permit for foreigners or temporary residence permit and the certificate from school shall be provided for application for the “X” return visa;
    – The valid residence permit for foreigners or temporary residence permit and the press card shall be provided for application for the “J-1″ return visa.
  • (2) Relevant certificates of application for extension of L visa:
    – Travellers coming to China shall provide the official letter of the reception organization to apply for extension of the”L” visa or the visa for travelling in the special zone. In the case of lack of the reception organization, the economic certificate (cash, traveller’s check, drafts and documents; calculation as per $100 /day ) shall be provided to ensure the living expenses in China.
    – Family visitors (means to visit the parents, children and siblings) coming to China shall provide copies of the relatives’ residence booklet and the resident identification card to apply for extension of the “L” visa.The foreign spouse of a Chinese citizen shall provided copies of the marriage certificate and the residence booklet and resident identification card to apply for extension of the “L” visa.
    – Over 60-year-old Chinese of foreign nationality who purchased house property in China shall provide the property ownership certificate and the evidence of financial sources (drafts, passbooks, etc.) to apply for extension of the “L” visa.
  • (3) Materials to be submitted for application for visa addition:
    – The official letter of the reception (work) organization or evidentiary materials related to the application causes shall be provided for application for addition of the entry number and increase or decrease of the accompanying number.
    – Foreigners holding the tourist visa of a special zone who need to enter the mainland for urgent matters (project rush-repair, claim, contract signing, visit to patients in a critical condition and hurry back for a funeral) shall provide the official letter of the reception (work) organization or evidentiary materials related to the application causes.
    – In the case members of the foreign tourist group apply for separation of the group visa due to irresistible reason, they shall provide the official letter of the reception organization and relevant evidences of causes for separation of the group.
    – Foreigners who renew a new passport or certificate at embassy or consulate of his /her country in China due to passport loss or damage shall provide the “passport loss reporting certificate” issued by the public security organ or note of such embassy or consulate in China to apply for visas.
    – The copy of the group visa and the official letter of the reception organization shall be provided for application for reissuance due to the loss of the group visa.
    (4) Materials to be submitted by foreigners for application for a residence permit:
    – Submit the passport, visa and certificates related to residence causes for examination:

Foreigners coming to Zhoushan for settlement must hold the confirmation form of the settlement status;

Foreigners coming to Zhoushan for boarding and education must submit the letter of authorization and notarization for boarding and education; in the case one or both parent(s) is /are foreign citizen(s), the copy(ies) of the foreign passport(s) of such one or both parent(s) shall be submitted; in the case one or both parent(s) is /are Chinese citizen(s), the copies of their Chinese passport((s) and foreign residence permit(s) of such one or both parent(s) shall be submitted;

Foreigners coming to Zhoushan for working must submit the copies of the business certificate for the enterprise or organization or the registration certificate of the overseas resident institution, the approval letter of the Commission of Commerce or related authority, the application report issued by the enterprise or organization, the employment certificate for foreigners or the foreign expert certificate;

Relatives of the foreigners working in Zhoushan must submit the copy of the residence permit of such foreigners and the application report issued by the enterprise or organization (The relationship evidence must be also provided if they are couples).

Foreigners coming to Zhoushan for study must submit the study visa for coming to China or the certificate from an education commission;

Resident foreign reporters must submit the copy of the registration certificate of the Information Department for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

  • – Fill in the residence application form;
  • – Persons who apply for the residence permit for foreigners shall also submit the health certificate and the recent 2-inch half-length from bareheaded photo.
  • – Foreigners who apply for extension of the residence permit shall provide the certificate of further employment or study;
  • – The official letter of the reception organization shall be provided to apply for extension of the “F” visa (including the group visa).
  • – Foreigners who apply for transit visa shall provide the official letter of the ocean shipping agency or seamen’s club or ship purchasing organization;

Commitment Period, 5 working days.

Approval Basis

Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Administration of the Entry and Exit of Foreigners and the implementing rules.

Apply For a Work Visa | SMEsChina.com

General required documents include the employment permit, accommodation proof, photo, etc. You can also apply for the work visa through the local foreign affairs section, Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.

Service Type: work visa register service

Price: 400-3,000

Currency: USD

Ready to Start and Launch a Business in China? So Are We.

SMEsChina teams focus on the growth of enterprise and providing a variety of business solutions in the area of strategy consultancy, WFOE setting up services, business registration, company formation, incorporation of domestic invested enterprise, finance and audit services, HR and payroll, corporate bank account, resident permit, immigration and visa, trademarks and legal compliance.

China is attracting more and more foreign companies, SMEs,entrepreneurs, startups, brands to invest and establish their business entities through reforming various laws and regulations actively. More than 47 million companies and small medium enterprises have registered their business entities in mainland China and over 3.5 million new enterprises are incorporated during each financial year with comfortable process of registering companies. Here SMEsChina is sharing our knowledge and business insights to global enterprises and companies for better learning the regulations and rules of China corporations running and corporate maintaining. All reference and guidance collected by SMEsChina Teams in accordance with the latest implemented laws of the People’s Republic of China on Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprises ( WFOE ), Joint Venture ( JV ) and Limited Liability Company ( LLC ), Limited Liability Partnership ( LLP ), and other relevant and officially promulgated regulations and rules on the corporation formation and registration of industrial and commercial enterprises and related IP laws, immigration and resident policies ( VISA ), tax laws.

SMEsChina teams happy to work around you and look after your daily China operations confidently and smoothly. Check if setting up a private company is right for you, if you have everything to set up a business in Mainland China, you can get in touch with our teams to get more useful information and online guidance.

Recent Insights and Publications

The Most Popular Tags of Corporate Type

Other Topics and Categories