AmCham Asks Chinese Government to Streamline Issuance of China Police Certificates to Foreigners

AmCham China’s recently published 2017 White Paper on American Business in China recommends that China streamline the process for issuance of police certificates to foreigners. As background, foreigners who have resided in China for work or other purposes may subsequently be required to provide a Chinese certificate of no criminal conviction (CNCC) for purposes such as background checks for employment or immigration to countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.While in some cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, the process to apply for a CNCC is fairly straightforward, in many cities, there is no publicly available procedure for how to apply for a CNCC, and the process can be onerous.

For example:

  • Chengdu requires that the applicant return to China in person to apply–an agent with a power of attorney cannot be used.
  • Xi’an refuses to issue CNCCs to an applicant who has had even a minor immigration violation, such as filing an application to extend their visa even one day late (even if the application is approved).
  • In Guangzhou, there is an implicit requirement that the applicant return to China in person because the original passport must be presented and countries such as India make it illegal for passport holders to mail their passport outside of their country of residence.
  • In other cities, if the foreigner has not kept the cards evidencing temporary residence registration with the local police station, it is not possible to obtain a CNCC. In many cities, local authorities are unaware of any policies regarding CNCCs.

The last national-level guidance on CNCCs for foreigners appears to be a 1990 notice by the Ministry of Justice, which called on notaries to issue a CNCC based on inquiring with the foreigner’s employer or school whether the foreigner has been convicted of any crime. [1] Notary offices generally consider this guidance to be obsolete and do not follow it, instead inquiring with the public security bureau or the courts as to whether the foreigner has any conviction.[2]

AmCham China recommends the publication of a ministry-level, nationwide rule to streamline the application process for CNCCs. A photocopy of the foreign national’s passport with a Chinese residence permit should constitute sufficient evidence that the foreign national resided in the city where the residence permit was issued. Foreigners should not be required to return to China to apply for a CNCC or to present their old temporary residence registration cards issued by the local police station.

Notes:

[1] 司法部公证司关于办理外国公民在华居住期间是否受过刑事制裁证明的通知全文, http://law.lawtime.cn/d529209534303.html.

[2] 成都公证处,向海平,关于外国人办理是否受过刑事制裁公证的思考,http://www.cdgzc.com/show_129_588_1.html.

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