Applying for a PRC Exit and Entry Permit for a Child with Dual Nationality

Exit and Entry Permit 出入境通行证This article explains how parents can apply for an exit and entry permit (出入境通行证 churujing tongxingzheng) on behalf of a child who automatically acquires Chinese citizenship at birth. Our law firm can assist with the application and advise about other available options.

Background

Certain children may automatically acquire Chinese citizenship at birth (in China or abroad) if one or both parents are Chinese. See Who Automatically Acquires Chinese Citizenship at Birth?

At the same time, the child may automatically acquire foreign citizenship at birth under foreign laws. For example, a child born in the U.S. is normally a citizen. And a child born outside the U.S. to one citizen parent and one noncitizen parent automatically acquires citizenship at birth if the parents are married and the citizen parent was previously physically present in the U.S. for periods totaling not less than 5 years, at least 2 of which were after age 14. INA § 301(g). See Guide to Aquisition of U.S. Citizenship by Birth Abroad.

However, under China’s Nationality Law, article 4, the PRC government doesn’t recognize the dual nationality of Chinese citizens.

Where the child is a PRC citizen but holds a foreign passport, the Chinese government may not be willing to issue a PRC passport to the child or place a Chinese visa in the child’s foreign passport on the ground that such benefits would amount to a nationality conflict (国籍冲突). In other words, granting such benefits would be tantamount to recognizing dual nationality.

Exit and Entry Permit

The public security bureau (PSB) exit and entry administration may, however, be willing to issue the child an Exit and Entry Permit, which is valid for one departure and one readmission to China within 3 months of issuance. PSB processing time is typically about 5 work days. The application fee is 20 RMB.

I’ve heard parents inaccurately refer to the Exit and Entry Permit as an “exit visa” for their baby. But remember that this is not a visa granted to a foreign national. Instead, it’s a travel document (not unlike a passport) granted to a PRC citizen whom the Chinese government has deemed unqualified for a passport.  The inside cover states, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China requests all civil and military authorities of foreign countries to allow the bearer of this permit to pass freely and afford assistance in case of need.” Still, as a practical matter, the only authorities who will need to review this document are the Ministry of Public Security’s border control troops at the airport, sea port, or land border when the child seeks to exit and reenter China.

Here’s what the Ministry of Public Security’s Working Rules for Managing Issuance of Exit and Entry Permits, art. 16, says:

If it is inappropriate to issue a regular passport due to the applicant’s nationality conflict, the exit-entry administration of the public security bureau set up in the district of domicile may examine, approve, manufacture, and issue an Exit and Entry Permit valid for 1 exit and entry during 3 months. The exit-entry administration of the public security bureau in the district of domicile should require the applicant too submit a foreign passport, 1 recent photograph with no hat, and a completed application form. Also, the individual’s identity should be checked in the public security bureau’s “nationwide legal database of persons not permitted to leave China” and “nationwide state personnel database.” Execution of procedures for examining, approving, issuing, manufacturing, and not issuing Exit and Entry Permits, etc., should be done in consultation with and consistent with the pertinent regulations of the exit-entry administration for the frontier area of the public security bureau.

申请人因国籍冲突,不便持用普通护照的,由其居住地设区市公安机关出入境管理机构受理、审批签发并制作三个月一次出入境有效的出入境通行证。居住地设区市公安机关出入境管理机构应当要求申请人提交外国护照、近期免冠照片一张以及填写完整的申请表,并通过公安部“全国法定不批准出境人员通报备案数据库”和“全国国家工作人员登记备案数据库”对其进行身份核查。有关审批签发、制作、不予签发出入境通行证等的程序、要求参照边境地区公安机关出入境管理机构签发出入境通行证的有关规定执行。

Note that because of the so-called nationality conflict, the exit-entry administration may require, as a condition of issuance of the Exit and Entry Permit, that the child’s household registration be cancelled by the police station (派出所 paichusuo) where registered. This does not amount to renunciation of PRC citizenship. The child remains a PRC citizen but no longer will have access to benefits that depend on a hukou (e.g., treatment as a local for purposes of attending public schools and medical insurance).

Also note that since the above Working Rules require the application to be filed with the child’s place of domicile (居住地), the PSB may require evidence of that domicile, such as the PRC citizen parent’s local hukou or residence permit (居住证).

The PSB exit and entry administration’s procedures for issuance of an Exit and Entry Permit differ slightly depending on the locality:

本须知仅供申请人参考,不可复印

This notice is only supplied for applicants’ reference and must not be photocopied.

具体所需材料视申请人实际情况而定

The documents needed will depend on the applicant’s actual situation.

出入通行证办理指南

Guide to Applying for an Exit and Entry Permit

1. 填写出入境通行证申请表一份(咨询台领取)

1. Fill in one copy of the Exit and Entry Permit Application Form (available at the information counter)

2. 二寸近期彩色照片两张(一楼照相馆照、带条码)

2. Two recent 2-inch color photographs with bar code (taken at the first floor photography studio)

3. 提交最近一次出入境通行证或旅行证复印件(首次申请无需提供)

3. Copy of most recent Exit and Entry Permit or Travel Permit (not required for first-time applicants)

4. 儿童外籍护照资料页原件及复印件

4. Child’s foreign passport ID page (original and copy)
5. 出生证明原件及复印件,如为外文需由翻择社翻译成中文 5. Birth certificate (original and copy) (including a Chinese translation by a translation agency, if in a foreign language)

6. 外方家长有效护照原件及复印件(复印资料页、签证页)

6. Foreign parent’s valid passport (original and copy of the ID page and visa page)

7. 中方家长身份证、户口本原件及复印件(限沈阳户口)

7. Chinese parent’s national ID card and household registration booklet (original and copy) (Shenyang household registration booklet only)

8. 每次需儿童本人到场采集现场照片,监护人如不能到场需提供代办人身份证及委托书

8. Each time the child must come in person to be photographed on the spot. The guardian must either come in person or be represented by an agent with a national ID and power of attorney
9. 公安机关认为有必要的其他材料 9. Other documents the public security agency believes are necessary

Also note that if the child reenters China with the permit (i.e., without using a foreign passport), the PRC government may be able to prevent the foreign government from providing consular assistance.

Other Options to Consider

Depart and Reenter China with a PRC Passport: If the child is a PRC citizen, you should be able to obtain a PRC household registration booklet (户口 hukou) and PRC passport, prior to obtaining a foreign passport. To exit China, a PRC citizen is required to show the PRC passport (or other PRC travel document). See Exit-Entry Administration Law (EEAL), art. 11. The PRC passport would need to have a visa valid for the destination country unless no visa is required. EEAL, art. 9.

The problem that arises is, what destination country or region’s visa will the child show upon exiting mainland China?

  • United Kingdom: According to the UK government, a person “may not obtain a visa for the UK in a Chinese passport if you also hold a British passport.” So if the child already holds a British passport, you may need to either relinquish it to apply for a UK visa in the child’s PRC passport or travel to the UK through a third country.
  • United States: The U.S. will not normally issue visas to its own citizens (9 FAM 40.2 N1) and requires citizens to enter with a U.S. passport (7 FAM 085), with limited exceptions. So the child may need to travel to a third country from China. One of the limited exceptions where the U.S may stamp a visa into the PRC passport is that a “pro forma” visa may be issued where the U.S. consulate believes it is required to facilitate a citizen’s departure from China.
  • Hong Kong and Macao: The PRC citizen child may be able to obtain a Hong Kong and Macao travel permit (往来港澳通行证). Could the child leave the Mainland with that permit, then leave Hong Kong or Macao with the foreign passport? My (preliminary) interpretation is that this would be lawful. The Exit and Entry Administration Law does not apply in Hong Kong (HK Basic Law, Annex III) and Hong Kong doesn’t seem to have a parallel requirement that PRC citizens exit with a PRC passport.

Similarly, upon returning to China, a PRC citizen is required to present the PRC passport (or other PRC travel document). EEAL, art. 11.

Travel Permit (旅行证): If abroad, the child  may apply for a Travel Permit (旅行证 lvxingzheng) at a PRC consulate, valid for multiple entries to China over a 2-year period. Like the Exit and Entry Permit, the Travel Permit may be issued to a PRC citizen ineligible for a PRC passport due to a so-called nationality conflict.

Renounce PRC Citizenship: The child may apply to renounce the PRC citizenship and then obtain a PRC visa in the foreign passport.

Questions or comments?

24 Replies to “Applying for a PRC Exit and Entry Permit for a Child with Dual Nationality”

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  2. OK so the Exit and Entry Permit lets the child leave China and enter back in. But upon arrival at the forgein nation (U.S., U.K., H.K., Thailand, Philippenes, etc.), what documents do they need to allow them into their country?

    My current example:
    My child is now 2 weeks old, we have already applied for everything from the U.S. We will recieve his passport in a week. My wife states that her hometown does not require my child’s passport to process the Exit and Entry Permit. We plan to get tickets from China to the U.S. and plan to use the permit to exit China, and use his U.S. passport to enter through the U.S. port of entry. Upon returnning we plan to use his U.S. passport again at the U.S. port of entry, and the permit upon return to China.

    Would this be acceptable?

    1. Philip:

      Yes, the PRC Exit and Entry Permit is typically not going to be helpful to enter another country. Instead, the child’s foreign passport will be used, and if the child’s is not a national of the country he or she seeks to enter, then a visa may be required in the passport.

  3. Hi Gary,

    My situation is similar to Phillip’s, except that my child has a Chinese Travel Document (obtained through a Chinese Consulate in the US) instead of an Exit and Entry Permit. And he also holds a US passport.

    Would my son be able to use the Travel Document to exit China and use the US passport upon entry to the US, and then, upon return, use the Travel Document to re-enter China?

    Thanks.

  4. Hi Gary

    Your site is very helpfull!

    last time i applied for an entry/exit permit for my son in Shanghai it was valid for only 1 exit, so we had to then apply for an travel document in London to get back into Shanghai. this document has now run out. to avoid the need to get a travel document in London again (takes a while and 2 trips to the embassy) is it possible to get an exit and entry permit valid for 1 exit and 1 return? Do i just need to ask for this when i apply?

    thanks for any help you can supply

  5. Hi Gary,

    My son has left China previously on his Chinese passport and returned without any trouble. He has an American passport, but has never used it. Word here in Kunming is that the Exit/Entry Administration will not issue an exit permit on an American passport of a Chinese citizen.

    My question is, will Hongkong accept my son’s blank U.S. passport? My wife and I plan to have our son exit China on his Chinese passport, but then switch to his American passport to enter Hongkong.

    Thanks for your help!

  6. Hi Gary,

    I am a U.S. citizen and my husband is a Chinese citizen. Our son was born in China. He only has a U.S. passport. We plan on visiting America in August and we are trying to plan when to apply for our son’s Exit and Entry permit. Do you know how long it takes to get the Exit and Entry Permit? Also does the three months start counting down the moment you get the permit or the moment you leave the country?

    Thank you for you help

    1. Fiona: As mentioned in the above article, processing takes about 5 business days. The permit’s expiration date will be shown on the face of the permit–it expires 3 months after issuance.

  7. Dear Gary,

    Your article was very helpful to successfully get the exit and entry permit for my son, though one question still remains.

    Which name (Chinese/Western) and which number (exit and entry permit/passport) do I need to use to book his flight ticket?

    Thanks,
    Sven

  8. Hi Gary,

    I’m so glad to chance upon your website. I really need some advise from you. My story is a little lengthy so bear with me please…

    I am a US citizen and was working in Beijng from 2009-2012. During this time I got married to a Chinese national. When I was due to delivery our baby, I returned to the states to give birth and my son got his US passport there. We applied for a Chinese visa for him and returned to Beijing without a hitch. My company’s HR dept in Beijing applied to convert his temporary visa to a dependent visa under my work visa. However, when we submitted his documents, the Beijing authorities found out that his dad is Chinese without permanent residency overseas and rejected our application. That was when we learnt that our son is considered a Chinese national and hence did not require a visa to stay in China. When we eventually had to leave China, we went through the process of obtaining the exit permit and left with no problem. Now two years after leaving China, we are heading back for a 3-week visit. I don’t know if it is OK for my son to visit China on his US passport again, or if they will refuse entry on the grounds that his US passport isn’t recognized. We had submitted a copy of his US passport as required when we applied for the entry/exit permit back then, so I am worried that they will link it to his Chinese citizenship. If we managed to get a China visa on his US passport, does it mean that he is most likely to be allowed entry as a foreigner, or do you think we are better off applying for a Chinese permit for him?

    1. Assuming that the child is a PRC citizen, then the child is not technically eligible for a visa but can apply for a PRC travel permit (旅行证) in person at the PRC embassy or consulate nearest the child’s place of residence.

      If in the future you wish for the PRC government to recognize the child as a foreign national, then–at a time convenient for you–you can apply at the nearest PRC embassy or consulate to renounce the child’s PRC citizenship.

  9. Hi Mr.Chodorow,

    Although I am not US citizen (I am French), I am currently going through the same hassle.
    I am living in Beijing, where my daughter was born (she’s not even one month old), and her mother is Chinese.
    My daughter already has her French passport, but nothing at all has been done yet about declaring her to Chinese authorities.
    We are in the process of applying for an Exit&Entry permit for the daughter, to settle down in another country.
    According to what I read, the permit is valid for one reentry within 3 month.
    – what happens if we need to re-enter China after 3 months?
    – if we re-enter within 3 months, but still live abroad, do we have to go through another application for Exit&Entry permit while in China, and is it even possible without being registered as living in China?

    Thanks in advance,
    Best regards,
    Didier

    1. Hi Didier,

      You’re correct: as mentioned abovre, the Exit and Entry Permit is valid for 1 departure and 1 return to China over a period of 3 months. For your child to qualify, there’s no requirement that the parents reside in China.

      If your child departs China with the Exit and Entry Permit then remains abroad for more than 3 months, then see the above information about applying for a Travel Permit (旅行证). This application is made at a PRC consulate. The Travel Permit is valid for multiple entries to China over a 2-year period. Like the Exit and Entry Permit, the Travel Permit may be issued to a PRC citizen ineligible for a PRC passport due to a so-called nationality conflict.

    1. Jon: This is general information. The information contained here should not be construed as legal advice. Do not act or rely on this information without seeking legal advice from our firm or another qualified lawyer who learns your goals, investigates the specific facts of your case, researches how the law may apply to those facts, and then gives advice taking all that into account.

  10. Follow-up question: my wife is from Chongqing and is not a long-term resident in Shanghai (does not have a hukou here). Does she or all of us (including baby) need to go to Chongqing to get this booklet for the baby? Would this be necessary every time we leave the country or is it an easier way to do this in the future?

    1. Jon: I’ve linked to the Shanghai application procedures above. They say that the PRC citizen parent must have a Shanghai hukou, but the Working Rules say that it’s enough that the application is filed in the place of domicile (居住地), which would be satisfied if your wife has a Shanghai residence permit (居住证). So some legal advocacy may convince Shanghai authorities to accept the case if your wife has a Shanghai residence permit. If not, then the application will need to be filed in Chongqing. You or your lawyer should check the local rules in Chongqing about who needs to appear in person.

  11. Hi Gary

    Our daughter’s birth certificate lists her name in English, so when we obtained an exit-entry permit for her, the PRC government asked us to provide a Chinese name. Now, will my daughter have trouble leaving China by air? The Chinese name in her passport doesn’t match the English name in her passport.

    1. Mike: You can buy a plane ticket in a name matching the foreign passport. PRC immigration will still allow your daughter to exit and re-enter by showing the passport and exit-entry permit.

  12. Great info on the web site! Got a question on the Travel Document for my baby. My wife is a Chinese National, Shanghai Houkou. Baby is not on the hukou, born in Shanghai. Shanghai PSB told my wife that getting one at a Chinese Consulate in the USA is tantamount to renunciation of Chinese Citizenship.

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