China’s Nationality Law “is causing big headaches for the growing number of mixed-nationality families in China,” as recounted in Visa Complexity Vexes Parents of Dual Nationality Chinese Children (Los Angeles Times, Apr. 19, 2015).
The first hurdle is that many parents don’t know that their child has Chinese citizenship, especially in cases where the child is born in China to one Chinese parent or born abroad to a Chinese parent who has not settled abroad. (A summary of the rules is here).
In 1989, there were 20,389 marriages registered between Chinese nationals and foreigners, Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs statistics show. That number jumped to about 78,000 in 2003 and has stayed around 50,000 annually in the last decade.
The Times story illustrates several topics of interest to the U.S. & China Visa Law Blog:
Obtaining a Travel Permit or an Exit-Entry Permit Can Be a Hassle: It can take more than a month to obtain from the Public Security Bureau an “entry-exit permit” for a child to leave China, complicating travel planning, mentions the Times. Also, for a child who is abroad, distant travel to apply in person for a “travel permit” at PRC Consulate can be a hassle. The Times recounts an incident where a 10-month-old child had to travel “10 hours through Siberia in winter to reach the nearest Chinese Consulate, in Irkutsk.” For more, see For more, see Applying for a PRC Exit and Entry Permit for a Child with Dual Nationality.
Problems Enrolling in School: The child of one family interviewed by the Times “was essentially unable to enter school…. Without a Chinese visa in his … passport, he wasn’t allowed to enroll as a foreigner. Yet as a [foreign] passport holder, he also couldn’t obtain a required Chinese residency document to attend school as a Chinese citizen.” For more, see Enrolling Binational Children in Beijing International Schools: Immigration Law Issues.
Renunciation of Chinese Citizenship Not Easy: The “formal — and complicated — application to ‘cancel’ [a] child’s Chinese citizenship … can take a year,” the Times mentions. For more on renunciation, including Public Security Bureau resistance to even filing applications in certain localities, see Applying to Renounce Chinese Citizenship.