For a child born in China with dual U.S. and China nationality, there are various options for documents allowing departure from the country. The trick is that you need to show the immigration inspector in the airport both a travel document issued by the Chinese government and a visa or other document to enter your next destination.
The first option is to apply for a PRC Exit and Entry Permit to leave and (optionally) return to China within 60 days. Show the inspector that permit and your U.S. passport if that’s where you’re headed. The permit is issued based on the rationale that there is a “nationality conflict” preventing issuance of a PRC passport to a person who holds a foreign passport.
The second option is to depart China with a PRC passport to a third country or region for which you have a visa or where no visa is required. From there, you can enter the U.S. with your U.S. passport.
The first and second options are discussed here. A third option is to apply for a U.S. “pro forma” visa to be stamped into your PRC passport. That visa in a PRC passport is sufficient to show the China immigration inspector that you are authorized to enter your destination country. Here’s what the U.S. Consulate in Shenyang says about the pro forma visa:
Under normal circumstances, a U.S. visa cannot be issued to U.S. citizens. However, there are some cases in which a “pro-forma visa” can be issued to dual-national U.S. citizen minors for the purpose of enabling them to leave a country on their foreign passport. (Generally speaking, adult dual national U.S. citizens will not be considered for a pro-forma visa.) The pro-forma visa is valid for three months and a single-entry. A pro-forma visa may only be issued once. Once the dual-national U.S. citizen minor arrives at the Port of Entry in the United States, however, they must use their U.S. passport to enter the United States.
To apply for a pro-forma visa, please visit www.ustraveldocs.com and follow the procedures for a normal non-immigrant visa application. Also, please bring both the applicant’s Chinese passport and US passport to the interview. If the applicant is under 14, he/she does NOT need to attend the interview. Note that applying through the drop box (interview waiver mail application) is NOT possible.
Please note that if you are applying for a dual national U.S. citizen minor who is under the age of 14, and you are not applying for your own visa at the same time, you must notify Consulate staff through https://china-cn.edit.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/shenyang/american-citizen-services/ at least two business days in advance of the child’s interview. The notification should include the non-applying parent’s name, passport number and date of birth, along with the name, passport number and date of birth of the visa applicant, as well as their visa appointment time.
–Source: U.S. Consulate in Shenyang (Jan. 2018 Newsletter)
Is a pro forma visa the right option for you? Let me know in the comments.