China: Foreign Nationals Must Register Their Residence with Local Police within 24 Hours

Foreign nationals in China must register their temporary residence with the public security bureau (PSB). Further, registration is a prerequisite to filing with the PSB Exit-Entry Division an application for a new visa, stay certificate, or residence permit. Here’s a FAQ:

Continue reading “China: Foreign Nationals Must Register Their Residence with Local Police within 24 Hours”

Choosing Between U.S. and Chinese Citizenship: Pros and Cons

Are you in a position where you need to choose between U.S. and Chinese citizenship? For example, are you a U.S. green card holder from China considering applying for naturalization in the U.S.? Or are you a person who automatically acquired both Chinese and U.S. citizenship at birth but is now considering renouncing Chinese citizenship? The below table lists some specific factors to consider. Continue reading “Choosing Between U.S. and Chinese Citizenship: Pros and Cons”

U.S. Consulate in Shenyang on Pro Forma Visas for Dual Nationals

For a child born in China with dual U.S. and China nationality, there are various options for documents allowing departure from China. 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. Continue reading “U.S. Consulate in Shenyang on Pro Forma Visas for Dual Nationals”

China Police Certificates for Foreigners

Our law firm routinely assists clients in obtaining China police certificates for purposes such as employment background checks or immigration to the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries. We can assist foreign nationals plus persons from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan in these matters.

Background Information

A police certificate is sometimes referred to as a police clearance certificate (PCC), a no criminal record (NCR) certificate, or a certificate of no criminal conviction (CNCC). It is a document confirming you have no conviction (or listing your convictions) within a jurisdiction.

A China police certificate (无犯罪记录证明书) is available to cover periods an individual resides in a particular city. So if you have lived in more than one city, you may need a police certificate from each city.

Some cities will only issue certificates to foreigners holding a residence permit (居留许可), such as for a J-1 journalist, Z worker, or X student. In such cities, a police certificate will not be issued to cover periods of stay with an L tourist visa, F exchange visitor visa, or M business visa. (This is explained by the U.S. State Department here).

Procedures to apply for a China police certificate vary by locality. Typically, to apply the applicant or another person with a power of attorney (委托书) from the applicant must first visit the local police station where the applicant resided to obtain a police letter. Then, that police letter must be brought to the local notarial office to be notarized. The notarial office can issue the notarization in Chinese with an English translation, if requested. Our processing times also vary by locality but are typically 7 to 10 weeks. We can send the police certificate to you via international courier, such as FedEx.

Note on Unobtainable Police Certificates

There are cases where a China police certificate is unobtainable. For example:

  • If you no longer have your passport or temporary residence registration forms showing you resided in the city, the local police station may be unable to confirm your residence, in which case they may not issue a police certificate; or
  • As mentioned above, some cities will not issue a police certificate unless you held a residence permit.

The United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries will in some situations waive the police certificate requirement if the certificate is unobtainable. For instance:

  • United States: “In the event that the immigrant establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer that” a police clearance “is unobtainable, the consular officer may permit the immigrant to submit … other satisfactory evidence of the fact to which such document or record would, if obtainable, pertain.” 9 FAM 504.4-4(F) (emphasis added). Such other satisfactory evidence that a person has no criminal conviction may include, for example, “proof of membership in or affiliation with a reputable religious organization in a religious capacity during periods of foreign residence may be accepted as such evidence.” 9 FAM 504.4-4(B) (emphasis added). In our experience, an individual’s own affidavit or an employer letter may also be satisfactory evidence that a person has no convictions.
  • Canada: Under the rules, an applicant who cannot obtain a police certificate may explain why and provide supporting evidence.

To prove that a police certificate is unobtainable, our law firm will gather the necessary evidence and apply for the certificate on your behalf. If the application is not accepted or is denied, we will request that the agency put this decision in writing. If the agency refuses to put the decision in writing, we will document this refusal. We will provide a declaration explaining that the police certificate has been denied and that the denial cannot be overcome through reasonable efforts. The declaration will be accompanied by supporting evidence, relevant Chinese rules about issuance and notarization of police certificates, and certified English translations.

Legal Fees and Expenses

Our firm’s standard fee is USD 950 to 1300 to provide a police certificate for each city (or to provide proof that a certificate is unobtainable). Discounts are available if you need certificates from multiple cities or if multiple family members are applying at the same time. You can pay in USD or RMB. Payment options are listed in the below client questionnaire.

Getting Started

If you are interested in hiring our firm, please fill the below Client Questionnaire then email us documents requested in our follow-up email. We will treat them confidentially. We need to review your questionnaire and documents to confirm how best to help you. We will then give you a quote.

We Can Assist Nationwide

We can assist with applying for police certificates nationwide, including but not limited to the following cities:

Beijing Municipality (北京)
Chongqing Municipality (重庆)
Shanghai Municipality (上海)
Tianjin Municipality (天津)
Anhui (安徽): Hefei (合肥)
Fujian (福建): Fuzhou (福州), Quanzhou (泉州), Fujian (厦门)
Gansu (甘肃): Lanzhou (兰州)
Guangdong (广东): Guangzhou (广州), Shenzhen (深圳), Shantou (汕头), Dongguan (东莞), Foshan (佛山)
Guizhou (贵州): Guiyang (贵阳)
Hainan (海南): Haikou (海口)
Hebei (河北): Shijiazhuang (石家庄)
Heilongjiang (黑龙江): Harbin (哈尔滨)
Henan (河南): Zhengzhou (郑州)
Hubei (湖北): Wuhan (武汉)
Hunan (湖南): Changsha (长沙)
Jiangsu (江苏): Nanjing (南京), Suzhou (苏州), Wuxi (无锡)
Jiangxi (江西): Nanchang (南昌)
Jilin (吉林): Changchun (长春)
Liaoning (辽宁): Shenyang (沈阳), Dalian (大连), Anshan (鞍山), Fushun (抚顺)
Qinghai (青海): Xining (西宁)
Shaanxi (陕西): Xi’an (西安)
Shandong (山东): Jinan (济南), Qingdao (青岛)
Shanxi (山西): Taiyuan (太原)
Sichuan (四川): Chengdu (成都)
Yunnan (云南): Kunming (昆明)
Zhejiang (浙江): Hangzhou (杭州), Wenzhou (温州), Ningbo (宁波)
Guangxi Zhuang (广西壮族): Nanning (南宁)
Inner Mongolia (内蒙古): Hohhot (呼和浩特)
Ningxia Hui (宁夏回族): Yinchuan (银川)
Xinjiang Uighur (新疆维吾尔族): Urumqi (乌鲁木齐)
Tibet (西藏): Lhasa (拉萨)

Further Reading

Clients FAQs (answers to clients’ frequently asked questions about representation by our law firm, including our firm’s guarantee)

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

Samples of Selected China Immigration Documents

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. Continue reading “AmCham Asks Chinese Government to Streamline Issuance of China Police Certificates to Foreigners”

AmCham China 2017 White Paper: Visa Policy

AmCham China just published its 2017 White Paper on American Business in China. “With uncertainty stemming from political and economic transitions in both the US and China, perceptions of a deteriorating investment environment for foreign companies in China, and a slowing economy, 2017 will likely be one of the most challenging years in decades for U.S. companies in China,” it says. The Visa policy chapter focuses on: Continue reading “AmCham China 2017 White Paper: Visa Policy”

China’s 72- and 144-Hour Transit without Visa Programs


Please note: This blog post has not bee updated since Feb. 2017. For updated information, one helpful source is the Shanghai government’s Interpretation of the 144-Hour Visa-Exemption Transit Policy (May 2, 2018).

China’s transit without visa (TWOV) programs allow a traveler arriving at certain ports of entry to be admitted to China and stay within a specified geographic area for 72 or 144 hours visa-free before continuing their journey to a third country (or region). Continue reading “China’s 72- and 144-Hour Transit without Visa Programs”

State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs: Notice on Implementation of Plans for Employment Licenses for Foreigners Coming to China for Work

The State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs (SAFEA) published this plan on Sept. 27, 2016, to combine the existing two tracks to obtain work authorization into a single process. Previously, one track involved applying to the Human Resources and Social Security Bureau for a work permit (就业证), and the other track involved applying to the Foreign Expert Bureau for a foreign expert permit (专家证). The new process will result in issuance of an ID card with a unique ID number for the foreign worker.  Continue reading “State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs: Notice on Implementation of Plans for Employment Licenses for Foreigners Coming to China for Work”

China Planning New Agency to Regulate Immigration

Exit-Entry BureauBloomberg is reporting that the Chinese government is planning to create a new agency to regulate immigration. The agency would be formed by “merging and expanding the ministry’s border control and exit-entry administration bureaus and could be set up before year-end.” The story cites as its only source “people with knowledge of the plans.” Continue reading “China Planning New Agency to Regulate Immigration”

Non-Scandal? Dual Chinese-Canadian Nationals Denied Chinese Visas

hong-kong-canadaSeveral media outlets reported this week on two teenagers who applied for mainland Chinese visas in Toronto but were denied. The Chinese Consulate did not explain the denials, but apparently the reason was that although the teenagers were born in Canada and hold Canadian passports, they had acquired Chinese nationality at birth through their parents born in Hong Kong, so should travel on Chinese travel documents. Continue reading “Non-Scandal? Dual Chinese-Canadian Nationals Denied Chinese Visas”

Jumping through Hoops: China Visas for Athletes, Performing Artists, Film Production

jump-through-hoopsThis article introduces China visa rules as they apply to athletes, performing artists, and film production.

The rules have been re-shaped by the recent Exit-Entry Administration Law (2013),[1] implementing regulations (2013),[2] and ministry-level rules on short-term work assignments (2015).[3] Continue reading “Jumping through Hoops: China Visas for Athletes, Performing Artists, Film Production”

Training: Immigration Law Issues for Foreigners Working or Doing Business in China

China_VisaMar. 25, 8:30am to 5:30pm at Beijing DHH Law Firm: China has become an attractive country for foreign investors and individuals to seek economic opportunities. This has led to an increased demand by foreigners for Z visas and work authorization in China. This training will provide up-to-date information about China visas and immigration laws as they relate to foreigners working and doing business in China. The target audience is HR managers and foreigners working, investing, or doing business in China. More.