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China Police Certificates

China Police Certificates for Foreigners

Our law firm routinely assists clients in obtaining China police certificates for purposes such as immigration (to the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries) or employment background checks. Our clients include foreign nationals, including former Chinese citizens, and residents of Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.

Background Information

A police certificate is a document confirming you have no conviction (or listing your convictions) within a jurisdiction.

A police certificate is also known as a police clearance certificate (PCC), or no criminal record (NCR) certificate. In Chinese, it is commonly referred to as a 无犯罪记录证明书 (certificate of no criminal conviction). For sample, see here.

Unlike most countries, in China, most cities will only issue a police certificate covering the time you resided in that city (or maybe in that province). As a result, if you have lived in multiple locations, you may need multiple police certificates.

Rules for issuance of police certificates vary from city to city. The rules may not be published, especially in smaller cities.

Typically, to apply, the applicant or another person with a power of attorney (委托书) signed by the applicant must first visit the local public security bureau to apply for a police letter. Then, that police letter must be brought to a local notary office to apply for the certificate to be notarized. The notary can issue the police certificate with a translation to English or another language, if required.

Note on Unobtainable Police Certificates

There are cases where a China police certificate is unobtainable. Most commonly, in some cities, a police certificate will not be issued if:

  • you no longer have your passport used when you resided in the city
  • you failed to complete the temporary residence registration (临时住宿登记) process when you lived in the city, or you have lost and the police cannot find copies of your temporary residence registration forms
  • when you lived in the city, you held short-term visas (such as L, F, M, Q2, or X2) rather than residence permits (居留许可) issued by the local public security bureau’s exit-entry administration

The United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries will waive the police certificate requirement upon presentation of proof that the police 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 conviction.
  • Canada: Rules require that an applicant show proof that they requested a police certificate from the correct authorities and explain why it cannot be issued.
  • Australia: If you are unable to obtain a police certificate, you should demonstrate with documentary evidence where possible, that you have made a genuine attempt to obtain the certificate. The police certificate requirement may be waived if you demonstrate that, given the circumstances, it is unreasonable to require a certificate.
  • New Zealand: The police certificate requirement may be waived under INZ Operational Manual A5.10, where an immigration officer who holds the position of immigration manager or has Schedule 3 delegations or above is satisfied that such certificate is “not available” (for example, where authorities of a country do not generally provide such certificates) or “unduly difficult to obtain” (for example, where “circumstances beyond the control of the applicant” prevent them from obtaining the certificate).

Unfortunately, in many situations the public security bureau and notary will not provide documentation showing that an application was made and why it was refused. Our law firm 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.

Hiring Our Law Firm

Getting a Quote from Our Firm: Our firm focuses on being thorough and transparent regarding how we assist with police certificate applications. As such, we charge a “research fee” to (a) review the facts of your case, as set forth in a Client Questionnaire you will fill in for us; (b) request and review key documents in your case; (c) research published local rules (if any) and speak with local officials to determine the local requirements and procedures for police certificate applications as they apply to the specific facts of your case, such as whether alternative documents may be acceptable if you are missing any normally required documents; and (d) prepare for you a quote describing the steps we will take in your case, the strategy we propose for dealing with any potential difficulty, the odds that a police certificate will be issued or be unobtainable (in which case we will need to gather and prepare evidence that the certificate is unobtainable), and the legal fees we will charge. To get a quote from our firm:

  • Client Questionnaire: Each person seeking a police certificate should fill the below Client Questionnaire. We will treat your information confidentially.
  • Submit Your Documents: Please provide to us scans of the documents listed here.
  • Pay the Research Fee: The research fee is USD 100 (RMB 700) for each police certificate you want to apply for.

Legal Fees: Our firm’s legal fees typically range from USD 450 to 800 per police certificate application. If the certificate is unobtainable, we typically charge an additional USD 700 to gather evidence and prepare a declaration to be submitted to foreign immigration authorities that the certificate is unobtainable.

Discounts: Discounts to our firm’s legal fees are available if you need certificates from multiple cities or if multiple family members are applying at the same time.

Payment Methods: You can pay by either RMB bank transfer, USD credit card, or USD eCheck (ACH).

Processing Times: Processing times vary by city but are typically 7-10 weeks. After the police certificate is issued, we will send it to you via international courier, such as FedEx.

We Can Assist Nationwide

We can assist with applying for police certificates anywhere in Mainland China, including but not limited to the following cities:

  • Anhui (安徽): Hefei (合肥)
  • Beijing (北京)
  • Chongqing (重庆)
  • Fujian (福建): Fuzhou (福州), Quanzhou (泉州), Xiamen (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), Zhuhai (珠海), Huizhou (惠州), Zhongshan (中山)
  • Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Zone (广西壮族自治区): Nanning (南宁)
  • 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): Changzhou (常州), Nanjing (南京), Nantong (南通), Suzhou (苏州), Wuxi (无锡), Xuzhou (徐州)
  • Jiangxi (江西): Nanchang (南昌)
  • Jilin (吉林): Changchun (长春)
  • Liaoning (辽宁): Shenyang (沈阳), Dalian (大连)
  • Shaanxi (陕西): Xi’an (西安)
  • Shandong (山东): Jinan (济南), Qingdao (青岛), Yantai (烟台)
  • Shanghai (上海)
  • Shanxi (山西): Taiyuan (太原)
  • Sichuan (四川): Chengdu (成都)
  • Tianjin (天津)
  • Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Zone (新疆维吾尔族自治区): Urumqi (乌鲁木齐)
  • Yunnan (云南): Kunming (昆明)
  • Zhejiang (浙江): Hangzhou (杭州), Jiaxing (嘉兴), Jinhua (金华), Wenzhou (温州), Ningbo (宁波), Shaoxing (绍兴), Taizhou (台州)

Client Testimonials

Pete Zhang, the paralegal who helped with my application for a Nanjing police certificate, was exemplary in every way. He introduced himself at the beginning; responded to questions and requests promptly; showed initiative to track down the right people; and was patient and reassuring, building trust and confidence in his competence and the professionalism of the firm.
Catherine Kendall

Further Reading

Sample China police certificate

Samples of selected China immigration documents

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

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

76 replies on “China Police Certificates for Foreigners”

I am a New Zealand and Australian citizen who had lived in Beijing for the past few years. Now, I am sponsoring my wife to apply for a partner visa in Australia. The immigration department requires me to supply a China police certificate. However, I did not apply for a residence permit during my days in Beijing. Is it possible for you to help me to obtain the certificate, if not, what other option do I have?

Cheng Han: In Beijing, the exit-entry administration will issue a police certificate even if you did not have a local residence permit, so long as you lived in Beijing for over 90 days and have evidence of residence. The best such evidence is temporary residence registration forms from the police station. In the absence of those, the exit-entry administration may accept other evidence, such as leases, employer letters, a university diploma or certificate.

I came to Beijing only for visiting my family, and I didn’t file temporary residence registration forms with the local police station.

Cheng Han: If you retain our firm, we’ll explore whether you have any other evidence acceptable to the exit-entry administration. If no, then as explained above we’ll help you prove to the satisfaction of the Australian immigration authorities that no police certificate can be issued.

Hi, I have lived and worked in China for 5 years. Now, I have moved away but need a China police certificate to apply for Canadian immigration. My Chinese friend tells me that the public security bureau has stopped issuing police certificates in the city where I lived. What should I do?

Roe: There have been times in certain cities when it has not been possible to obtain a police certificate because no public security bureau (PSB) organ or notary is willing to take responsibility for such cases or because they have paused issuing police certificates while their polices are under review. If this is really the case, then as explained above, the Canadian (or other) immigration authorities will accept proof that the police certificate is unobtainable. Our law firm can gather such evidence. Be careful, however, because sometimes officials mistakenly give inaccurate information about local rules on police certificates for foreigners.

I may have lost one of my old passports that I used when I lived in China–or maybe I lost just the page with the China visa. Can your firm still help me apply for a China police certificate?

Yes, we can help you apply. Some cities require the original passport with China visas; other cities require only copies; still other cities don’t even require copies; yet other cities will accept a letter from your government that you used to have a passport with a certain number. In any case, our firm can help you apply for a police certificate. If the police certificate can’t be issued because you do not have and cannot obtain a required document, then we can prepare evidence to prove to the government where you are now applying for a visa that the police certificate cannot be obtained.

I am currently in the process of applying for a Visa to the United States of America. I have turned in all of my formal documents and just recently received a letter stated my notarized Police Certificate was not accurate. My notarized Police Certificate covered only Beijing, yet it is needed for all of China.

I am messaging because I am in need of help to find see if your office could be of any help. I have gone to the police station where I am registered, to another office that was able to do the notarized Police Certificate for Beijing, and I have also been to the PSB (Public Security Bureau) here in Beijing, but to no avail.

Thank you in advance for your help!

Hi: I previously lived in China. I overstayed 6 months and was required to pay a fine in order to obtain a visa to exit the country. Now, I would like to apply for a China police certificate in connection with a U.S. visa application. Can you help me?

Wangi: Persons who have overstayed their visas in China may well be ineligible for police certificates covering the period of the violation, depending on the city and the circumstances. However, our firm can still assist. For example, we previously assisted a refugee who entered China illegally, lived in the country for several years, and then left the country without going through inspection. We were unable to obtain a police certificate for her, but as explained above, we can gather persuasive evidence explaining to U.S. or other countries’ immigration authorities that the China police certificate is unobtainable, and on that basis the requirement to submit a police certificate can be waived.

Good day, I never registered my temporary residence in China with the police during my 4 years’ study in China. Can you still help?

DemiFaks: Yes, we can still help. In some cities, temporary residence registration forms (TRRFs) are not required to obtain a CNCC. In other cities, TRRFs are required, in which case we’ll need to prepare evidence for foreign immigration authorities proving that the CNCC is unobtainable.

My brother went to China to study. Now he is back in Vietnam. He needs a China police certificate for purposes of U.S. immigration. Can you help?

My husband and I lived in Ningbo, China from 2002 to 2015. My friend tried to obtain a non criminal certificate and they said that since we haven’t lived there since 2015 they cannot give us one. In 2016 we were issued one but now they say they can only give us a copy of it. We reside in New Zealand and need it for visa purposes. Can you help us?

Hello,

I lived in China from Jan 2010 to July 2010 on 4 F visas teaching english. My passport contains the entry/exit stamps.

I lived in Henan – Xuchang (Jan – Feb)
I lived in Hebei – WuYi (March – Jun)

I am just wondering if you can help me and I have no proof of residence?

Thanks,

James: We’re happy to help. Please complete the above-referenced questionnaire. If a CNCC is unobtainable because the applicant cannot provide the required documents, we can ask that foreign immigration authorities waive the CNCC requirement on the basis it is unobtainable.

Can you help us obtain a Chinese Police Clearance? My husband worked in Guangzhou from 1994 to 2004 and his proof is the alien employment permit and passports with entry/exit stamps (but with some missing pages).

Beth: We’re happy to help. Please complete the above-referenced questionnaire. If a CNCC is unobtainable because the applicant cannot provide the required documents, we can provide evidence to foreign immigration authorities that the CNCC is unobtainable and ask that the CNCC requirement be waived on that basis.

My fiance is Filipina K-1 visa applicant. She was a domestic helper in Ningbo China about 5 years ago. She overstayed her visa by about six months, and then was in jail 14 days after she surrendered. She has her old passport but no other immigration records. She cannot remember the exact address where she lived. She contacted her former employer about a letter, but that person is deathly afraid of giving out any information.

James: We have handled analogous cases for visa overstayers. In such cases, depending on the city, there are various reasons that the individual may not be eligible to obtain a CNCC. For example, some cities will only provide CNCCs for persons who hold residence permits stamped into their passports, and some cities will only provide CNCCs for persons who have temporary residence registration forms showing registration with the local police station. In cases where our firm is unable to get the CNCC, we will gather evidence to show the U.S. State Dep’t that it is unobtainable, and we will ask that the CNCC requirement be waived.

My fiancee is a Ukrainian K-1 visa applicant. She was a tourist in Guangzhou about 10 years ago, where she got drunk and was arrested in a hotel room with a Chinese guy. She was detained for 14 days then released. Was she arrested for or convicted of a crime? What records does she need for U.S. immigration purposes?

Jack: a K-1 or immigrant visa applicant must submit a police record for any country where arrested. (22 C.F.R. § 42.65). Once your fiancée has the police record, she’ll understand whether she was arrested for a crime or for an administrative violation (which is more likely). In any case, consult with our firm or another qualified immigration lawyer whether the incident may impact her eligibility to immigrate.

Hi, I was born in Beijing, China. I lost my PRC citizenship when I naturalized in another country. I no longer have a hukou, as I was very young when I left with my family. Can I get a Beijing police certificate?

M.C.C.: In such cases, you’ll need some evidence of identity that matches your old hukou. Maybe your cancelled PRC passport or old national ID, for example. You (or a third party such as our law firm with a power of attorney) will need to ask the notary what evidence of identity will be considered acceptable. With that, the PSB should be able to pull your old hukou cancellation record and issue a police certificate stating that you had no criminal record through that cancellation date.

Hi I’m a Filipino right now I’m processing k1 visa to United State , and I need to get police clearance from china . I in Guangzhou since 2005 to 2012 with L visa is it possible to get a police clearance?

Rina: Depending on the on the complete facts of your situation, we may be able to get you the police certificate, or we may be able to prove that it is unobtainable for part or all of your period of residence.

Hi, my son in applying for a Canadian visa. He was in Beijing with a visitor visa for a total of not more than 6 months between 2009 and now. He no longer has his temporary residence registration forms. The public security bureau is saying that they cannot issue him a police certificate. Can You help?

Lola: If your son doesn’t have and can’t get the required documents to qualify for a Beijing police certificate, we can help him apply for the certificate, get denied, and submit evidence to the Canadian authorities that the police certificate requirement should be waived on the basis that it is unobtainable.

Hello, my brother got administrative warning penalty and he paid a fine before 1 year can he get a no criminal certificate now. Illegal act, So they give him a warning.
Nanjing.

Hi, Gary. My query pertains to the following response to Cheng Han on 26/11/17:

“In the absence of (temporary residence registration forms from the police station) , the exit-entry administration may accept other evidence, such as…. employer letters.”

Is there any official form for an employer letter, or is it just a matter of my former employer stating something like ‘Xx worked at YY for Zz years” with their stamp and/or signature?

My former employer is happy to assist with a letter, but I worry it won’t meet whatever the requirements of the police/PSB are.

Kind regards.
Joel

Joel: The format of the required employer letter varies from city to city, but typically must be in Chinese, chopped by the employer. and state the employee’s name, passport number, dates of employment, and that to the best of the employer’s knowledge the employee has not been convicted of a crime.

Hi Gary, I would like to thank you for helping with my husband’s Chinese Police Clearance. Because of you the impossible became possible: The US Embassy in Manila accepted his Police Clearance and, for his first year in China, accepted the evidence your team prepared showing that the Police Certificate was unobtainable. Thank you also to Susie Guo and all those in Chodorow Law Offices.

Hello sir,
I was working as illegal housemaid in Fujian China for almost 5 years, now I needed a police clearance for my spouse visa in USA. Can you be able to help to get one?

I was born a Chinese citizen but I became a Korean citizen later so I do not hold Chinese citizenship anymore and I’m currently living in the US, can I still get background check from China? thanks.

Hi, i’m Daniel.
I was working in a construction company in Beijing – China on Z visa but in my free time, I used to teach English without knowing that it’s illegal. Once I was caught by police and got 5000 RMB fine. After that I never teach again and just focus on my job. Now I need PCC for Canadian immigration. Kindly advice, whether That illegal teaching will be mentioned on PCC?? I’m quite afraid as this could weak my case. Kindly give me some good news please !!

Daniel: A China police certificate states that the applicant has no “criminal record” in China. Here’s a samplesamplesample. You can check your records, but I bet you were charged not with a crime but instead for violation of the article in the Exit and Entry Administration Law that prohibits unlawful employment. That’s a civil violation, not a criminal violation, so wouldn’t make you ineligible got get a clean China police certificate.

Hello,

I am a UK citizen, but was previously Chinese, and am in the process of applying for a New Zealand visa. I have not lived in China for over 11 years, but when I did live in China I was a Chinese citizen living in Baoji and Xi’an. I have my old ID card, but lack much other information. I am wondering if there is anything additional I can or should supply to you in order to apply for a police certificate?

I am Niranjan from Australia. I studied in china from year 2001-2006 in Guangxi medical university. I need police clearance but my passport is new and old passport I got visa stamped on has already been discarded .Would I still be able to get police clearance please ?

Niranjan: In Guangxi, if you no longer have the passport(s) used in China, the public security bureau and notary will still be willing to issue you a police certificate, provided that you meet the other requirements. Those other requirements include, for example, that for the period you seek the police certificate you held residence permits and have TRRFs (or our firm can get them for you at the PSB).

Yes I will need help with your firm to get one please.Kindly email me the requirements and cost involved please.

Hello. I was living in China with M visa total for 14 months. Going to get a K-1 visa for US. But i was periodically going back to my country. How does the year count, since it said you need to provide a criminal check if u lived in another country for a year. I have been in China since august 2018 to January 2019, then april 2019 to august 2019, and than from august 2019 to january 2020. Do i even need a criminal check? Thank you!

Guliia: The regulations require police certificates from any country where an applicant “has resided for at least one year.” 22 C.F.R. 42.65. The term “reside” is not the same as being physically present in a place. Instead, the term “reside” refers to the country where a person mainly “dwelled” (lived) during the period. INA 101(a)(33). From your timeline, it looks like you mainly dwelled (lived) in China between Aug. 2018 and Jan. 2020 because you were away from the country for only about about 3 months during that period of about 17 months So it may be wise to get a China police certificate. Of course, confirm this with your immigration attorney, or feel free to consult with our firm so we can learn all relevant facts and then give advice you can rely on.

I stayed in Qingdao for 1 year and in Weifang for 4 years. Both are in Shandong province. Do I need two police clearance certificates to apply for permanent residence in Canada?

Please verify with your Canadian lawyer or visa specialist if the Canadian government will need police certificates covering the periods you lived in both cities. Assuming the answer is yes, you’ll need to apply in each city. In other words, in Shandong each city issues its own police certificates; you can’t get a single province-wide police certificate.

Hi: A few years back, I worked illegally in China, was fined, and was detained. Was this a criminal conviction? Will it prevent me from getting a no criminal record certificate?

Hasu: Working illegally is a civil violation described in the Exit and Entry Administration Law, not a crime. (I assume you have no memory of going to criminal court for a hearing before a judge). Because civil violations are not criminal convictions, they will not prevent you from getting a police certificate. We have helped many people apply for police certificates after they have been fined, detained, and deported due to civil violations.

Thank you so much, and yes i didn’t go to any criminal court , what is the procedure for (NCC) application and how do i contact further.

My fiancee has lived in 3 different places in Qinghai province. Does she need 3 police certificates or just 1 to apply for a U.S. K-1 visa?

Hi, way back 2010, I lived in China and worked for two years with L visa. Got overstayed, but its unintentional. I was detained for less than a month then sent back to my home country (Philippines). Is there a way I can get a police clearance in connection of my K-1 fiance visa to U.S.A ?

Hi there. I have my police certificate and notarised copy from my two years in Qingdao, but now I need an updated one that has been issued within past six months for my NZ visa application. Is it possible to get an updated one?

Can you help me get a police certificate? I have been teaching in China and need to leave for employment back in the UK.
What information would you need from me?

My sister worked in China but left last year to move to The US for work. While she was about to leave China she applied for a certificate and obtained one but got it 2 weeks before leaving China. She has since applied for Canadian Immigration and submitted the Chinese police certificate but her application was rejected because of the 2 week discrepancy. Would you be able to help with a new certificate xovering the entire period or any other alternative?

Hello, I was wondering if I could obtain
police certificate based on my previous passport name and number only
( I have changed the passport and I don`t have visa information saved )

Lera: Most cities require that you provide a copy of the passport used while in China; others do not. If the city where you resided requires it but you cannot provide it, you can request a waiver of the police certificate requirements on that basis. To find out which strategy is applicable in your case, request a quote from our firm, and we’ll let you know the proposed strategy.

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