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”

Americans Scrambling to Submit Immigrant Petitions for Relatives

Facing a proposed law that slashes family-based immigration, Americans are scrambling to law firms to petition for visas for loved ones abroad to come here. NPR reports that President Trump wants Congress to limit the number of family members who Americans can sponsor to join them in the United States. The proposal has caused panic in some communities. Continue reading “Americans Scrambling to Submit Immigrant Petitions for Relatives”

National Vetting Center Established by Trump Administration

A new National Vetting Center is being established pursuant to National Security Presidential Memorandum 9, signed by President Trump on February 6. The Center will coordinate the way agencies use biographic, biometric, and other data used to vet applicants for visas, admission to the United States, and immigration benefits, and in enforcement and removal (deportation) actions. The Center will be housed within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Continue reading “National Vetting Center Established by Trump Administration”

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”

“Alias Certificates” Required from Immigrant Visa Applicants at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou

The latest Immigrant Visa Instructions published by the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou on Nov. 24, 2017, require that an applicant who has “ever used another name or alias on legal documentation or for other official purpose must provide a certified alias certificate” (别名证明文件). Continue reading ““Alias Certificates” Required from Immigrant Visa Applicants at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou”

Choosing the Best Visa Strategy for a Fiancée or Spouse: K-1, K-3, or CR1/IR1 Immigrant Visa?

A U.S. citizen planning to file a visa petition for a foreign fiancée or spouse who is outside the U.S. may have various strategies to choose from. The most common options are the K-1 fiancée visa, the K-3 visa, and the CR1/IR1 immigrant visa. This article analyzes the factors to be considered in choosing among such strategies. (The article does not discuss less commonly used strategies for foreign fiancées and spouses, such as applying for an H-1B or L-1 work visa). Continue reading “Choosing the Best Visa Strategy for a Fiancée or Spouse: K-1, K-3, or CR1/IR1 Immigrant Visa?”

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

Death by a Thousand Cuts: Naturalization Backlogs

The Trump administration’s war on immigration has included an array of tactics. There have been full frontal assaults, such as the Muslim ban, cancellation of DACA, the border wall, and the RAISE Act. Simultaneously, the Trump administration is using the tactic of death by a thousand cuts: numerous assaults in the administrative agencies and courts intended to make immigration slower, more expensive, and painful. Here’s but one example. Continue reading “Death by a Thousand Cuts: Naturalization Backlogs”

Death by a Thousand Cuts: Evisceration of the Foreign Service

The Trump administration’s war on immigration has included an array of tactics. There have been full frontal assaults, such as the Muslim ban, cancellation of DACA, the border wall, and the RAISE Act. Simultaneously, the Trump administration is using the tactic of death by a thousand cuts: numerous assaults in the administrative agencies and courts intended to make immigration slower, more expensive, and painful. Here’s but one example. Continue reading “Death by a Thousand Cuts: Evisceration of the Foreign Service”

What Counts as an American Institution of Research or International Organization for Purposes of Expeditious Naturalization?

You may qualify for expeditious naturalization in the United States if your U.S. citizen spouse is employed abroad by a listed American research institution or international organization.

Check out the below lists to see if you may qualify. Then, for more on expeditious naturalization, see here. Continue reading “What Counts as an American Institution of Research or International Organization for Purposes of Expeditious Naturalization?”

National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival

Chodorow Law Offices will be closed during the upcoming Chinese National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival holidays.

  • Sept. 30 (Saturday): Open.
  • Oct. 2-8: Closed.
  • Oct. 9 (Monday): Open.

Similarly, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates General will be closed, on the following schedule:

  • Oct. 2-8: Closed.
  • Oct. 9: Closed for Columbus Day (U.S. holiday).

Best wishes for the holidays. In the event of an emergency during the holidays, you can reach your case manager or attorney by cell phone.

Steve Miller, Meet Saum Song Bo: What the Statue of Liberty Symbolizes

On August 2, White House adviser Stephen Miller held a press conference defending President Donald Trump’s support for the RAISE Act, legislation that would reduce legal immigration to the United States.

CNN reporter Jim Acosta asked whether the bill is in keeping with Emma Lazarus’ sonnet, The New Colossus, at the base of the Statue of Liberty, which reads in part: Continue reading “Steve Miller, Meet Saum Song Bo: What the Statue of Liberty Symbolizes”

The RAISE Act Would Harm U.S. Families and Businesses

The Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act (RAISE) Act – introduced by Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue, with the support of President Trump – would eliminate the immigration system that we know today and replace it with a points-based system that ignores the benefits of family unity and the needs of U.S. employers. Continue reading “The RAISE Act Would Harm U.S. Families and Businesses”

Quick Takes on Visa Law News

Daniel Bell, Why Anyone Can Be Chinese (Wall St. Journal, July 14, 2017): Daniel Bell is a Canadian by birth who has who has taught political science in China for twenty years, speaks Chinese, and studies Confucian philosophy. In this essay, he writes, “I identify with Chinese culture” but objects that “no one considers me Chinese” because he is white. He wishes that China would “embrace those” like him “who meet the cultural criteria of Chineseness.” He recommends that China institute a “meritocratic immigration policy open to all.” / Bell’s most recent book, The China Model (2015), analyzes the philosophical and practical flaws of democracy, while arguing for the “China Model” in which a society’s leaders are chosen on the basis of meritocracy–through examinations and performance evaluations. Let’s put aside momentarily the question of to what extent China’s party-state really is meritocratic. Let’s also put aside the question of whether embracing “the cultural criteria of Chineseness” equates to merit. Bell’s yearning to belong is understandable because it is a primal, universal urge. But how can his proposed “meritocratic immigration system” overcome racial conceptions of what it means to be Chinese, especially since Bell says that “the obstacles are not legal”? Continue reading “Quick Takes on Visa Law News”