Applying to Renounce Chinese Citizenship

A child may automatically acquire dual citizenship in China and another country at birth. For example, a child born in China to a Chinese parent and a U.S. citizen parent may acquire both nationalities. Similarly, a child born in the U.S. to a U.S. citizen parent and a Chinese parent who has not settled in the U.S. may acquire both nationalities.

In some situations, it may be advantageous to renounce Chinese nationality. For example, in some Chinese cities, only foreigners may attend international schools. See generally Choosing Between U.S. and Chinese Citizenship: Pros and Cons.

This article begins with a summary of the rules regarding who automatically acquires Chinese citizenship at birth and then discusses the requirements and procedures for renunciation of Chinese nationality.

Note that in some situations Chinese nationality is lost automatically so there is no need to apply for renunciation. In particular, a Chinese citizen who has settled abroad and has either naturalized abroad or otherwise acquired foreign nationality of his or her own free will automatically loses Chinese nationality, under article 9 of the Nationality Law.

Who Automatically Acquires Chinese Citizenship at Birth?

This table summarizes who is automatically a Chinese citizen at birth according to the Nationality Law:

Place of Child’s BirthCitizenship of ParentsCitizenship of ChildSource of Law
ChinaOne or both is ChineseChineseNationality Law, article 4
Both parents are:
(a) stateless or uncertain nationality; and (b) have settled (定居) in China.
ChineseNationality Law, article 6
Neither is ChineseForeign
Abroad(a) One or both parents is Chinese and has settled (定居) abroad; and (b) the child has acquired foreign citizenship at birth.ForeignNationality Law, article 5
(a) At least one parent is Chinese; and
(b) Either:  (1) no Chinese parent has settled abroad; or (2) the child has not acquired foreign citizenship at birth.
ChineseNationality Law, article 5

Who Can Apply for Renunciation?

The requirements laid down in Articles 10 and 12 of the Nationality Law for renunciation of Chinese nationality are as follows:

Chinese nationals who meet one of the following conditions may renounce Chinese nationality upon approval of their applications:

  • they are close relatives of foreign nationals;
  • they have settled abroad; or
  • they have other legitimate reasons.

But state functionaries and military personnel on active service shall not renounce Chinese nationality.

Notice that renunciation of PRC citizenship is a “joint enterprise” in the sense that both the individual and the state must consent. See George Ginsburg, The 1980 Nationality Law of the People’s Republic of China, 30 Am. J. Comp. L. 459, 489 (1982).

Renunciation Procedures

Citizenship-related applications should be filed with the city or county’s public security bureau exit-entry administration, according to article 14 of the Nationality Law. Procedures to apply at the Beijing Exit-Entry Administration are here.

According to article 15, there’s also an option to file the renunciation application with a PRC embassy or consulate abroad. The National Immigration Agency confirms this at 申请办理退出中国国籍_办事指南_中国政府网 ( And the Foreign Ministry has a fee schedule for doing so: 行政事业性收费_中华人民共和国外交部 ( Nevertheless, as a practical matter, embassies and consulates resist accepting these applications. See Translation: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Release, “How Chinese Citizens Should Deal with Nationality Issues” (Apr. 14, 2008).

Applications of Chinese citizens under the age of 18 to renounce citizenship may be filed on their behalf by their parents or other legal representatives.

Upon determining that the application is complete, the local exit-entry administration should issue a receipt. Examination and approval is by the Ministry of Public Security. According to the PSB, this takes 45 business days. But the actual processing time can stretch to one year or more.

If an application for renunciation of Chinese citizenship is approved, you will be issued a certificate of renunciation of Chinese nationality (中华人民共和国退籍证书). You will need to surrender any valid Chinese passport for cancellation.

Now that you are recognized as a foreign national, you will also need to apply for a visa or residence permit. Currently, the Beijing Exit-Entry Administration is only issuing 60-day L visas to a child who has renounced Chinese nationality, meaning that the child will need to travel abroad and apply for a new visa that can be used to apply for a residence permit, such as an an S1 (dependent of foreign worker) or Q1 (family reunion).

Renunciation isn’t necessarily forever. Foreign nationals who once held Chinese nationality may apply for restoration of Chinese nationality if they have legitimate reasons.

92 responses to “Applying to Renounce Chinese Citizenship”

  1. Chris M. Avatar
    Chris M.

    Dear Gary,

    Thank you for all of your informative posts. I am living in China with my Chinese wife. I am an American citizen, and we are expecting a child in 3 months. I have contacted the U.S. Embassy, and it is not a problem to get a U.S. passport for our child. It is also my understanding that the child will automatically be a Chinese citizen. And China doesn’t recognize dual citizenship. The Embassy advised me to get a U.S. passport and a Chinese visa for the kid, and re enter on the U.S. passport. Can I have both a Chinese and U.S. passport for my child? I am getting really confused with renouncing Chinese citizenship and so forth. And wondering what I need to do. Will the child always be considered a Chinese citizen until it is renounced? Do I need to renounce citizenship? Thanks so much.

    Chris M.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Chris M.,

      For more information on whether your child will acquire U.S. citizenship at birth, see Guide to Acquisition of U.S. Citizenship by Birth Abroad.

      If the child is born in China and has one PRC citizen parent, then the child will be considered Chinese under the Nationality Law, as explained in the above article.

      Since China doesn’t recognize dual nationality, before you decide to apply for a U.S. passport or a PRC hukou for the child, decide which citizenship is most important to you. See Choosing Between U.S. and Chinese Citizenship: Pros and Cons.

      You will find people who advocate trying to hide from the PRC government the fact that a child holds a foreign passport. But if the PRC government discovers that the child has a U.S. passport, the PRC goverment will not issue the child a Chinese passport because to do so would be to recognize dual nationality.

      If U.S. citizenship is most important to you but you want the child to live in China, you may find that it’s preferable to renounce PRC citizenship. This is because many parents find it more convenient to have the child travel internationally with a PRC residence permit (居留证)rather than a document issued to PRC citizens not entitled to passport, namely, an Exit and Entry Permit (出入境通行证) issued by the public security bureau’s exit‐entry administration or a Travel Document (旅行证) issued by a PRC embassy or consulate abroad. Further, in some cities, a child who is a PRC citizen will not be admitted to international school.

      Finally, you may find that it’s beneficial to meet with a PRC immigration lawyer to decide on a strategy. If you’re interested, do so before applying for the U.S. passport in order to keep your options open until you make an informed decision about what to do.

  2. Mei Liu Avatar
    Mei Liu


    My family moved to the States in 1996, including my brother Zhuo who was 16 years old at the time of the move. Since then all my family became US citizen, except for Zhuo. He has a mental illness and is in a mental institution. He wants help to renounce his Chinese citizenship. The purpose is to receive certain government benefits. Can he renounce his Chinese citizenship?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar


      This sounds like a complex situation.

      My first question is, what government benefits Zhuo is seeking, and how would renunciation of his Chinese citizenship influence his eligibility for those benefits? Generally, eligibility for U.S. benefits turns on his U.S. immigration status, not on what his foreign citizenship is, so I don’t understand the purpose of renunciation.

      The second question is whether your brother is eligible for U.S. citizenship. It may be worth consulting with our firm or another competent immigration lawyer. (If your brother is low-income, here’s a list of nonprofit immigration legal services:

      Finally, as to renunciation of Chinese citizenship, a threshhold question is whether he has another citizenship. If not, renunciation would leave him stateless. That would make him ineligible for a passport and cause other problems. In order to avoid such problems, China generally refuses to allow renunciation where it would render the individual stateless.

  3. Gemma Avatar

    Hi. We are planning to renounce my childrens Chinese citizenship (they are Chinese/British due to parents birthplace). We currently live in China. My eldest child holds a Chinese passport. We have been told that we must apply for his British passport before applying to renounce his citizenship. I’m trying to find out (and failing), how he would travel from China to the UK during the process which could take 6-12 months.
    In the past he has traveled with his Chinese passport which included the Right of Abode to the UK. This passport has just expired and hence the right of abode has also expired. We have just got his new Chinese passport but my understanding is that he can’t have the right of abode to the UK if he holds a British passport. So, as he must leave China on his Chinese passport with a valid visa to the UK, how can he do this with 2 passports as he can’t get a British visa in the Chinese passport as he’s a British citizen. As he already has a Chinese passport it is my understanding that he can’t apply for the Chinese exit/entry permit?
    So again, how would he travel to the UK for a holiday (we will return to China) before the renouncing process is completed?
    I’m confused! Thanks.

    1. J.C. Avatar

      The British Consulate will definitely issue a visa in a Chinese passport of a British national. While some countries refuse to issue visas to their own citizens, the UK is not one of them.

      Another option you have is entering a third country (or Hong Kong) on the Chinese passport and then travel onward to the UK on the UK passport. Structuring you travel in this manner may be more expensive then just obtaining a UK visa in the child’s Chinese passport.

  4. P.T. Avatar

    I am American and my wife is Chinese and we live in Hubei province. I am in the process of being fired from my job as my wife is pregnant with our second child. My child has both a Chinese passport and an American passport. She has never traveled out of China. My boss said that if I can cancel my child’s hukou (and thereby her Chinese passport), then I can keep my job. After reading your blog and others, it seems that the process to renounce my child’s Chinese citizenship within China would take much too long for my employer’s taste (i.e. my second child would already be born). Do you know if renouncing Chinese citizenship outside of China can be done more quickly than within? Thanks for any advice you can give!

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar


      I’d be interested to know what type of employer you work for–is it government or a state-owned enterprise?

      In any case, there’s a difference between renouncing PRC citizenship and cancelling one’s hukou. Think of it this way: the hukou is a document verifying registration of each family’s permanent residence in China. The government has found it useful to assign each family a residence for purposes of maintaining social order and doling out benefits. The hukou is evidence of citizenship, according to the Household Registration Regulations. And, the hukou is a required document to apply for a passport, according to the Passport Law. But cancellation of the hukou doesn’t amount to renunciation of citizenship.

      It seems to me that under Beijing rules, the hukou of a child with a foreign passport can be cancelled on the spot by the public security bureau at a parnet’s request. That’s a separate process than applying for renunciation of PRC citizenship. And there’s no need to first do the renunciation. I haven’t checked Hubei rules regarding hukou cancellation.

      Of course, before you pull the trigger, first, confirm that cancelling the hukou without renouncing PRC citizenship will mollify your boss, and second, think carefully about the rights and privileges that your child will lose by not having a hukou as evidence of citizenship.

      1. P.T. Avatar

        Thanks for your response. I work at a state university. Cancelling hukou would satisfy my boss, but I think she is also conflating citizenship and holding a hukou. So, it is good to know that it could be done relatively quickly. The reason we got my child a hukou in the first place was so that we would have one to cancel if need be. I had read some stories about people being required to get their children a hukou and then cancel it, before the PSB would give the child an “exit visa”. In hindsight it was a bad choice.

        1. EC Avatar

          I realize this is a very dated comment thread, but I have the exact same situation. We are living in Beijing, our newborn will be considered Chinese, but my husband’s hukou is in Heilongjiang (23 hours away) and we do not plan on adding the baby to the hukou. We will be applying for Canadian citizenship and passport instead. Will it be a problem to not have the hukou when we go to apply for the exit/entry permit?

            1. EC Avatar

              Thank you Gary 👍

  5. Jason Bibeau Avatar
    Jason Bibeau

    My child was born in China in 2010. I am a U.S. citizen and my wife was a Chinese citizen (with a U.S. green card) at the time of the birth. We got a US passport for the child in Beijing and then got an exit permit. We left China as fast as we could in April 2011. Now we want to go back and are being denied a travel visa for our child. They’re asking us to come to the NY consulate in person with the child to apply for a travel document to enter China again. We have 2 children older than her that got their visas no problem in 2006 and 2008. Do you know of a new law or is this just an old law they are deciding to enforce this time?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar


      It sounds like your child was born in China to a PRC citizen mother, in which case your child too is classified by the Chinese government as a PRC citizen under the 1980 Nationality Law, as discussed above.

      The “exit permit” you refer to sounds like a 出境入境通行证 (Exit and Entry Permit), which is issued just to PRC citizens who are ineligible for PRC passsports because of the “nationality conflict” of holding a foreign passport. See Applying for a PRC Exit and Entry Permit for a Child with Dual Nationality.

      Since your child is a PRC citizen, no PRC visa will be placed in the foreign passport. That would be tantamount to recognizing dual nationality, which is not permitted by the Nationality Law.

      So your child may wish to apply for the Travel Permit (旅行证), which–like the “Exit and Entry Permit”–is issued to PRC citizens ineligible for passports. This option is described briefly in the “Applying for a PRC Exit and Entry Permit” article. Or, you may wish to apply to renounce the child’s PRC citizenship. To decide which you prefer, see See Choosing Between U.S. and Chinese Citizenship: Pros and Cons.

      If your older children are also PRC citizens but previously received PRC visas in foreign passports, don’t assume that they will necessarily receive PRC visas again. The nationality issue could still arise.

  6. Steven Price Avatar
    Steven Price


    Very informative. We are encountering the issue where I’m American and my Wife is Chinese. Our son born in China has a US passport and a consular report of birth abroad as well as a Chinese birth certificate. We just started to look at getting PRC visas for a family visit and ran into this issue with our son that was born in China.

    It looks like the most expedient path is to travel to the consulate and apply for the travel document. Does that require the local security office to grant an exit document when they are ready to come home?

    Also, if he enters China in that fashion will the US consulate treat him as a US citizen and will he be granted the help a US citizen would get if needed.

    In the long run it appears that renouncing his citizenship is the best course of action. How long would that take?


    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar


      An application for a Travel Permit (旅行证 lvxingzheng) is made at a PRC consulate. The document is valid for multiple entries to–and exits from–China over a 2-year period. The Travel Permit may be issued to a PRC citizen ineligible for a PRC passport due to a so-called nationality conflict. More at

      The U.S. Embassy or Consulate in China will treat the child as a U.S. citizen. However, the Chinese government will treat the child as a PRC citizen, which means that if the child is detained the child may not be given access to U.S. consular officials.

      Applying for renunciation of PRC citizenship takes at least several months.

  7. Chelsea Avatar

    I am British born and my husband is Chinese born. We had our baby son born in England. He has a British passport.

    I recently tried to apply for a Chinese visa for him to go and visit his Chinese family, I was told than my son is recognised as Chinese.
    They said I need to get him a Chinese Travel document in order to travel.

    But how do I get him out of China when the British government will not issue a British visa for somebody who already has a British passport. Also, I cannot get him an exit visa on his British passport as he is recognised as being Chinese.

    Is there any way my husband can renounce our son’s Chinese nationality without myself or my son being in England. I am not willing to take my son in to China on the Chinese travel documents.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar


      You first ask about the Travel Permit (旅行证). If abroad, the child may apply for a Travel Permit (旅行证 lvxingzheng) at a PRC consulate, valid for multiple entries to and exits from China over a 2-year period. Like the Exit and Entry Permit, the Travel Permit may be issued to a PRC citizen ineligible for a PRC passport due to a so-called nationality conflict.

      Your child would be able to exit China with the Travel Permit and then enter the UK with his British passport.

      If you are interested in applying for renounce PRC citizenship, the application can be made in China with the city or county’s public security bureau exit-entry administration. An application may also be filed with a PRC Embassy or Consulate abroad.

  8. David Avatar

    I am British, and my wife is Chinese. Daughter due end of the year. Plan on leaving China in 5 years or so and for education in private schools until we leave. The hospital in Shanghai and the Yuezi resort my wife is booked in seem familiar with mixed race marriages/ births in China and suggest to us
    1. Get the child’s name on the birth certificate in English only- possible in Shanghai.
    2. Do NOT put the child on the hukou
    3. Apply for British passport by mail for our daughter and get her visa to reside in China…
    Does this sound right?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Your daughter will be a PRC citizen since she will be born in China to a PRC citizen parent. That’s per article 4 of the 1980 Nationality Act, as explained above.

      As a PRC citizen, your daughter will not be eligible for a PRC visa. Article 3 of the Nationality Law states, “The People’s Republic of China does not recognize dual nationality for any Chinese national.” In other words, once it is determined that a person is a PRC national, the second nationality will not be recognized.

      You can weigh the options of renouncing your daughter’s PRC citizenship or retaining it.

  9. Marco Avatar

    Dear Gary,

    Is my son really Chinese?

    I am Italian citizen. I married my Chinese wife in Wenzhou (Zhejiang) in 2007. Then our son was born in February 2008 in China. We applied for his Italian passport, and we got it in few months. After that, our son exited first time with a temporary entry exit permit. We went to Italy and applied for a visa at the Chinese Consulate in Milan. After that, he got residence permits from the PSB for three years (2008, 2009 and 2010) as the son of a foreign parent employed in China.

    In 2011 we went back to Italy, and relocated there for four years. My wife got Italian citizenship in 2014. And we came in early June 2015 to China for holiday successfully applying for visas to visit my wife’s daughter.

    And finally, in August we came to China because I found a new job in Shanghai, got visa a Z for myself and S1 for all my relatives, including my son.

    Then, yesterday, while applying for the residence permit in Shanghai, it was a nighmare! The officer requested the document stating my son renunciation of Chinese citizenship. I still don’t understand how is possible he got visas and 3 residence permits in the past but now is being denied.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Your son is a PRC citizen since he was born in China to a PRC citizen parent. That’s per article 4 of the 1980 Nationality Act, as explained above.

      It’s not uncommon for children in this situation to be issued PRC visas. But it is incorrect because the Nationality Law’s article 3 states, “Article 3 The People’s Republic of China does not recognize dual nationality for any Chinese national.” In other words, once it is determined that a person is a PRC national, the second nationality will not be recognized.

      As a PRC citizen, your son doesn’t need a foreigner’s residence permit in China. You can weigh the options of renouncing PRC citizenship or retaining it.

      1. Phil Sexton Avatar
        Phil Sexton

        Hey all,

        Everything in the renunciation process has been a nightmare!

        My son was born 10 months ago. We started the process of renouncing citizenship before he was even born. Our planwas that 28 days after being born he was going to visit the states. But it took us 6 months of fighting just to be able to submit paperwork to renounce Chinese citizenship.

        We first asked the visa office in Suzhou (where I work). They said that I needed to submit for renunciation. The officer showed us the form but refused to give us a copy. I’m glad to have found it on this website. (Thanks Gary!) My wife’s home town said renunciation was impossible. The regional government told us we needed to have already been living overseas for two years. The national law says that as long as ‘a close reletive’ is of a different nationality you can renounce citizenship. So we went to the next step, being the provincial capital (Nanjing). They were unwilling to meet us at first. Then I told them I was going to wait in the lobby until I was granted a meeting with an official. I was told that the official was on ‘a trip’ I said no problem I will wait, and was going to start calling newspapers in the afternoon. Finally, they said that someone would come down after lunch. An official did come down, and she called the regional office telling the regional office to let us submit paperwork. We showed up the next day and had to submit all paperwork in triplicate.

        We are unsure if paperwork was sent to Nanjing or put in the trash, but we handed in the papers. Then after 3 months in processing we were asked for two more photos (unsure why as we had to have photos on the original submission). We have no idea when we may see the renunciation come through. I have been told it may take up to 3 years…. Don’t know if we will still be in China that long, and am put off having our second child in China due to all of the stuff we have had to deal with.

  10. Ray Avatar


    I have a question regarding the renouncing Chinese citizenship. I was born in China. I am married to US citizen. We lived in the USA for the last 10 years. Last year I received US citizenship through naturalization. And I am holding US passport, while my old Chinese passport is not expired. Now we are living and working in Indonesia on an international assignment. I have to travel to China for a business trip. To get a Chinese visa, do I need to renounce my Chinese citizenship?

    Thanks a lot!

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar


      Under the Nationality Law,

      Article 9 Any Chinese national who has settled abroad and who has been naturalized as a foreign national or has acquired foreign nationality of his own free will shall automatically lose Chinese nationality.

      第九条 定居外国的中国公民,自愿加入或取得外国国籍的,即自动丧失中国国籍。

      Sounds like you were settled abroad, applied for, and were granted U.S. naturalization. If so, upon naturalization, you automatically lost Chinese nationality. And in that case, you don’t need to renounce your Chinese nationality. You will, however, need to present your last PRC passport in addition to your U.S. passport at the time you apply for a PRC visa.

      1. Emma Avatar

        Hi Gary, does this rule still apply now if you automatically lost Chinese nationality upon naturalization then you do not need to renounce the Chinese citizenship? If it needs, can renunciation be applied in the U.S.? TIA.

        1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

          Emma: Loss of Chinese nationality under section 9 of the Nationality Law is automatic (自动), so there is no need not apply to renounce it under section 10.

  11. An Avatar

    Hi Gary-

    We have been settled in the US for over 2 years. I am a Chinese citizen and U.S. green card holder, and my husband is American. My son was born in China but has a US passport. Recently I needed to take my son to China. I was told by the Chinese consulate that my son needs a travel document and needs to go to China to renounce his Chinese nationality. I had my friend go to the Shanghai public security bureau exit-entry administration to ask about the renunciation procedure. They said if the child has been settled overseas for 2 years, he automatically gives up Chinese nationality. What do I do?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Hi An:

      First, as you know, a child born in China to a PRC parent is a PRC citizen, under Nationality Law art. 4.

      Second, contrary to what the Shanghai PSB may have told you, under the Nationality Law, moving overseas for 2 years doesn’t cause a PRC citizen to lose his or her citizenship.

      Finally, a PRC citizen who wishes to apply to renounce that citizenship may apply either at a PRC consular post abroad or at the PSB exit-entry administration with jurisdiction over his or her residence, according to Nationality Law, art. 15. In your case, you may have been misinformed by the consulate and the PSB.

  12. Ryan Jenkin Avatar
    Ryan Jenkin

    I am Canadian, my wife is Chinese, and our son was born in 2008 in China. In 2014 I was in China and told by the visa issuing officer that my son would not be able to leave china with me because he was Chinese, and China wouldn’t recognize his Canadian passport. I took my son to a different government office and got him a 30-day travel permit. My wife, son and I then came to Canada where we have now been living for 2 years. What will happen to my son if we visit China? We are afraid to take him to China to visit my wife’s family because we are afraid they won’t let him leave again. What should we do?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar


      As explained above, a child acquires PRC nationality automatically at birth if born in China to a Chinese mother. Under China’s Nationality Law, article 4, the PRC government doesn’t recognize the dual nationality of Chinese citizens. If a PRC citizen holding a second country’s passport would like to travel to China, he will typically not be issued a PRC passport but can be issued a Travel Permit (旅行证 lvxingzheng). The application for a Travel Permit can be made at a PRC consulate. The Travel Permit is typically valid for multiple entries to China over a 2-year period. In the alternative, as explained above, the child can apply to renounce PRC citizenship, and then apply for a PRC visa.

      1. Ryan Jenkin Avatar
        Ryan Jenkin

        Thank you. I appreciate the swift answer.

  13. Seb Chalmeton Avatar
    Seb Chalmeton

    Hi Gary,

    I am French, my wife is Chinese, and our daughter was born in September 2015 in New York. We all live in the US. I have a US green card and will be applying to US citizenship this summer. My wife receives her green card at the end of 2015, after having a work permit (EAD Card) for more than a year. Our daughter has a US passport. We plan to go in China in April to visit family and were told today by the Chinese Consulate that our daughter cannot get a visa and needs to apply to a travel document. While applying to the travel document, we realized that the Chinese Consulate refuse to recognize her US passport, which is extremely confusing and frustrating. They also asked us to correct her birth certificate because my second middle name that is on my passport is not indicated on her birth certificate. Very painful (actually, this second middle name is not on my green card either or on our marriage certificate). Obviously, the Chinese consulate has decided to make it complicated for us. I understand from your site that according to Chinese authority, our daughter falls in this category of Chinese citizen that cannot get a Chinese passport either because of dual passport issue. Quite frankly, we don’t really want her to have a Chinese citizenship since she’s born in the US and we intend to stay in the US. What should we do? Should we apply to this Travel Document anyway for this trip and then go for the Chinese citizenship renunciation process afterwards? We don’t intend to live in China for now, just travel there occasionally. Can you also confirm that the status of “settling abroad” for the Chinese parent only means “Green card obtained before birth of the child”? Technically, my wife was no longer under a US visa, while our daughter was born. She was already under an EAD, and waiting for her green card. Doesn’t it qualify as “settling abroad”? Thanks in advance.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Seb: “Settled” is best interpreted as having the right to reside in a country indefinitely, such as with permanent resident status. So an EAD alone wouldn’t qualify a person as “settled” in the U.S. And yes, you may want to have your daughter travel on a Travel Permit now and renounce her PRC citizenship later if your goal in the future is for her to China on a U.S. passport with a PRC visa.

  14. debi Avatar

    Thank you, Gary for this informative website. My daughter is preparing to leave for a college study abroad internship in China in about 4 weeks. After reading these articles, I am concerned about her ability to travel. The Chinese visa applications are being submitted now by the professor who is leading the trip to China. My daughter was born in China, but was abandoned and placed for adoption. I am a US citizen and her only adoptive parent. I adopted her in 1997 (she was age 18 months) and brought her to the US, where we have lived continuously since then. She had a Chinese passport when I adopted her. She received her US Certificate of Citizenship in 2000 (age 4). She has held a US passport since 2006. In 2007, we traveled back to China for 15 days for a tour. For that trip, she had a Chinese visa on her US passport, processed through the Chinese Consulate office in Texas. That passport expired in 2012. She applied for and received a new US passport in 2015. As part of the Visa application, she is required to provide this prior Chinese visa. Do the Nationality Laws apply to her? If so, will the Chinese consulate here refuse to issue a visa for her travel to China? Thank you.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar


      Thank you for your question. To recap the background facts, as I understand them, and the related law:

      • Your adopted daughter was born in China to a Chinese national parent. Therefore, she was a PRC citizen at birth.
      • You are a U.S. citizen. You adopted your daughter in China. She entered the U.S. with an immigrant visa.
      • Your daughter was issued a Certificate of Citizenship by USCIS, evidencing the fact that she became a U.S. citizen automatically when she met the following requirements: (1) she had at least one U.S. citizen parent; (2) she was under 18 years of age; and (3) she was residing permanently in the U.S. in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent.

      So the PRC law question is whether your daughter ever lost her PRC citizenship without going through the renunciation procedure. Article 9 of the Nationality Law reads as follows:

      第九条 定居外国的中国公民,自愿加入或取得外国国籍的,即自动丧失中国国籍

      Article 9 Any Chinese national who has settled abroad and who, of his own free will, has either been naturalized or otherwise acquired foreign nationality shall automatically lose Chinese nationality.

      In your daughter’s situation, since she AUTOMATICALLY became a U.S. citizen–and especially because she was so young–she can’t be said to have become a U.S. citizen of her own “free will.” Therefore, it seems to me that she remains a PRC citizen. It appears that the PRC Consulate in Houston made a mistake in issuing her a PRC visa previously because the Chinese government doesn’t recognize dual nationality and therefore shouldn’t have given her any benefit based on the foreign passport.

      It seems to me that if she wants to travel to China she has the option either (a) to obtain a lvxingzheng (travel permit for PRC citizens ineligible for passports) or (b) to renounce PRC citizenship and then apply for a PRC visa.

      A word of caution. I don’t know the complete facts of your daughter’s situation. The complete facts could alter the analysis. Also, the PRC government may not share my interpretation of the Nationality Law. Therefore, please don’t take this analysis as legal advice. Instead, take this analysis as a word of caution that you should speak with a competent PRC immigration lawyer–from our firm or otherwise–who can learn and analyze the complete facts of your case and then research how the PRC government analyzes the application of the law to those facts.

  15. Rudy Zizhong Guo Avatar
    Rudy Zizhong Guo

    Hi Gary, I was born in China to two Chinese citizens. Since then, my family immigrated to the US through claims of asylum. My parents became US citizens when I was 16 and I derived US citizenship from them.

    In 2008, my N-600 application was approved by USCIS and I went to the local office to swear-in as an US citizen and received my Certificate of Citizenship.

    Now, 17 years after I had left China, I want to visit China and am applying for a tourist (L) visa. But I am now worried if I am even eligible to apply for a L visa or if I am still considered a Chinese citizen by the PRC.

    Thank you,

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar


      Your case seems analogous to Debi’s above, in that you may not have become a U.S. citizen of your “own free will,” with the result that you may not have lost your Chinese nationality under Article 9 of the PRC Nationality Law:

      第九条 定居外国的中国公民,自愿加入或取得外国国籍的,即自动丧失中国国籍

      Article 9. Any Chinese national who has settled abroad and who, of his own free will, has either been naturalized or otherwise acquired foreign nationality shall automatically lose Chinese nationality.

      It sounds like you may have become a U.S. citizen under section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which states:

      Sec. 320. [8 U.S.C. 1431] (a) A child born outside of the United States automatically becomes a citizen of the United States when all of the following conditions have been fulfilled:

      (1) At least one parent of the child is a citizen of the United States, whether by birth or naturalization.

      (2) The child is under the age of eighteen years.

      (3) The child is residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence.

      If your Certificate of Citizenship shows that it was issued under section 320, then you “automatically” became a U.S. citizen, without applying or taking any other step of your “own free will,” in which case you also remain a PRC citizen under article 9 of the PRC Nationality Law. (If your certificate was issued under section 320, then your memory may be off because no oath of citizenship is required.)

      Assuming you became a U.S. citizen under section 320, then you can apply for a Travel Document (旅行证) to travel to China. As a PRC citizen entering China on a PRC travel document, you will not be guaranteed access to U.S. consular officers. If that’s important to you, then you have the option to first renounce PRC citizenship then apply for a tourist visa.

  16. Jack Avatar

    Dear Gary,

    My infant son was born in China. His mother is Chinese. I am American. I’ve already obtained the U.S. passport and Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) for him.

    I went to the local PSB and they said they shouldn’t have a problem issuing the exit permit.

    When I inquired about renouncing my son’s Chinese citizenship, they told me: “you cannot, because he needs to make that decision himself. And he is not old enough to speak or tell us that is what he wants to do, so you cannot do that.”

    What do you suggest for dealing with this official, who misunderstands the Nationality Law?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar


      Yes, the official was mistaken. The Nationality Law, article 14, states that for nationality renunciation applications: “Applications of persons under the age of 18 may be filed on their behalf by their parents or other legal representatives.” In smaller cities and rural areas, much of the job of the immigration lawyer in renunciation cases is educating local officials about the law and, where necessary, escalating issues to higher officials who can properly instruct lower officials.

    2. Phillip Sexton Avatar
      Phillip Sexton

      Dear Jack,

      We ran into something similar. The smaller local towns didn’t know the law. We showed them, and they would not accept it. We then went to the regional office, and got a different story why we could not renounce. We finally had to go to the provincial offices and we finally were able to talk to someone and then were able to get them to call the regional office and they directed the regional office to allow for our application. It has been 16 months since we were able to submit paper work and still nothing yet…

      As a result of all of this mess we are choosing not to have our second child born in China.

      Phillip Sexton

  17. Pierre Richard Avatar
    Pierre Richard

    Dear Gary,

    I am Canadian, my wife is Chinese with a Beijing hukou, and our daughter was born in 2012 in Beijing. She has never left China, but we would like to visit Canada soon. My daughter holds a Canadian passport. We tried to get her a hukou last year, but it was denied because her name is written in French (not Chinese) in her birth certificate. If she cannot not get a hukou, is she really considered Chinese?

    Thanks for your help,


    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Pierre: Yes, your daughter is a Chinese citizen if she was born in China to a Chinese mother. See “Who Automatically Acquires Chinese Citizenship at Birth?” above. By denying the hukou, the government has denied her a certain type of evidence of her Chinese citizenship but has not denied that she is a citizen.

  18. Billy Avatar

    My wife is a PRC national (Shanghai hukou) and I am British. Our son was born in November 2016. We got him a British passport soon after birth and would like to renounce his PRC citizenship.

    I am not sure if the rules have changed, but the Pudong EEAB is telling us that it is not possible to renounce PRC citizenship while in China unless the Chinese parent already has permanent residence of another country – not our case. The only way is for us to leave China and settle permanently in another country (this may have to be the country of the overseas citizenship, but this is not clear) and then at some point in the future (after an unspecified period) go to the local PRC embassy and ask for a China visa. Based on that they will then cancel the PRC citizenship.

    This is a significant concern for us, as it seems we cannot renounce the citizenship while we are here, and if our next destination is not the UK (which is likely to be the case) we cannot be sure of being able to do it even then.

    Do you have any insights?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar


      As mentioned above, under Articles 10 and 12 of the Nationality Law, Chinese nationals who meet one of the following conditions may renounce Chinese nationality upon approval of their applications: (a) they are close relatives of foreign nationals; (b) they have settled abroad; or (c) they have other legitimate reasons. So there is no rule that the applicant’s mother must have permanent resident status in another country. However, as also mentioned abroad, renunciation of PRC citizenship is a “joint enterprise” in the sense that both the individual and the state must consent. So the trick may be to educate the EEAB as to the law in order to secure their consent. That education function is a key role for the lawyer in renunciation cases, especially in smaller cities and rural areas.

  19. Mike Avatar

    Hi Gary,

    I am a naturalized U.S. citizen born in China. I heard that China changed its law to allow for allow dual citizenship, Can I benefit from this change?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Mike: Sorry, but the Nationality Law article 3, which states that China does not recognize dual nationality for any Chinese national, has not changed. Perhaps more important for you, article 9 has not changed. It states that a PRC national who settles abroad and then naturalizes automatically loses PRC nationality.

  20. James Avatar

    My wife and I are British Citizens adopting a Chinese child under the ex-pat adoption program (living in China). He will come with a PRC passport, and we’ll need to apply for British citizenship for him (which takes around 6 months). During the application process we will return to the UK. I see on this forum many people with difficulties when someone holds two passports so would also like to renounce his Chinese citizenship. Is this possible to do whilst in the UK? I could not find any information on the UK Chinese embassy website or application forms. I’d rather not do it whilst in China itself as the process seems complicated and long winded, and may require going to the child’s place of birth (1000kms from where we live). Any advice appreciated!

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Although not discussed in this article, an application for renunciation of citizenship may be filed with a PRC Embassy or Consulate abroad.

      1. Jim Wang Avatar
        Jim Wang

        Do you have a list or any information about which Embassies or Consulates can provide this service? i live in the Uk and i have contacted each Embassy and Consulate and they have all told me that this service is not offered in the United Kindom and that i would first need to get my child a travel document and the try to apply in mainland China.

        1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

          Jim: Article 15 of the Nationality Law states that “Nationality applications at home shall be handled by the public security bureaus of the municipalities or counties where the applicants reside; nationality applications abroad shall be handled by China’s diplomatic representative agencies and consular offices.” If the Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over the place where you reside refuses to handle your application, you or your attorney may want to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ask them to direct the Embassy or Consulate to accept your application.

  21. Charles Avatar

    I am a US citizen, and my wife is a US legal permanent resident. I have been posted in Shanghai for the past few years for work, and our daughter was born here. She has a US passport and consular report of birth abroad (CRBA). She also has a Shanghai hukou and China passport. In the past, she has departed China by showing the China passport and U.S. pro forma visas. But the whole process has become a bit more difficult, and traveling to other countries usually requires obtaining visas which we would not have to do if she just used her US passport. We tried applying to renounce her Chinese citizenship at the Chinese consulate in New York, but were told we would have to return to China and handle that here. I understand the process can take a year or longer. While an application to renounce Chinese citizenship is in process, will my daughter still be able to enter and exit China on her China passport, or can we apply for exit-entry permits for her? Thank you.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Charles: A PRC citizen with a pending application to renounce that status can still use her PRC passport. In the alternative, to apply for an exit-entry permit, you may be able to take these steps: (1) show the PSB where your daughter’s hukou is registered that your daughter has a foreign passport; (2) the PSB would as a consequence cancel your daughter’s hukou; (3) then you could show the cancelled hukou to the PSB Exit-Entry Administration, who would cancel the PRC passport; and (4) apply for an exit-entry permit on the basis that your daughter is a PRC citizen but has no right to a PRC passport because she holds a foreign passport.

      1. Charles Avatar

        Charles, thanks for the advice above. We have still not taken any action as my daughter’s pro forma visa was valid until this past month, but now we are back to square one. We could either apply to the US consulate for another pro forma visa again, or consider the steps you have outlined above to get an exit and entry permit. Can you provide any kind of estimate as to how long this might take?

        1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

          Likely, you can complete those steps to get the exit & entry permit within a couple weeks.

  22. Kennedy Avatar


    This article is a fantastic, I’m so thankful I happened upon it.

    My wife and I are Americans by birth, living in Shanghai. We adopted a young boy from Xian earlier this year, canceled his hukou (at the direction of our adoption agency), and have successfully obtained his US citizenship. We are now trying to get residence permit for him in Shanghai, but they are requiring proof of renunciation of PRC citizenship, which we don’t have. Your article confirms this is necessary–it seems that many folks are unaware of this requirement, and in many places residence permits are granted based on hukou cancelation and do not require any other documentation proving renunciation of citizenship (we’ve asked many folks who’ve adopted in China and are living in China, none of them have ever been asked for that).

    We will apply for renunciation of citizenship. If done on the mainland, must this be done in the place of birth (Xian, in this case) or can I do this in Shanghai (or any other city)?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Citizenship-related applications filed with the public security bureau (PSB) should be filed with the city or county-level PSB bureau exit-entry administration where the hukou was registered.

  23. Todd Hayden Avatar
    Todd Hayden


    I found your informative web site while searching for rules on reacquiring Chinese citizenship by a naturalized US citizen.

    My reading of the PRC Nationality Law is that my son may be a PRC citizen despite birth in the U.S.

    His mother since obtained a green card in about 2012 followed by US citizenship in 2017. She recently obtained a Chinese visa in her U.S. passport and reports that her Chinese passport was clipped.

    My primary concern is possible child abduction to China by his mother, and the risks due to China not being a party to the Hague Convention and the US State Department warnings of Chinese Government failing to cooperate in instances of child abduction.

    My question is, does my son’s apparent Chinese citizenship, in the eyes of the PRC Government, make him more of a “legal” abduction risk should he step foot in China?

    Thank you.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Todd: I’m not in a position to answer your question about preventing international parental child abduction. You may want to start your research here on the U.S. State Department’s related page:

  24. Marco Avatar

    Thanks a lot for this article.
    I’m a foreign citizen, my wife is Chinese and our child will be born in China. We plan to give foreign citizenship to our child. I have a few doubts:
    – When registering the child’s Chinese + foreign name at birth do we also register both Chinese + foreign surnames?
    – Is it possible or even better to avoid registering the child’s hukou? I see people here in the comments had issues with that.
    – Once we get a foreign passport for our child and renounce the Chinese citizenship, do we need to wait until the Chinese citizenship is officially cancelled before we all move to my country?
    Thank you

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Marco: If your goal is to renounce PRC citizenship for the child, then:
      * You can ask for the birth certificate to list the child’s name in the Latin alphabet, not Chinese characters.
      * You need not apply for a hukou for the child.
      * The child can travel abroad before renouncing PRC citizenship by applying for a 出境入境通行证 (Exit and Entry Permit).

      1. Marco Avatar

        Thanks. Then I guess with an Exit and Entry Permit the child who goes abroad still needs to come back to China…

        1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

          Marco: It’s OK for a child to leave China with the Exit and Entry permit and then stay abroad after it expires. If the child later wants to return to China, they can apply to a PRC Embassy or Consulate for a 旅行证 or wait until the renunciation of citizenship process has been completed to apply for a PRC visa in their foreign passport.

          1. Marco Avatar

            Thanks so much!

  25. Marco Avatar

    Hi Gary, thanks again for the article.
    My child (foreign+Chinese parents) was born in China a few months ago, but we always planned to immediately move back to my country for good, so we got him a foreign passport and we’re now ready to leave China. He has only a foreign name on his birth certificate, has no hukou and no other Chinese documents. My question is: do we still need to formally renounce Chinese citizenship for him or it’s not necessary? We understand that if he comes back to China he’ll do so as a foreigner, with a Chinese visa on his foreign passport. I’m just not sure whether we still need to renounce Chinese citizenship or not…? Thank you

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Marco: The only goal you mention for your child is departing China. It is not necessary to renounce PRC citizenship to achieve that goal. You can apply at the Public Security Bureau’s Exit and Entry administration for an Exit and Entry Permit for the child to depart China. Read more at Applying for a PRC Exit and Entry Permit for a Child with Dual Nationality.

      1. Marco Avatar

        Thanks! I had mistakenly believed that renouncing PRC citizenship was mandatory.
        Is the Exit-Entry permit needed even if we’re not coming back to China?

        1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

          Marco: Yes, to depart China through immigration control, the child will need the Exit and Entry Permit.

  26. Will M. Avatar
    Will M.

    Hi Gary, I submitted my daughters citizenship renunciation 10 months ago in her mother’s hometown in Liaoning Province. They accepted the documents and told us it would be submitted to authorities in Beijing. I’m beginning to worry because it has been so long. Do you have any recent information regarding what the normal wait time is to receive the renunciation receipt? My daughter has her US passport & SSN. I just need her renunciation receipt so she can get added to my residence permit, attend international school, and enter/exit the country easily.


    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Hi Will. If I am understanding your question correctly, you want to know when you will get the renunciation “receipt”. The PSB Exit-Entry Bureau should have taken your filing fee and given you a “receipt” when you filed the application. Did you not receive one?

  27. Tony Avatar

    What if a child is naturalized as a citizen of another country? Will they lose their Chinese citizenship automatically?

  28. Zack Avatar

    Hello Gary.

    I’m American and my wife is Chinese.

    Our daughter was born in 2018 in china. She currently holds American and Chinese citizenship and both passports. She has never left china.

    We want to leave china and go to America in June of this year (2022).

    I’m afraid renouncing citizenship will take too long. Will my child be able to leave with her American passport?


    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Zack: A child can’t exit China with a U.S. passport that contains no China visa. That’s because when the child goes through the China immigration check the child has no proof of being in China lawfully. See Applying for a PRC Exit and Entry Permit for a Child with Dual Nationality for more about that permit and other travel options. Feel free to Schedule a Consultation to discuss in further detail.

  29. Nick Avatar

    Hi Gary,
    My wife had chinese citizenship since her birth but then she moved to Mauritius and settled down. She has mauritian nationality and passport too. We informed the Chinese ambassy and they took her chinese passport and ID. Doesnt this mean that she has now no chinese citizenship? I am now in Nanjing and when applying for her long stay visa (Q1) to visit her parents, the entry-exit officers are telling her to cancel her HUKOU and wont process her visa. I dont understand the situation anymore. Please advise. Thank you

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Nick: Under the Nationality Law, if she voluntarily naturalized in another country, she automatically lost her PRC citizenship. Now that she’s no longer a PRC citizen, she hukou is no longer valid, so the Exit-Entry Administration requires that it be cancelled before issuing her a residence permit.

  30. RJ Avatar

    I want to file for my son an Application for Renunciation of Chinese Nationality. Can I file this through the Chinese Embassy or Consulate?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      RJ: Yes. See The application will be examined and adjudicated by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS). But in theory you can file the application form together with originals and photocopies of the supporting documents with the nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulate. They should verify the supporting documents and then forward the application form and verified copies of supporting documents to MPS.

      1. RJ Avatar

        Thank you very much Gary. But the Chinese consulate of NY said we have to go back to China to do that, which is very strange.

  31. Wen Avatar

    How can we follow up the chinese cit renunciation – its been almost a year – is there a way to get some indication on when it will be released as my partner cant travel out- what is the way to follow up

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Hi Wen: The first step is to speak with the Exit-Entry Administration where you filed the form. Have you done that? What, if anything, did they tell you about the case status?

  32. Howard Snyder Avatar
    Howard Snyder

    Just some info…I would like to renounce my kids’ Chinese citizenship also. They were born in Shanghai, but we moved back to America about 5 years ago. The SF Consulate would not accept our application and referred us back to the Public Security Bureau in my wife’s hometown.

  33. Emma Avatar

    Hi there. I’d like to renounce my Chinese citizenship. I’m in Canada right now, can I submit the application online without going back to China?

    Thank you!

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Emma: As mentioned above, in my experience, embassies and consulates resist accepting these applications, so an application will need to be filed in person with the public security bureau.

  34. Maria G. Avatar
    Maria G.

    Thank you for your informative blog. To explain my situation, I was born in China but now hold British citizenship and reside in Japan. I applied for a visa at the Chinese embassy in Japan to visit China, but they asked for a renunciation document which I don’t have. When I expressed interest in obtaining it, they directed me to the Chinese Embassy in the UK. Still I don’t understand why I can’t apply for it here in Japan at a Chinese Embassy.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Maria G.: When and how did you become a British citizen? Pursuant to what law? Did you live in Britain at the time you became a citizen or afterwards?

  35. Maria G. Avatar
    Maria G.

    Thank you for your prompt response, Gary.

    Here are my answers to your questions.

    Q1: I became a British citizen by naturalisation in 2017.

    Q2: I became qualified under UK law to apply for naturalization after holding the status of Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) for one year.

    Q3: I was a resident in the UK when I submitted my application. I started working between Japan and the UK a few months before receiving citizenship in the UK.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Maria G.:

      Under China’s Nationality Law, art. 9, “Any Chinese national who has settled abroad and who has been naturalized as a foreign national or has acquired foreign nationality of his own free will shall automatically lose Chinese nationality.” My initial impression based on the facts you’ve told me is that you have lost your PRC nationality.

      I’m puzzled as to why the PRC Embassy in Tokyo would tell you to apply for renunciation. That should not be necessary because you automatically lost your Chinese citizenship by naturalizing of your own free will in the UK, having settled abroad.

      For example, the PRC Embassy in Washington DC does not require proof of renunciation wen applying for a Chinese visa in this situation: “8. If the applicant was of Chinese nationality, this application is the first Chinese visa application after naturalization in a foreign country, please provide 2 photocopies of the bio-page of the Chinese passport and a photocopy of naturalization certificate. In addition, the last physical Chinese passport is needed for the visa application.” Requirements and Procedures for Chinese Visa Application (Feb. 2024).

  36. Darren Dewald Avatar
    Darren Dewald

    Gary thanks for your post!

    I am a US citizen, and my wife was a Chinese citizen our two children were born. My question is, what happens to our children’s status if my wife becomes a US citizen through naturalization? Do they remain Chinese citizens?

    If so, how then do we apply for the entry-exit permit (出入境通行证) if one of the requirements is the Chinese parents ID card and local residence permit?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Darren: A mother’s loss of Chinese citizenship doesn’t impact her children’s Chinese citizenship. As to the required documents for the children’s exit-entry permit applications, check with the local PSB. They may accept the mother’s hukou cancellation certificate in lieu of her hukou.

      1. Emma Avatar

        Hi Gary,

        I’m a Chinese adoptee going back to China for the first time this summer and wonder if I’m still regarded as being a Chinese citizen. (If I’m no longer a citizen, I’ll apply for a visitor’s visa, but if I’m still a citizen I’ll apply for a travel permit.)

        I was adopted at the age of eight months to Sweden. I entered Sweden on my now expired Chinese passport and automatically obtained Swedish citizenship under the Swedish law for internationally adopted children under the age of 12.


        1. Gary Chodorow Avatar


          Article 9 of the Nationality Law states that “Any Chinese national who has settled abroad and who has been naturalized as a foreign national or has acquired foreign nationality of his own free will shall automatically lose Chinese nationality.

          If your Swedish citizenship was granted “automatically” rather than of your “free will”, then I think you have a good argument that you are still a PRC citizen. I recommend you discuss that with the PRC Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over your residence.

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