A child may acquire Chinese citizenship automatically upon birth to binational parents (one Chinese and one foreign). Dual nationality is not recognized under the Nationality Law. So a child who acquires Chinese citizenship at birth remains a Chinese citizen, in the PRC government’s view, even if he or she obtains a foreign passport. Thus, renunciation of PRC citizenship may in some cases be essential for the child to be recognized as a foreign national by the Chinese government for purposes such as attending an international school in China or obtaining a PRC visa. This article discusses the requirements and procedures for renunciation.
Note that 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, in which case no application for renunciation needs to be filed.
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 Birth||Citizenship of Parents||Citizenship of Child||Source of Law|
|China||One or both is Chinese||Chinese||Nationality Law, article 4|
|“||Both parents are:|
(a) stateless or uncertain nationality; and(b) have settled (定居) in China.
|Chinese||Nationality Law, article 6|
|“||Neither is Chinese||Foreign||—|
|Abroad||(a) One or both parents is Chinese and has settled (定居) abroad; and(b) the child has acquired foreign citizenship at birth.||Foreign||Nationality 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.
|Chinese||Nationality Law, article 5|
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Renouncing Chinese Citizenship?
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).
Procedures for Renunciation, in General
Citizenship-related applications should be filed with the city or county’s public security bureau exit-entry administration. (Although not discussed here, an application may also be filed with PRC Embassies and Consulates abroad).
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. The time period for processing an application is not specified by rules, and it can take up to one year.
If an application for renunciation of Chinese citizenship is approved, Chinese citizenship is lost at once. You will be issued a certificate of renunciation of Chinese nationality. 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.
Beijing Procedures for Renunciation
What follows is a summary of Beijing procedures for renunciation provided by the local public security bureau’s exit-entry administration to our firm in May 2014, along with our firm’s unofficial English translation:
|退出中国国籍申请须知||Notice: Renunciation of Chinese Nationality|
|一、申请条件:有外国籍的近亲属(父母、配偶、子女、同胞兄弟姐妹）||1. Requirements:Applicant should have immediate relatives (parents, spouse, children, siblings) with foreign citizenship.|
|二、需提交的材料:1. 两张填写完格、贴有两寸彩色近期正面免冠照片的《退出中华人民共和国国籍申请书));||2. Application Documents:(1) Two completed “Application to Renounce PRC Citizenship” forms with recent 2-inch color photos (with no head covering).|
|2. 自愿退出中国国籍的书面申请(退出原因、未成年人需由父母双方签字);||(2) A written statement applying to voluntarily renounce PRC citizenship (stating reasons for abandonment; both parents should sign on behalf of a minor).|
|3. 自愿加入外国籍的声明(未成年人需由父母双方签字);||(3) A declaration that obtaining foreign citizenship is voluntary (both parents should sign on behalf of a minor).|
|4. 本人简历(包括出生地、是否有国内户口、是否领取中国证件及出入境持用证件情况、外国护照取得时间、地点);||(4) Resume (including place of birth; whether the applicant has a domestic household registration booklet; whether the applicant has PRC certificates and exit-entry certificates; and date and place of receiving foreign passport).|
|5. 北京户口本、身份证原件和复印件; (未上户口的儿童免交〉||(5) Beijing household registration booklet, and original and copy of national ID card (children who have no household registration booklet are exempted).|
|6. 中国护照(或其它中国出入境证件)复印件:||(6) Copy of PRC passport (or other PRC exit-entry certificate).|
|7. 拟入籍国的定居证明或拟入籍国相关部门出具的同意其入籍的相关材料(外文材料需经指定翻译公司译成中文);||(7) Residence certificate from the country of intended naturalization or materials from the appropriate department of the country of intended naturalization agreeing to naturalization there. (Documents in a foreign language must be translated to Chinese by a designated translation company).|
|8. 己取得拟入籍国护照的，可提交拟入籍国护照复印件及翻译件，免交第 7 条所列材料:||(8) An applicant who has already received the passport from the country of intended naturalization may submit a copy of the passport and a translation instead of the documents listed in item 2(7).|
|9.申请人外籍近亲属(父母、配偶、子女〉的身份证明(外国护照翻译件) ;||(9) Foreign passport and translation evidencing the identity of close relatives (parent, spouse, or child) with foreign nationality.|
|10. 申请人为未成年人，还需提交本人出生证明、父母结婚证明、父母双方身份证明(护照、 户口本和身份证) ;||(10) If the applicant is a minor, submit a birth certificate, parents’ marriage certificate, and the identity certificates (passport, household register and national ID card) of both parents.|
|11.公安机关出入境管理部门认为有必要提供的其它证明材料:||(11) Other evidence that the Public Security Bureau’s Exit-Entry Administration authority believes is necessary.|
|12.申请人除申请表上贴的照片外还需再交两张三寸彩色近期正面免冠照片。||(12) In addition to the photos on application form, applicants should submit anther two recent 3-inch color photos (with no head covering.|
|所提交材料均需 A4 纸张，一式二份外文材料（包括外国护照）须经公安机关出入境管理部门认可的翻译机构翻译申请退出中国国籍手续费 50 元，退出中国国籍证书 200 元||All documents should be submitted in duplicate on size A4 paperDocuments in foreign languages (including foreign passports) should be translated by a translation company designated by Public Security Bureau’s Exit-Entry AdministrationThe application fee to renounce PRC citizenship is 50 RMB. The fee for production of the certificate of renouncing PRC citizenship is 200 RMB.|