China Shanghai Immigration Alert - New Immigration Law Effect 1 July 2013

The new Exit and Entry Administrative Law has become effective on 1 July 2013. This is a substantial change of immigration law with extra requirements, new restrictions and enhanced law enforcement. Officials may not be fully versed on the details of on the new policy at the early implementation stage. This may cause delay and confusion.

Crown Advises Our Clients As Follow:

• Start the visa extension process earlier. Extension of work and residence permit applications processing time has been extended to 15 days.
• Expedited service is no longer available.
• Expats who need to extend their work and residence permits are advised to plan their travel trips carefully and expect that extra time, documents and procedures may be required.
• Changes in immigration policies and requirements may occur without notice.

Crown Has Observed The Following So Far:

F Visa - New Capital Requirements
• Company with registered capital:
– Less than 1 million RMB may not sponsor for F visa.
– Between 1 million to 5 million RMB are allowed to sponsor for F visa with a duration of stay up to three months.
– Over 5 million RMB are allowed to sponsor for F visa with a duration of stay of up to six months.

F Visa - New Extension Requirements

• Extension is restricted to one time only within a 365-day calendar year.
• Official Invitation Letter issued by the government is required for visa extension. Invitation Letter on company letterhead will not be accepted.
• Extension request must be made by the original sponsoring company and processed within the same jurisdiction as the original visa.
• Extension processing time is now 7 working days, excluding the day of application submission. Extension must be submitted 7 days before the expiry date of the visa.
• The maximum duration of stay granted for an extended F visa is 30 days, starting from the day the extended visa is issued.

Work Permit
• The processing time has been changed from 6 working days to 15 working days for new applications of employees of regional headquarters or representative offices.

Residence Permit (New, Renewal and Transfer of Employment)
• Residence Permit processing time is extended to 15 working days, excluding the day of application submission.
• Passport is retained during the process. Although a travel slip is still issued, the authority may revoke this provision without notice.
• Residence Permit will not be issued to working applicants for less than 90 days of stay in China and applicant must present a passport with over 90 days’ validity for the permit application process.
• Residence Permit will not be issued to dependant applicants applying for less than 180 days of stay in China. Applicant must present a passport with over 180 days’ validity for the permit application process.

New Visa Categories
• M visa - for foreigners visiting China for business and trade
• S visa - for foreign residents who terminate their residence permit before the permit’s expiry date. • China embassies and consulates are expected to implement the new visa categories by 1 August 2013.
• Details are to be confirmed.

Alien Employment License and Invitation Letters
• Employment Sponsor in Shanghai can still issue an Invitation Letter for non-Hong Kong residents for the purpose of applying for a Z visa in Hong Kong. Other cities, such as Hangzhou, have already revoked this privilege and Shanghai is expected to follow suit without notice.
• A background check is required as part of the process. Although Shanghai has not implemented this requirement, other cities have already implemented this policy. An overnight change of this policy to follow suit is expected in Shanghai.

Dependant for Z Visa Holders
• Accompanying dependants of Z visa holders must be listed on the Z visa invitation letter and apply for a Z visa together with the principal. Otherwise, they will not be eligible to convert their visas to a residence permit if they enter China with a visa other than a Z visa.
• The following China Embassies and Consulates have stopped processing the L visa for dependants of Z visa holders:
– Consulate General in New York
– Consulate General in San Francisco, California
– Consulate General in Los Angeles, California
– Consulate General in Houston, Texas
– Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C.
• Exception: assignees entering China to work at a regional headquarters, along with their accompanying family members, may still be able to convert their F visa (of the principal) or L visa (of the dependants) to a local Work/ Residence Permit.

Medical Examination for Accompanying Dependants
• Medical examination is now required as part of the Residence Permit process for dependants who are 16 years of age and older. Shanghai has not implemented this rule as of the time this bulletin was written, but we expect Shanghai will enforce this soon.

L Visa - Changes on Eligibility and Processing Time
• Previously, an L visa could be extended up to 2 times incountry for 30 days for each extension application.
• Extension can now only be granted to applicants visiting family in China. The extended period will be 30 days. Applicants intending to stay longer can avail themselves of a 6-month Family Visit visa.
• Extension is not accepted for travel purpose.
• Visa extension processing time has been extended from 5 working days to 7 working days, excluding the day of application submission.
• Extension applications must be submitted 7 days before the expiry of the entry visa.
• The expiry date of the extended visa will be 30 days after the extension request is lodged (i.e., if the original expiry date is on the 30th and renewal application is submitted on the 23rd, the expiry date on the extended visa will be on the 22nd of the following month).

Transfer of Employment
• The processing time has been extended from 6 working days to 15 working days.
• Applicant must convert his/her residence permit to an L visa within 10 days of resignation while the new work permit is under processing.
• The L visa will be converted to a new residence permit once the new work permit is release.

Report of Information Changes (important)
• Information amendments (e.g., residence address, legal name, passport info, etc.) must be reported to the authority within 10 days (not 10 working days). Violation will result in penalties and a record will be made in the system. The authority may also immediately invalidate the permit.

• Residence permits and visas cannot be allowed to expire while the holder is still remaining in China. A penalty will be imposed with a record made in the system. Changes on Deregistration Process
• A “Ting Liu” visa will be issued instead of the L visa when an individual undergoes the deregistration process.
• The “Ting Liu” visa will not allow departure and re-entry to China.
• The “Ting Liu” visa will only be valid until the holder’s next departure from China.
• The validity of this visa is not yet confirmed and it is expected to be shorter than the current 30-day L visa.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this immigration alert is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Crown World Mobility or refer to the authors of this document.

Kit Tang, Regional Immigration Manager - Asia