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China's Immigration Laws

    • Chinese immigration can be simple with the correct paperwork.china flag image by faberfoto from

      Immigration laws are in effect to protect not only the host country and its citizens, but also the individuals who wish to visit or move to a country. It is for these reasons that immigration laws are very strict and specific, and there is little room for movement and forgiveness if an individual violates these laws. China is one of the few nations that requires a visa be obtained before entry, but it also allows for entry into the country without a visa for certain emergency situations.

    Gaining Entrance into China

    • Before making an attempt to enter China, you must obtain a visa from a Chinese embassy or consulate. Failure to do so before arrival can result in an immense fine and immediate deportation for United States citizens, at personal cost to the offender.

      When applying for a visa, a passport is required, along with other documents specific to what you will be doing during your visit to China. Chinese immigration requests certain documentation for immigration control; an example of this would be submission of a letter of employment to prove you are legally allowed and are sponsored by a company in China, not there to work illegally.

      Entry visas are granted on a case-by-case basis; greater restrictions placed upon United States citizens have sometimes resulted in a face-to-face interview with the individual seeking a Chinese visa. All aircraft or vessels with international involvement are required to submit a passenger list to immigration, and if this aircraft or vessel is foreign in nature, a list of the crew must also be presented.

      If Chinese immigration believes an individual to be harmful to Chinese national security and public safety, he or she will be denied entry into China.

    Taking up Residence in China

    • To live in China, you must obtain a residence confirmation form to prove that you have a place to reside temporarily while in China. This document is to be provided when your application is accepted at your chosen residence.

      During your stay, you must carry your identity card or residency certificate to prove you are legally allowed to be in China at that given moment. This would be especially important if a government official were to stop and ask for your proof of legality. Much like a regular visitor or business visa, duration of stay is determined on a case-by-case basis upon entry.

      If you wish to invest long-term in Chinese interests, you may be able to obtain a long-term or permanent residence visa upon your entry. If you are seeking asylum, you may also be granted the same visa.

      If you are staying overnight in China, you must apply for the proper temporary visa. This law applies even if you are simply passing through China on a connecting flight and you must remain in the airport for longer than twenty-four hours. If your stay is less than twenty-four hours in duration, you may obtain special permission to leave the airport for a short period of time.

      Anyone caught violating Chinese law of any type, immigration or non-immigration, is subject to having his or her time allotment in China shortened or revoked completely. This includes getting caught working without the proper work visa required.

    Traveling Through China

    • Travel through China also comes with certain restrictions. Areas open to tourists are relatively easy to access. However, popular areas of international interest, such as Tibet, may require an application for an extra visa specifically to visit these areas.

    Exiting Chinese Borders

    • Exiting China is fairly simple if you have followed the rules for your stay. Provided you have the proper visa and you have not overstayed your welcome, you simply need to present your passport and exit papers to the immigrations officer, and he will let you leave.

      However, there are certain situations that will keep you in China until the matter is resolved. If you are involved in an unsettled civil or criminal suit, you will not be permitted to leave China. This is also true in the case that you have violated any Chinese laws and an official believes that further investigation into the matter is necessary, thus requiring you to reside in China until the matter is resolved.

      If you do not have the proper exit certificate, or if you have another person's exit visa or a forged or otherwise altered exit visa, you will not be allowed to leave and are in fact subject to be prosecuted under Chinese criminal laws.

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