China Strengthens Enforcement of 24-Hour Registration Rule for Foreigners

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Aug. 15 – China’s new Exit and Entry Law, which came into effect on July 1, 2013, requires all foreigners to register with their local public security bureau within 24 hours of arrival in the country, and failure to do so will result in a maximum fine of RMB2,000.

The new Exit and Entry Law has laid down the following provisions regarding the 24 hour registration rule:

  • For foreigners who reside or stay in places other than hotels: They, or the persons who accommodate them, shall within 24 hours after the foreigners’ arrival, go through the registration formalities with the appropriate public security bureau near to the place of residence.
  • For foreigners who stay in hotels: Such hotels shall process check-in formalities for them in accordance with the regulations on the public security administration of the hotel industry, and shall submit foreigners’ check-in information to the appropriate local public security bureau.

In fact, the 24 hour registration rule has been in place since 2010 (with initial guidelines released in 2008), but enforcement has varied widely across regions. In previous practice, public security bureaus in many regions have not been particularly strict with the 24 hour rule, even though the Registration Form of Temporary Resident is a compulsory document required when conducting work permit registration. During such work permit application procedures in the past, the public security bureau has typically only checked if the foreigner had made the registration when the application was submitted, without paying particular attention to whether or not it was made within 24 hours of arriving in the country.

However, with China’s recent efforts to crack down on foreigners living and working in the country illegally, immigration authorities are expected to strengthen enforcement of the existing laws through various measures, including spot-checks of foreign nationals.

Therefore, it is strongly recommended that foreigners register with their local public security bureau as soon as they arrive in the country. Failing to do so will not only likely result in a fine, but may also substantially delay and/or complicate applications for resident permits with the Chinese immigration authorities.

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14 thoughts on “China Strengthens Enforcement of 24-Hour Registration Rule for Foreigners

    Khalid Mahmood says:

    can any body comments, I came here L visa, its for 3 month but I am staying last 18 days with my Chinese wife in hotel, should I need to register somewhere? I will appreciate any guidelines.

    @Khalid – the hotel will have done it for you automatically as part of your check-in procedure, no need to worry about it. – Chris

    Wanling Qu says:

    You are fine as long as you stay with a hotel.

    Khalid Mahmood says:

    thanks for comments bc I will stay more 6 or 8 days,total 24 days days in hotel this time. But then I will come chine new year and stay two month with my wife, one rented flat, that time if I should register somewhere? If yes ,then where pls, in Shenzhen? I am little worried about this issue,donot want get any problem.

    Aussie Tim says:

    Does a person with a residence certificate need to register after every trip?

    Also, does this need to be done in person, or can an assistant be sent to do this?

    I travel a lot and don’t want to rack up too many frequent visitor points at the 派出所。

    @Aussie Tim: Yes, you need to register every time. Your hotel will normally do this for you as part of the check in procedures. If you are renting an apartment in China, you should ask the management office where to go to get it done, some may also do it for you each time. Its the law, so you need to comply. – Chris

    @Khalid: Your apartment block will have a management office, you need to ask them to help you. – Chris

    Aussie Tim says:


    I have a residence permit. Did you see this proposed State Council regulations on the Exit-Entry Administration Law from May?

    “An alien possessing a residence certificate that clearly shows his or her residence address need not repeatedly register that accommodation. If staying at a place other than the address shown on the residence certificate, the alien shall register that temporary address.”

    What’s the takeaway from the State Council’s failure to include this in the final rule?

    Caid says:

    @Khalid Mahmood

    If you are staying in the hotel under your wife’s name, you could face some trouble. If you’ve done it according to the law, however, you should be fine, having handed in her ID card as well as your passport, at registration.


    @Caid – Good point. ALL foreigners must register, and you must do so at the hotel even if the room is booked under someone else’s name. – Chris

    @Aussie Tim: Register whenever you arrive – unless you have a registration permit in which case there’s no need to register each time at the specific address the permit is for. But if you’re travelling elsewhere to another city or address, you need to register.
    It should be noted that hotels and guest houses themselves get fined if they do not register their guests. – Chris

    Yasir says:

    Hello Dear Sir/Madam,
    I want to know some information about S2 visa holder after enter in china.
    If a family member want to visit china on S2 visa for one entry and stay will be less than six months. Than its compulsory to do the registration in police station after enter in china.
    please reply me and advance thanks.

    China Briefing says:

    Hello Yasir,

    Thank you for your inquiry. Please contact our HR service team at for more information.

Comments are closed.