In this article, we explain China’s permanent residence application process for Guangdong. This is a part of a series of articles on China Briefing explaining Chinese Green Card policies for first-tier cities. You are welcome to read our articles for information on the permanent residence application for Beijing and Shanghai.
According to a recent announcement released by the Zhuhai Public Security Bureau, foreign members of innovation and entrepreneurship teams and foreign technical personnel selected and employed by enterprises in the PRD Self-Inventive Zone who have reached 70 points can now apply for permanent residence in China. This policy used to only apply to foreigners in the Guangdong FTZ.
Due to the protracted COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing travel bans, to avoid the cumbersome visa application procedures, many expatriates in China have begun to assess the pros and cons of obtaining a Foreigner Permanent Residence Identity Card, also known as the Chinese Green Card.
In theory, foreigners granted permanent residence status enjoy almost the same rights and bear the same obligations as Chinese citizens. The card will facilitate their travel to and from China as well as employment, children’s education, property purchase, healthcare, social security, travel and accommodation, etc. in China (for detailed pros and cons, you can refer to our Shanghai article here).
While the card is hard to obtain, with the country’s opening-up and desire for foreign talents, China has been rolling out policies to lower the threshold for permanent residency application (including the Opinions on Strengthening the Administration of Permanent Residence Service for Foreigners released in 2016 and the Twelve Immigration and Entry-Exit Facilitation Measures released in 2019).
On February 27, 2020, China unveiled a new draft on the Regulations on the Administration of Permanent Residence of Foreigners. The new draft introduced a new set of rules to determine how foreign citizens can be eligible for permanent residency in China.
Unfortunately, the endeavor has been stuck in the ‘draft seeking for public comments’ stage. Hence, foreigners still need to refer to local policies to understand the details of the permanent residency applications, including the eligibility criteria, procedures, timeline, and costs.
In this article, we provide information on the most updated permanent residency policies in the South China province of Guangdong, which has multiple cities that are part of the Greater Bay Area.
As part of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and with an increasing demand for overseas talents, the Guangdong province has relaxed immigration rules to make it easier for foreign nationals to live and work in Guangdong.
As early as 2016, the Guangdong Public Security department released the Sixteen Entry-Exist Policy Measures (“Sixteen Policies”) in an effort to simplify the entry process and encourage the retention of high-level foreign talents and innovators in Guangdong. The Sixteen Policies came into effect on August 1, 2016.
Of the Sixteen Policies, some lowered the threshold for a permanent residency identity card in Guangdong and Guangdong Free Trade Zone (FTZ) and shortened the processing time.
Combined with the relevant relaxed policies, in the following table, we compiled the eligibility criteria for six categories of applicants who can apply for Chinese Green Card in Guangdong – including foreigner workers, high-level talents, investors, foreigners with outstanding contributions, foreign nationals of Chinese origin, and foreigners applying for family reunion reasons.
· Have actually lived in China for no less than 6 months each year within the 4 years;
· With an annual salary (before tax) exceeding RMB 400,000 for 4 consecutive years;
· Have paid personal income tax of more than RMB 70,000 each year for 4 consecutive years; and
· Being recommended by the present employer.
· Have served the same company for 4 consecutive years and has stayed in China for no less than three years cumulatively;
· Have good tax records; and
· Have met one of the following conditions for 4 consecutive years:
o Serving in scientific research institutions under various departments of the State Council, or the People’s Government of Guangdong Province, or public institutions of an administrative nature or function;
o Serving in key colleges and universities (“211 Project” schools);
o Serving in an enterprise or institution that implements national key engineering projects or major scientific and technological projects; or
o Serving in a high-tech enterprise, encouraged foreign-invested enterprise, foreign-invested advanced technology enterprise, or foreign-invested product export enterprise.
· Have received the relevant points evaluation certificate issued by the Guangdong Free Trade Office or the local Municipal Bureau of Foreign Experts Affairs.
Foreign high-end talents
· Being recommended by the Guangdong Free Trade Office or the local municipal governments.
· High-level talents recognized by the Guangdong Provincial Department of Talents;
· Highly specialized personnel hired and whose employment is guaranteed by enterprises recognized by the Guangdong Provincial Science and Technology Innovation Department and the Guangdong Free Trade Office; or
· High-end talents hired by universities and research institutes in Guangdong Province.
And the applicant should meet all of the following conditions:
· Hold a work-type residence permit with a note of “talent”;
· Have worked in Guangdong for 3 years before the date of application; and
· Is a global top talent, talent with special skills, and celebrity who is of great value to the country.
· Have made stable investments for 3 consecutive years; and
· Have good tax records.
· Have made direct investment in China and the total registered capital actually delivered is above US$2 million (not lower than this standard for 3 consecutive years);
· Have made direct investment in Central China and the total registered capital actually delivered is above US$1 million (not lower than this standard for 3 consecutive years);
· Have made direct investment in Western China or key poverty-stricken counties and the total registered capital actually delivered is above US$500,000 (not lower than this standard for 4 consecutive years); or
· Have made investment in the industries encouraging foreign investment and the total registered capital actually delivered is above US$500,000 (not lower than the standard for 3 consecutive years).
· Have worked in an enterprise in Guangdong with a work-type residence permit for 4 consecutive years and have actually lived in China for at least 6 months each year.
· Have reached the age of 60;
· Have stayed in China continuously for 5 years, and not less than 9 months each year; and
· Have a stable livelihood and shelter.
· Under 18 years old and unmarried; and
· Have foreign nationality after examination.
· The marriage relationship has lasted for 5 years;
· Have stayed in China continuously for 5 years and not less than 9 months each year; and
Sources: Entry-Exist Bureau of Public Security Department of Guangdong Province
Disclaimer: Information in this table is collected from the official WeChat account of the Entry-Exit Administration of Shenzhen Public Security Bureau and translated by China Briefing for general information purpose. No liability is assumed for the accuracy of the content. For advice on your specific business queries, please contact a qualified professional advisor. You are welcome to consult our experts at Dezan Shira & Associates by emailing us at China@dezshira.com.
Upon self-assessment of the qualifications based on the above-mentioned categories, the applicant should prepare corresponding application documents and submit to the local exit-entrance administration bureau.
Here are the primary documents needed for the permanent residence application:
Applicants shall submit the primary documents as well as additional materials required by the exit-entry administration of the local public security bureau, and the application will be processed within 90-180 working days (Applications in most of the criteria could be processed within 180 days and time for investigation is excluded if some items need to be investigated by the local public security bureau).
In practice, the whole process could be prolonged considering the time for preparing the documentation and submitting them to the bureau in charge.
Given the burdensome preparation work and the ongoing travel restrictions, it is advisable that applicants reach out to a local specialist to handle the application process.
As a professional business service provider, Dezan Shira & Associates can provide you necessary support in assessing your eligibility and feasibility, as well as processing your application for a Chinese permanent residence ID card. Please contact us without hesitation or email us at China@dezshira.com.
(This article was first published on August 11, 2021 and was last updated on April 21, 2022)
China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done so since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at email@example.com. Dezan Shira & Associates has offices in Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, United States, Germany, Italy, India, and Russia, in addition to our trade research facilities along the Belt & Road Initiative. We also have partner firms assisting foreign investors in The Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh.
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