Guangzhou’s Talent Green Card System: Benefits, Eligibility, and Application Process

Posted by Written by Giulia Interesse Reading Time: 8 minutes

The city of Guangzhou in southern China officially approved a set of measures to implement a Talent Green Card scheme. The primary goal of this scheme is to attract high-level talent from both domestic and international sources. Under this program, two tiers of Talent Green Cards are offered to individuals with outstanding skills, granting them a diverse range of benefits to facilitate their relocation, living arrangements, employment opportunities, and business endeavors in Guangzhou.

What is Guangzhou’s Talent Green Card scheme?

Guangzhou’s Talent Green Card System refers to a program introduced by the city’s municipal government to attract and retain high-level talent from both domestic and international sources. On June 15, 2023, the Guangzhou Municipal Government released the Implementation Measures for the Guangzhou Talent Green Card System (the ‘Measures’).

Which areas are covered under the Talent Green Card System?

The Talent Green Card System covers various regions within Guangzhou, including the Guangzhou area itself, the Guangzhou-Foshan High-Quality Development Integration Pilot Zone, the Guangzhou-Qingyuan Special Economic Cooperation Zone, and other designated areas.

How the Talent Green Card system works

It is important to note that the Talent Green Card is not technically a visa, residency, or work permit, but rather a talent-based program.

There are two types of green cards within the system, namely, A-cards and B-cards. The eligibility criteria for A-cards are more rigorous; however, these cards provide a broader spectrum of advantages, such as simplified procedures for visa and work permit applications, as well as a longer duration of residence permits. The scheme, whose first draft was originally released for public review in November 2021, offers high-level talents a range of benefits to support their relocation, living arrangements, employment opportunities, and business activities in Guangzhou.

Qualified individuals will be granted a Talent Green Card upon an application and approval procedure.

What are the benefits of becoming a Talent Green Card holder?

Benefits for A-cardholders

A-cardholders are entitled to the following benefits and services:

Benefits and Services for A-Cardholders
Type of benefit  Description 
Residence permit and visas Upon obtaining the required “Foreigner’s Work Permit,” foreign individuals can apply for a residence permit for employment purposes, valid for a minimum of 90 days and up to 5 years. Additionally, those meeting the criteria for foreign talent visas can obtain entry visas (R visas) with a validity period of up to 5 years and a stay duration of up to 180 days, available as single-entry, double-entry, or multiple-entry visas.
Travel documents A-cardholders can apply for various travel documents, including ordinary passports, permits for travel to Hong Kong and Macao, permits for travel to Taiwan, and other necessary endorsements.
Duty-free imports High-level foreign talents and overseas scientific and technological experts who have resided in China for one year or more can import scientific research, teaching, and personal-use items duty-free within reasonable limits, following relevant customs policies.
Expedited permanent residency A-cardholders who meet the requirements for obtaining permanent residency in the city can enjoy expedited services during the application process.
Education Children of Talent Green Card holders are eligible for educational benefits at different stages. During the preschool education stage, eligible children can participate in computer-assigned enrollment in kindergartens in their place of residence. In the compulsory education stage, they have equal access to public schools (including government-purchased seats in private schools) as local residents. Additionally, they can take high school entrance exams and enjoy the same opportunities as local residents to enroll in public regular high schools, private regular high schools, and vocational schools.
Professional development A-cardholders can participate in professional and technical title evaluations, vocational skills training, national vocational qualification examinations, and assessments in accordance with relevant regulations. If they obtain certificates for occupations or projects included in the subsidy scope of the province or city, they can apply for labor skills improvement subsidies.
Business and financial services A-cardholders can directly apply for business licenses when investing and establishing enterprises, without the need for additional notarization or authentication of their identity documents. They can open bank accounts in designated banks, conduct deposit and withdrawal transactions, and handle foreign exchange transactions and the conversion of lawful RMB profits at designated foreign exchange banks.
Social insurance A-cardholders planning to participate in social insurance can transfer and continue their various social insurance relationships in the city, as required. They, along with their spouses and children, are eligible to participate in the city’s basic pension insurance, employee medical insurance, urban and rural resident medical insurance, and relevant supplementary medical insurance.
Housing provident fund Non-local residents without Guangzhou household registration can enjoy the same treatment as registered residents of Guangzhou when purchasing housing for self-use. Similarly, foreign individuals can purchase one residential property for self-use in accordance with relevant national regulations.
Driving and vehicle registration A-cardholders can apply for a motor vehicle driver’s license and are eligible to apply for the incremental quota for small and medium-sized private vehicles in the city. They can complete the necessary procedures for motor vehicle registration.
Housing purchase Non-local residents without Guangzhou household registration can enjoy the same treatment as registered residents of Guangzhou when purchasing housing for self-use. Similarly, foreign individuals can purchase one residential property for self-use in accordance with relevant national regulations.
Note: This list is not exhaustive.

It should be noted that other than those listed above, A-cardholders are also entitled to other benefits and services as stipulated by national, provincial, and municipal regulations.

Moreover, they can apply for dependent cards for accompanying spouses, minor children, parents, and parents-in-law. The holders of dependent cards are eligible to receive visas or residence permits for the same duration as related A-cardholders and enjoy several of the same benefits.

Benefits for B-card holders

B-cardholders enjoy the following benefits, as described in the previous table referred to A-cardholders (see the section above):

  • Housing provident fund
  • Driver’s license and vehicle registration
  • Housing purchase

Moreover, after purchasing a residential property for self-use in the city, they are eligible to enjoy the benefits related to education.

Who can apply for the Talent Green Card?

To qualify for either an A-card or a B-card, applicants must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Chinese citizens without a Guangzhou hukou
  • Residents of Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan
  • Foreign citizens
  • Overseas students or individuals with Chinese citizenship and permanent residency in a foreign country, but without a domestic hukou

Applicants must be classified as ‘high-level’ talent. The requirements for meeting this classification are similar for both A-card and B-card candidates, as illustrated in the table below:

High-Level Talents Eligible for the Talent Green Card (A and B)
Title Definition
High-level and high-skilled talents selected or verified by the city of Guangzhou
  • Recognized achievers in global and Chinese scientific communities, including renowned award winners, esteemed academicians, and candidates for national talent projects.
  • Accomplished professionals with significant contributions, recognized through national awards, and holding key roles in research, technology, and skills development.
  • Recognized achievers in patent innovation, provincial award winners, outstanding experts, and technical leaders from Guangdong Province.
  • Potential candidates for talent projects, including the “Gathering Talents” initiative in Guangzhou.
  • Highly skilled professionals with advanced technical qualifications and extensive experience of over 10 years.
  • Additional exceptional individuals identified or acknowledged by the city for their high-level skills and talents.
High-level talents with substantial experience overseas 
  • Experts and scholars who hold positions equivalent to associate professors or above in renowned foreign universities and research institutes.
  • Talented individuals who have dedicated over 3 years to research and development, management, and similar roles in globally recognized enterprises, including Fortune 500 companies, and have held intermediate or senior positions.
  • Leading talents who have demonstrated mastery of core technologies, possess independent intellectual property rights, and have achieved technological advancements at the international or domestic leading level. These individuals should also have promising market prospects and potential for industrialization.
  • Accomplished individuals with substantial experience in innovation and entrepreneurship abroad. They are encouraged to bring their technology, projects, and capital to Guangzhou.
  • Talented individuals holding work permits for foreigners (category A), confirmation letters for high-end foreign talents, confirmation letters for nine cities in the Pearl River Delta Independent Innovation Demonstration Zone, or the Jieyang Sino-German Metal Eco-city for talents from Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan.
High-level researchers
  • Individuals who have completed postdoctoral research work or hold a postgraduate degree from universities and scientific research institutes, including military research institutes, and have obtained a doctorate degree.
  • Those who have completed postgraduate studies in globally recognized universities, including the top 300 institutions worldwide, and have obtained a master’s degree or higher.
  • Applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from esteemed universities, including the top 200 institutions worldwide.
Talents in high-demand industries Talented individuals who possess skills or expertise that align with the city’s economic and social development needs or are in high-demand industries. These individuals have been recognized and identified by relevant departments as having specific and valuable skills or expertise.
Note: The table is not exhaustive.

Additionally, candidates applying for the A-card can also belong to one of the following two categories:

  • Professionals in managerial or technical roles within the main units responsible for the city’s key projects, strategic industries, headquarters enterprises, or major industrial investments.
  • Foreign individuals with salaries at least six times higher than the city’s average social wage from the previous year and who have paid personal income tax exceeding RMB120,000 (US$16,712) in the year after settlement.

For an A-card, candidates must be currently employed or engaged in business activities in Guangzhou for a minimum of six months per year. B-card applicants have more flexible time requirements compared to A-card applicants.

Application procedure: How can applicants apply for a Talent Green Card?

The application procedure can be divided into four steps, as illustrated below:

  • Application: Applicants should log in to the “Guangzhou Talent Green Card Management System” or the “Suihao Ban” mobile app and follow the relevant process instructions to submit their application.
  • Approval: For individuals applying for the A-card and those applying for the B-card based on the criteria outlined in Article 5 (1), (2), and (4), the local district Human Resources and Social Security Bureau where their employer is located will handle the acceptance and review process. Individuals applying for the B-card based on the criteria outlined in Article 5 (3) will be regularly reviewed and processed by the Municipal Talent Work Department.
  • Card production: If the applicant is deemed eligible, the Municipal Public Security Bureau will complete the card production process within 5 working days.
  • Card issuance: Once the green card is produced, it will be delivered to the acceptance and review department within 3 working days. The acceptance and review department will issue the card and simultaneously issue the electronic certificate.

The acceptance and review department will complete the review and assessment within 5 working days from the date of receiving the application.

Validity period and renewal

The validity period of the Talent Green Card is determined based on the individual’s application and actual circumstances.

For the A-card, the validity period can be up to 5 years, taking into account the individual’s specific situation and the requirements of their employing institution. On the other hand, the B-card has an initial validity period of up to 1 year. However, it can be extended for an additional year upon expiration, subject to meeting the necessary criteria.

Those who fulfill the requirements for the A-card may convert their B-card into an A-card.

In case of renewal, the individual or their employer should apply for a new card from the acceptance and review department within 30 days before the expiration date.

Information changes and re-issuance of the Talent Green Card

The Measures also stipulate the situation where the information on the Talent Green Card needs to be updated, such as if the Talent Green Card is lost and needs to be reissued or where there have been illegalities identified in the application process and thus the Talent Green Card has to be revoked. For example, the Measures provide that, if there are any changes in the cardholder’s employer or residence, it is mandatory for the cardholder to promptly notify the acceptance and review department within 30 days to update their information.


Overall, the implementation of the Talent Green Card System underscores Guangzhou’s commitment to attracting and nurturing foreign and domestic talents.

By offering a supportive ecosystem and a range of benefits, Guangzhou strives to position itself as a leading destination for talented individuals, contributing to the city’s (as well as the whole Greater Bay Area) continued growth and development in the global landscape.

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