Shanghai Releases New Foreign Residence Permit Rule

Posted by Reading Time: 3 minutes

Jul. 4 – In a move to extend benefits to foreigners living and working legally in China (as well as their immediate families), the Shanghai government recently released the “Administrative Measures of Shanghai on Residence Permits for Foreign Talents (hereinafter referred to as the Measures)” – which entered into force on July 1, 2013.

Specifically, the Measures center on the provision of social insurance for qualified foreign talents (as defined below) in addition to the provision of basic medical insurance for their spouses and children.

Eligible children are also allowed to attend local schools in Shanghai and enjoy preferential policies with regard to high school admission.

The following individuals who legally work or invest (through either technology or capital contributions) in Shanghai and hold at least a bachelor’s degree or possess special talents (as determined by the Shanghai Human Resources and Social Security Bureau) are now eligible to apply for a Residence Permit for Foreign Talents (hereinafter referred to as “Permit”):

  • Foreign students;
  • Foreign experts or high-level specialists;
  • Students or specialists who do not have a Chinese hukou but hold both a Chinese passport and permanent (or long-term) residency in a foreign country; and
  • Specialists from Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan.

The Shanghai Human Resources and Social Security Bureau is the governmental organization in charge of accepting and reviewing the applications. Approved permits will then be issued by the municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB).

Further, the Measures stipulate that there are two different kinds of permits: Main Permits and Retinue Permits. The foreign talents themselves are eligible to apply for the Main Permits, while their spouses and children (who are either under 18 years of age, or currently attend high school) may apply for a Retinue Permit. The permits are valid for a period of one to five years.

In addition, foreign students or students who are permanent (or long-term) residents of foreign countries that are eligible for the Permit do not need to obtain any other type of work permits.

Permit holders can also obtain driver’s licenses in Shanghai.

Applicants should submit the following materials to the Shanghai Human Resources and Social Security Bureau:

  • Application form;
  • Proof of valid identification;
  • Proof of education background and academic degree(s), or technical and professional certification(s);
  • Proof of residency in Shanghai;
  • Valid proof of health status;
  • Employment contract;
  • Proof of subject qualification of the employer (or investment);
  • Proof of individual income tax clearance during period of employment; and
  • Any other relevant materials.

According to the Measures, the city-level HRSSB should finish the application review process within seven days of submission of all of the required materials. Afterwards, the municipal PSB will issue the permit within 10 days of the HRSSB’s approval.

Dezan Shira & Associates is a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in emerging Asia. Since its establishment in 1992, the firm has grown into one of Asia’s most versatile full-service consultancies with operational offices across China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore and Vietnam as well as liaison offices in Italy and the United States.

For further details or to contact the firm, please email, visit, or download the company brochure.

You can stay up to date with the latest business and investment trends across China by subscribing to Asia Briefing’s complimentary update service featuring news, commentary, guides, and multimedia resources.

Related Reading

Highly-Qualified Foreigners to Face Easier Visa Formalities in China

Obtaining a Z Visa, Work Permit and Residence Permit in China

Beijing Relaxes 72 Hour Visa-Free Stay Policy

China Crackdown on Illegal Employment and Visa Overstays by Foreign Nationals

Foreign Visitors Can Enjoy 72 Hour Visa-Free Stay in Beijing and Shanghai

When Expats Get Blacklisted in China