In recent years, due to relevant policies that have made the application procedures in first-tier cities such as Beijing and Shanghai more attractive and flexible, the permanent residency of foreigners in China has been a hot topic. China originally planned to formulate a law that integrates all policies and unified national implementation in early 2020, instead of continuing to formulate regional and local policies to attract high-level talents. But so far, this effort has remained at the stage of soliciting public comments in the draft. Therefore, if foreigners want to know the detailed information of permanent residence application, such as qualifications, procedures, timetable, fees, etc., they still need to refer to local policies.

In view of this, GoVisa China is committed to understanding the respective permanent residence policies of first-tier cities and providing foreigners with corresponding introductions so that they can better conduct self-assessment before starting to apply. It is hoped that this will save them time and cost compared with studying scattered “news” on their own.

This article is going to discuss the most updated permanent residency polices of Beijing.

Who can apply for permanent residency in Beijing?

We can separate those policies into two different categories: principal applicant and dependent of principal applicant. Principal applicants are qualified to apply permanent residence with investment, employment, or special contributions to China.

For certain principal applicants, such as high-level, special, employed, or investment personnel, the Beijing Public Security Bureau clarified that their spouse and child can apply for permanent residence along with the principal applicant.

Spouse and child of foreigners in ZhongguancunForeign spouses and children under 18 years old of Chinese high-level talents in Zhongguancun area can enjoy the treatment of spouses and minor children of foreign high-level talents, and apply for permanent residence through the fast procedure of applying for permanent residence.
Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 18 of special or employed personsSpouses of special and employed personnel and unmarried children under 18 years old can apply for permanent residence along with special and employed personnel (foreign members of Zhongguancun entrepreneurship team and foreign technical talents selected by Zhongguancun enterprises, foreign innovative and entrepreneurial talents in Beijing’s comprehensive pilot program of further opening up of  service sector, foreign talents employed by four types of enterprises, foreign talents employed in key universities and implementation of national key projects).
Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 18 of investment and employment personnelSpouses and unmarried children under 18 years old of investment and employment personnel (foreign Chinese in Zhongguancun and Beijing’s comprehensive pilot program of further opening up of service sector, foreigner whose annual wage income and annual individual income tax in Beijing meet the prescribed standards, foreign high-level talents in Beijing, foreign Chinese with doctor degree) can apply for permanent residence along with investment and employment personnel.

How to apply for China permanent residency?

After the applicants self-assess their qualifications based on the above categories, they should prepare the corresponding application materials and submit them to the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau.

The below documents are needed for the permanent residency application:

  • Complete Application Form for Permanent Residence in China;
  • Valid passport and valid visa (or resident permit);
  • Passport photos (2 inches, white or light blue background);
  • A health certificate issued by a domestic entry-exit inspection and issued within the last six months;
  • Non-criminal record abroad of the applicant or the linear relative;
  • Complete resume of the applicant;
  • If the applicant is a foreign investor – the certificate and record-filing documents related to foreign invested enterprise, the business license, a capital verification report showing that the company’s registered capital has reached the standard, and tax records of the applicant for the last three years are also required;
  • If the applicant applies for the permanent residence card through employment – company letters, licenses, relevant qualification documents, and tax payment certificates are also required;
  • If applicant is an accompanying family member – proof of relationship (marriage certificate, birth certificate, or proof of kinship) and evidence of stable housing and income are also required; and
  • If the applicant was once of Chinese nationality – naturalization paper or household registration transcript, overseas permanent resident certificate, and previous China passport are also required.

According to the guidance issued by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, the application shall be accepted within 50 working days from the date of acceptance of the application materials (some matters need to be investigated by the Public Security Bureau, excluding the time for investigation).

In practice, taking into account the time to prepare the documents and submit them to the office, the entire process can be extended.

Given the burdensome preparation work and the ongoing travel bans, it is advisable that applicants reach out to a local specialist to handle the application process.

Potential challenges for application

It can be seen from recent policies that China is increasingly open to foreigners’ applications for permanent residency. However, considering that all documents must meet the requirements of the official regulations 100%, and each document may be reviewed by different departments, the actual application process poses a major challenge to the applicant.

There must be professional consultants and supporters to handle the process, especially in terms of document collection guidelines.