What is the change? Chinese authorities will clarify regulations regarding activities permitted by foreign nationals in China on M and F visas for fewer than 90 days.

What does the change mean? Foreigners entering China to stay for no longer than 90 days for specific activities may need to apply for a short-term Z visa and Work Permit.

  • Implementation timeframe: Starting Jan. 1, 2015.
  • Visas/permits affected: M visas, F visas and Work Permits.
  • Who is affected: Foreigners coming to China for short-term assignment (no more than 90 days) whose activities are subject to the new requirement.
  • Impact on processing:Processing times will not directly be affected, but the overall time required to apply for and obtain the new short-term work visa is expected to be longer than the overall time required for M or F visa applications.
  • Business impact: Companies and individuals must clearly define the purpose of stay for assignments of no more than 90 days and may need to allow more lead time for such assignments if a new process is required.
  • Next steps: Companies and foreign employees should wait for confirmation from the Chinese authorities regarding the final version of the regulations and prepare to analyze and update affected business practices in China.

Background: The authorities released a trial implementation regulation for a new short-term work visa application to solicit feedback from the public and immigration industry agents. A final version will be implemented Jan. 1. China’s related local authorities in different locations are currently in discussions and will advise further on application procedures for foreigners who fall under the short-term work permit category.

BAL Analysis: Under current regulations, the permitted activities of M visa and F visa travelers are not specified and have long been a controversial issue. The new regulation intends to classify foreigners’ activities for stays of no longer than 90 days into two categories: 1) M or F visa travelers and 2) short-term travelers performing specific work activities. BAL Shanghai is closely monitoring the discussions with local authorities and will provide confirmed information on the new regulations as soon as possible.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in China. For additional information, please contact

Copyright © 2016 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact