What is the change? Foreigners of Chinese origin are now able to apply for a new multiple-entry visa and residence permit that is valid for up to five years.

What does the change mean? The Chinese government has implemented a new residence permit specifically for foreign citizens with Chinese heritage. Applicants will need to prove Chinese heritage by submitting official documents issued either by the Chinese government or by the authorities in the country they are applying from.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Residence permit for foreigners of Chinese heritage.
  • Who is affected: Foreigners of Chinese origin, including former Chinese citizens who have obtained foreign citizenship, children or grandchildren of present or former Chinese citizens, and foreigners who can prove their relationship to an ancestor who was a Chinese citizen or former Chinese citizen. The permit does not apply to foreign spouses if they do not have documents that prove Chinese heritage.
  • Impact on processing times: The change will save travelers time because they will not have to reapply for visas as frequently.

Background: Before the new measure, foreigners with Chinese heritage could receive a one-year visa with a maximum residency of three years. Chinese officials were quoted in the media as saying they hope the new visa category will help foreigners of Chinese descent participate in China’s economic development.

BAL Analysis: The new visa will ease travel for foreign nationals of Chinese heritage seeking a residence permit in China, including employees who are already working in China. Travelers should note that work activities require work authorization. Countries with the largest number of overseas Chinese who may be eligible for the new residence permit option include Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the United States and Singapore.

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

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