What is the change? The issuance of a new Z visa or residence visa does not automatically void a previously issued valid 10-year business (M), tourist (L) or study (F) visa.

What does the change mean? Foreign travelers can continue to enter China with existing 10-year business, tourist or study visas, depending on the purpose of their visit, even if a new Z visa or residence permit was issued.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Z visa or residence permit; M, L and F visas.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals who obtain a new Z visa while already holding an M, L or F visa.
  • Business impact: The rule allows foreign workers whose work and residence visas expire but who still have an existing and valid M visa to re-enter China for appropriate short-term business activities without having to apply for a new M visa. The rule also benefits foreign workers who may have obtained a work permit without finalizing a residence permit, and who need to leave the country and re-enter shortly.

Background: The Public Security Bureau and border security officials in China have verbally confirmed that a new Z visa or residence visa will no longer invalidate an existing 10-year L, M or F visa and a foreign national holding both visas may enter China with either visa, depending on the purpose of that trip.

Previously, Chinese officials treated a new visa as automatically canceling an existing visa even without a void stamp.

BAL Analysis: The policy represents a change in practice that provides more flexibility to foreign employees; however, employees are still bound by the terms of the visa and should enter using the visa that is appropriate for the purpose of each trip.

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

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