What is the change? Shenzhen has cut its processing time for residence permits.

What does the change mean? Expatriate workers submitting new or renewal applications can expect to receive their residence permit in seven business days.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Residence permits.
  • Who is affected: Applicants for new and renewal residence permits in Shenzhen.
  • Impact on processing times: Applications will be processed in seven business days instead of 10.
  • Business impact: The faster processing will speed up the onboarding process of new foreign employees and extension of continuing employees.

Background: After arriving in China, foreign workers must apply for a residence permit, which provides proof of residence for certain tasks necessary for settling, such as opening a bank account and releasing personal property from customs. The seven-business-day processing time frame is in line with other major cities, including Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xi’an.

Last week, Beijing also reduced its processing time from 15 business days to 10.

BAL Analysis: Foreign workers in Shenzhen will have a shorter wait for residence permits, which benefits newly arrived employees, as well as applicants who need to travel, as international travel is not allowed until the permit is issued.

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

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