August 18, 2020

China: Update on visa applications

Since March 28th, 2020, entry into China for foreign nationals has been suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, following a period of relative stability, the Chinese authorities have advised that as of August 11th, certain European nationals who hold a valid residence permit, work permit or permit for family reunion and personal matters, and who are currently overseas due to travel restrictions, can now apply to re-enter china.

Further to this, any foreign nationals now intending to apply for a visa to re-enter China, should be aware that the standard visa application procedures may have changed in light of Covid-19.

What has changed?

Since August 11th, foreign nationals from the European countries listed below who hold valid China Residence Permits but are currently overseas due to the travel suspension and unable to return to China are permitted to now apply to re-enter:

Albania Germany North Macedonia
Austria Greece Norway
Belgium Hungary Poland
Bosnia and Herzegovina Iceland Portugal
Bulgaria Ireland Romania
Croatia Italy Serbia
Cyprus Latvia Slovakia
Czech Republic Lithuania Slovenia
Denmark Luxembourg Spain
Estonia Malta Sweden
Finland Montenegro Switzerland
France Netherlands United Kingdom

For the above mentioned citizens with a valid Chinese resident permit who are applying for an entry visa on the basis of the same purpose as their current valid resident permit (residence, work or family reunion), then the same visa type will be issued in line with his/her valid resident permit.

If the applicant does not have a valid resident permit, then as per normal procedures, they will need to provide their work permit with an official ‘Invitation Letter (PU/TE)’ or ‘Verification Confirmation of Invitation’ issued by the local provincial Foreign Office or Department of Commerce.

For applications for a Business visa (M or F visa), an official ‘Invitation Letter (PU/TE)’ or ‘Verification Confirmation of Invitation’ issued by the local provincial Foreign Office or Department of Commerce will also be required.

For further information on the new application process for visas to China, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team.


Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over fifteen years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends, and currently serves as a member of the Worldwide ERC (WERC) Immigration Advisory Council.

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