Global Alerts

CHINA – New Procedures for Short-Term Work Permit Under Exit-Entry Law

New procedures are to provide guidelines on how to implement the 90-day work permit rule while under the new exit-entry law and regulations. The procedures are meant to do the following: define the term “short-term work;” specify the requirements for visa, work permit, and residence permit applications; and clarify the required procedures for foreign nationals who are entering China for short-term employment reasons.

Foreign nationals may participate in the following activities for up to 90 days in China under a work permit:

  • Visit a cooperating partner in China in order to complete work related to technology, scientific research, management, and provision of guidance;
  • Complete physical training in a sports agency;
  • Shoot a film, which may include commercials and documentaries;
  • Participate in a fashion show;
  • Participate in a foreign commercial performance;
  • Other activities declared by the labor administration authority.

The following short-term work activities also require a work permit if the foreign national intends to stay for more than 90 days per entry:

  • Provide maintenance, assembly, testing, taking apart, guidance, or training related to purchased equipment or machines;
  • Provide guidance, supervision, or inspection of a project that won a bid;
  • Complete a short-term assignment to a subsidiary, branch office, or representative office;
  • Participate in in-country sports events;
  • Volunteer without pay or paid by an overseas organization;
  • Provide performances other than those defined as “foreign related commercial performances” in China.

For the list of short-term work activities directly above, foreign nationals are permitted to conduct such activities for fewer than 90 days without a work permit. These foreign nationals may enter China on either an M visa, which is for the first four activities, or an F visa, which is for volunteers and performers.

An important change outlined by the new procedures includes that foreign nationals who are visiting the country for fewer than 90 days but will be completing work activities related to a contract must first obtain work authorization, unless an exemption of some sort is otherwise outlined. Previously, only a business visa was required.

Lastly, the procedures also specify the application process and document requirements for short-term work permit applications. The procedures outline the following:

  • Foreign nationals who will be working in China for no more than 30 days maximum must obtain an employment license (“Approval for Short-Term Employment for Foreigners Working in P.R. China”) and a Z visa. The hosting entity is required to first apply for the employment license and approval at the local labor bureau. Then, the hosting entity may apply for a Z visa invitation letter, which should then be followed by the foreign national’s submission of his/her application for a Z visa to enter China. The Z visa will be valid for 30 days. The approval for short-term work cannot be renewed unless the foreign national becomes employed by a Chinese entity.
  • Foreign nationals who will be staying in China for more than 30 days must complete an additional step. Following approval of their Z visa, these individuals will obtain a note to apply for a 90-day resident permit upon entry in China. They must then pursue the resident permit accordingly.

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