Dec. 2014 to Feb. 2015 China Bulletin

Foreigners Performing Contracts in China Impacted:

On January 1, 2015, new visa regulations came into effect impacting short term (90 days or less) assignments to China.  They require foreign nationals providing technology, research and other services to counterparties in China for any period of less than 90 days to obtain a Z (work) visa.  Applicants should schedule approximately a month to complete the application procedures, but application time for an M visa should not change.  Participants in sports training, filming, fashion and commercial performances are also affected by the new regulations.

The regulations were jointly issued by the several Ministries, including the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and Ministry of Public Security.  Among technical workers, those performing tasks involving technology, R&D, management or consulting for a local counterparty require a Z visa upon entry.  However, several categories of technical workers can still work up to 90 days on an M visa, including those:  1) providing maintenance, testing, installation, consulting and training relating to sales of machinery and equipment, 2) consulting, inspecting and investigating a project won by bid, and 3) performing short term work assignments for subsidiaries, branches or representative offices in China.  As in the past, all foreign workers on assignment for more than 90 days are required to obtain Z visas.

Documentation for foreign nationals intending to work in China for less than 30 days on a Z visa includes:

  1. Employment License
  2. Certificate: “Approval for Short Term Employment for Foreigners Working in P.R.China”
  3. Z visa invitation letter
  4. Z visa

The hosting entity in China applies for Items 1-3, and the foreign national applies at the Chinese embassy or consulate in his/her home jurisdiction for the Z visa.

Those intending to work longer than 30 days must also apply for a 90-day Resident Permit (also called a Working Visa or Residence Visa) in China.

A foreign national with above documentation cannot stay longer than 30 or 90 days in China, but can apply for long term work with a Chinese employer in accordance with usual procedures.

If you have questions or would like assistance with a short term visa application in China, please contact Allan Marson at or +1 408-738-0592 #719 for a complimentary consultation.