Keeping track of visa regulations in China sometimes feels like a game of Whack-a-Mole. Ten-year tourist visas! Yay! Whack! Background checks required! Ugh! Whack! New categories! Huh? Whack! It never seems to end!
Last week the good folks at China Law Blog highlighted yet another new set of regulations that pertain to foreigners entering China to complete “short term tasks.” These new regulations went into effect on January 1, 2015.
According to the Processing Procedures, if a foreigner comes to China to complete a short-term work task and stays no more than 90 days, he or she must get a work visa (a/k/a a Z visa).
“Short-term work tasks” are defined as follows:
- Completing tasks such as those involving technology, scientific research, management and guidance at the place of the China partner
- Participating in athletic tryouts at a China sports institution
- Shooting films, including advertisements and documentaries
- Performing in fashion shows, including car models, and shooting print advertisement.
- Participating in foreign-related commercial performances
- Other circumstances as identified by MHRSS [Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security].
According to their reading of the Processing Procedures, the following activities require an M visa (“visas issued to those invited to China for commercial and trade activities”):
- Providing services such as maintenance, installation, commissioning, disassembly, guidance or training associated with the purchase of machines and equipment
- Guiding, supervising and inspecting a China project won in a bid
- Being seconded to work short-term at a China branch, subsidiary or representative office established by a foreign company
- Participating in most sports competitions
According to their reading of the Processing Procedures, the following activities require an F visa (“visas issued to those invited to China for exchanges, visits, study tours and other activities”):
- Working as a volunteer for free or even though paid, payment is received from a foreign entity
- Participating in commercial performances not noted as “foreign-related commercial performances” by the relevant cultural authorities in the approval letter
If you or your organization are planning a short-term trip to China this summer, now is probably a good time to start thinking about what kind of visa you will need.
Image credit: Visa, by Helen K, via Flickr
Joann Pittman is Vice President of Partnership and China Engagement and editor of ZGBriefs. Prior to joining ChinaSource, Joann spent 28 years working in China, as an English teacher, language student, program director, and cross-cultural trainer for organizations and businesses engaged in China. She has also taught Chinese at the University …View Full Bio
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