Reading time: 7 minutes


China's Permanent Residence Application: Explaining the Eligibility and Process in Guangdong

In this article, we explain China's permanent residence policies with a focus on the eligibility and application process in Guangdong province.



Zoey Zhang

Associate Editor

Shanghai Office


In this article, we explain Chinas permanent residence application process for Guangdong. This is a part of a series of articles on China Briefing explaining Chinese Green Card policies for first-tier cities. You are welcome to read our articles for information on the permanent residence application for Beijing and Shanghai.

Due to the protracted COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing travel bans, to avoid the cumbersome visa application procedures, many expatriates in China have begun to assess the pros and cons of obtaining a Foreigner Permanent Residence Identity Card, also known as the Chinese Green Card.



In theory, foreigners granted permanent residence status enjoy almost the same rights and bear the same obligations as Chinese citizens. The card will facilitate their travel to and from China as well as employment, childrens education, property purchase, healthcare, social security, travel and accommodation, etc. in China (for detailed pros and cons, you can refer to our Shanghai article in below).


While the card is hard to obtain, with the countrys opening-up and desire for foreign talents, China has been rolling out policies to lower the threshold for permanent residency application (including the Opinions on Strengthening the Administration of Permanent Residence Service for Foreigners released in 2016 and the Twelve Immigration and Entry-Exit Facilitation Measures released in 2019).


On February 27, 2020, China unveiled a new draft on the Regulations on the Administration of Permanent Residence of Foreigners. The new draft introduced a new set of rules to determine how foreign citizens can be eligible for permanent residency in China.


Unfortunately, the endeavor has been stuck in the draft seeking for public comments stage. Hence, foreigners still need to refer to local policies to understand the details of the permanent residency applications, including the eligibility criteria, procedures, timeline, and costs.


In this article, we provide information on the most updated permanent residency policies in the South China province of Guangdong, which has multiple cities that are part of the Greater Bay Area.


Who can apply for permanent residence in Guangdong?


As part of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and with an increasing demand for overseas talents, the Guangdong province has relaxed immigration rules to make it easier for foreign nationals to live and work in Guangdong.


As early as 2016, the Guangdong Public Security department released the Sixteen Entry-Exist Policy Measures (Sixteen Policies) in an effort to simplify the entry process and encourage the retention of high-level foreign talents and innovators in Guangdong. The Sixteen Policies came into effect on August 1, 2016.


Of the Sixteen Policies, some lowered the threshold for a permanent residency identity card in Guangdong and Guangdong Free Trade Zone (FTZ) and shortened the processing time.


Combined with the relevant relaxed policies, in the following table, we compiled the eligibility criteria for six categories of applicants who can apply for Chinese Green Card in Guangdong including foreigner workers, high-level talents, investors, foreigners with outstanding contributions, foreign nationals of Chinese origin, and foreigners applying for family reunion reasons.


Disclaimer: Information in this table is collected from the official WeChat account of the Entry-Exit Administration of Shenzhen Public Security Bureau and translated by China Briefing for general information purpose. No liability is assumed for the accuracy of the content. For advice on your specific business queries, please contact a qualified professional advisor. You are welcome to consult our experts at Dezan Shira & Associates by emailing us at [email protected].


How to apply for permanent residence in Guangdong?


Upon self-assessment of the qualifications based on the above-mentioned categories, the applicant should prepare corresponding application documents and submit to the local exit-entrance administration bureau.


Here are the primary documents needed for the permanent residence application:

  • Complete Application Form for Permanent Residence in China;

  • Valid passports and valid visas (or resident permit);

  • Health certificates issued by a domestic entry-exit inspection authority and issued within the last six months;

  • Non-criminal record abroad;

  • Paper and electronic photos;

  • If the applicant applies for the permanent residence card through employment company recommendation letters, employment certificate, licenses, relevant qualification documents, pay slips, and tax payment certificates are also required;

  • If applicant is an accompanying family member proof of relationship (marriage certificate, birth certificate, or proof of kinship) and evidence of shelter and table income are also required;

  • If the applicant was once of Chinese nationality naturalization paper or household registration transcript, overseas permanent resident certificate, and previous China passport are also required;

  • If the applicant is a foreign investor the certificate and record-filing documents related to foreign invested enterprise, the business license, a capital verification report showing that the companys registered capital has reached the standard, and personal tax payment certificate for the last three years; and

  • If the applicant is high-end talents the high-end talents certificate or recommendation issued by Guangdong province or local authorities are required.

Applicants shall submit the primary documents as well as additional materials required by the exit-entry administration of the local public security bureau, and the application will be processed within 90-180 working days (Applications in most of the criteria could be processed within 180 days and time for investigation is excluded if some items need to be investigated by the local public security bureau).


In practice, the whole process could be prolonged considering the time for preparing the documentation and submitting them to the bureau in charge.


Given the burdensome preparation work and the ongoing travel restrictions, it is advisable that applicants reach out to a local specialist to handle the application process.


As a professional business service provider, Dezan Shira & Associates can provide you necessary support in assessing your eligibility and feasibility, as well as processing your application for a Chinese permanent residence ID card. Please contact us without hesitation or email us at [email protected].








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China Permanent Residence Application in Guangdong


Reading time: 7 minutes


China's Permanent Residence Application: Explaining the Eligibility and Process in Guangdong

In this article, we explain China's permanent residence policies with a focus on the eligibility and application process in Guangdong province.



Zoey Zhang

Associate Editor

Shanghai Office


In this article, we explain Chinas permanent residence application process for Guangdong. This is a part of a series of articles on China Briefing explaining Chinese Green Card policies for first-tier cities. You are welcome to read our articles for information on the permanent residence application for Beijing and Shanghai.

Due to the protracted COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing travel bans, to avoid the cumbersome visa application procedures, many expatriates in China have begun to assess the pros and cons of obtaining a Foreigner Permanent Residence Identity Card, also known as the Chinese Green Card.



In theory, foreigners granted permanent residence status enjoy almost the same rights and bear the same obligations as Chinese citizens. The card will facilitate their travel to and from China as well as employment, childrens education, property purchase, healthcare, social security, travel and accommodation, etc. in China (for detailed pros and cons, you can refer to our Shanghai article in below).


While the card is hard to obtain, with the countrys opening-up and desire for foreign talents, China has been rolling out policies to lower the threshold for permanent residency application (including the Opinions on Strengthening the Administration of Permanent Residence Service for Foreigners released in 2016 and the Twelve Immigration and Entry-Exit Facilitation Measures released in 2019).


On February 27, 2020, China unveiled a new draft on the Regulations on the Administration of Permanent Residence of Foreigners. The new draft introduced a new set of rules to determine how foreign citizens can be eligible for permanent residency in China.


Unfortunately, the endeavor has been stuck in the draft seeking for public comments stage. Hence, foreigners still need to refer to local policies to understand the details of the permanent residency applications, including the eligibility criteria, procedures, timeline, and costs.


In this article, we provide information on the most updated permanent residency policies in the South China province of Guangdong, which has multiple cities that are part of the Greater Bay Area.


Who can apply for permanent residence in Guangdong?


As part of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and with an increasing demand for overseas talents, the Guangdong province has relaxed immigration rules to make it easier for foreign nationals to live and work in Guangdong.


As early as 2016, the Guangdong Public Security department released the Sixteen Entry-Exist Policy Measures (Sixteen Policies) in an effort to simplify the entry process and encourage the retention of high-level foreign talents and innovators in Guangdong. The Sixteen Policies came into effect on August 1, 2016.


Of the Sixteen Policies, some lowered the threshold for a permanent residency identity card in Guangdong and Guangdong Free Trade Zone (FTZ) and shortened the processing time.


Combined with the relevant relaxed policies, in the following table, we compiled the eligibility criteria for six categories of applicants who can apply for Chinese Green Card in Guangdong including foreigner workers, high-level talents, investors, foreigners with outstanding contributions, foreign nationals of Chinese origin, and foreigners applying for family reunion reasons.


Disclaimer: Information in this table is collected from the official WeChat account of the Entry-Exit Administration of Shenzhen Public Security Bureau and translated by China Briefing for general information purpose. No liability is assumed for the accuracy of the content. For advice on your specific business queries, please contact a qualified professional advisor. You are welcome to consult our experts at Dezan Shira & Associates by emailing us at [email protected].


How to apply for permanent residence in Guangdong?


Upon self-assessment of the qualifications based on the above-mentioned categories, the applicant should prepare corresponding application documents and submit to the local exit-entrance administration bureau.


Here are the primary documents needed for the permanent residence application:

  • Complete Application Form for Permanent Residence in China;

  • Valid passports and valid visas (or resident permit);

  • Health certificates issued by a domestic entry-exit inspection authority and issued within the last six months;

  • Non-criminal record abroad;

  • Paper and electronic photos;

  • If the applicant applies for the permanent residence card through employment company recommendation letters, employment certificate, licenses, relevant qualification documents, pay slips, and tax payment certificates are also required;

  • If applicant is an accompanying family member proof of relationship (marriage certificate, birth certificate, or proof of kinship) and evidence of shelter and table income are also required;

  • If the applicant was once of Chinese nationality naturalization paper or household registration transcript, overseas permanent resident certificate, and previous China passport are also required;

  • If the applicant is a foreign investor the certificate and record-filing documents related to foreign invested enterprise, the business license, a capital verification report showing that the companys registered capital has reached the standard, and personal tax payment certificate for the last three years; and

  • If the applicant is high-end talents the high-end talents certificate or recommendation issued by Guangdong province or local authorities are required.

Applicants shall submit the primary documents as well as additional materials required by the exit-entry administration of the local public security bureau, and the application will be processed within 90-180 working days (Applications in most of the criteria could be processed within 180 days and time for investigation is excluded if some items need to be investigated by the local public security bureau).


In practice, the whole process could be prolonged considering the time for preparing the documentation and submitting them to the bureau in charge.


Given the burdensome preparation work and the ongoing travel restrictions, it is advisable that applicants reach out to a local specialist to handle the application process.


As a professional business service provider, Dezan Shira & Associates can provide you necessary support in assessing your eligibility and feasibility, as well as processing your application for a Chinese permanent residence ID card. Please contact us without hesitation or email us at [email protected].








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