Chamber Lauds Latest Change in Foreign National Returnee Policy, Now Looks to Students Go back »

2020-09-24 | All chapters

Chamber Lauds Latest Change in Foreign National Returnee Policy, Now Looks to Students

This latest policy applies to you if the ‘Purpose of Residence’ listed on your existing residence permit is ‘work’ (工作), ‘personal matters’ (私人事务) or ‘reunion’ (团聚)


The European Chamber is highly encouraged by the recent relaxation of travel restrictions on foreign nationals. Announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on 23rd September, the new policy should facilitate the return of more Europeans back home to China.

Since the COVID-19-related travel restrictions suddenly came into effect at midnight on 28th March, the safe return of foreign nationals to China has been the European Chamber’s top advocacy priority. Frequent exchanges on this topic have taken place over recent months at all levels of government, including correspondence with Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi and Chinese Ambassador to the EU Zhang Ming. This was accompanied by a coordinated effort through our local chapters with advocacy meetings taking place with provincial governors, mayors, vice mayors and local-level entry-exit bureaus.

An initial breakthrough took place in early April when Minister Wang Yi wrote to the Chamber, indicating that a ‘fast-track’ solution was being put in place to bring back foreign nationals vital to company operations, which involved the issuing of PU letters to allow them to apply for an entry visa. There was a further improvement on 11th August, when Europeans residing in specific European companies were no longer required to obtain the PU letter in order to apply for an entry visa if they had a valid residence permit.

This latest announcement from the MFA now states that “foreign nationals holding valid residence permits for work [工作], personal matters [私人事务] and reunion[团聚]” no longer need to apply for an entry visa, which is a significant improvement. Those whose documentation expired after 28th March will be able to use their expired residency permits to apply for relevant visas, provided their reason for entry remains the same. This means that more of our member companies’ personnel, teachers from international schools, and their families will now be able to return provided they abide by all necessary health and safety measures.

“This is a true landmark in terms of getting the economy back to full health, and the Chamber greatly appreciates the strong cooperation displayed by the Chinese government on this issue,” said Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Chamber. “We are not going to rest on our laurels, though, we must now work towards a solution for students to safely enter China as well.”

MFA announcement in Chinese; MFA announcement in English.

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Betty Feng