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CHINA – Recent Restrictions on Work and Business Visas for Shanghai

Recently, the Shanghai immigration authorities have changed their policy on issuing Z (work) visa invitation letters to foreign nationals in Hong Kong, and have also made some tougher decisions about whether M (business) visa holders are legitimately travelling for business.

Z Visa Applications in Hong Kong

The Ministry of Public Security in Shanghai has recently stopped issuing invitation letters for foreign nationals to obtain Z (work) visas in Hong Kong, unless the applicant has a Hong Kong ID Card (which establishes residency). Previously, it was possible to obtain a Z visa for Shanghai in Hong Kong without a Hong Kong ID Card.

Other Chinese cities may still issue Z visa invitation letters for foreign nationals in Hong Kong with no Hong Kong ID card, but this should be checked on a case-by-case basis.

M Visa Holders

The immigration authorities in Shanghai have recently turned away some frequent business visitors holding M (business) visas at the border.

The explanation seems to be that, although the visitors were on legitimate M visas, the frequency and length of their visits suggested to immigration officials that they weren’t genuine business visitors, but were actually coming to China for work.

Action Items

  • Foreign nationals intending to take up work in Shanghai must obtain their Z visa in their country of nationality or residence, rather than on a visit to Hong Kong.
  • Frequent business travellers to China who are planning to travel to Shanghai, including those holding a valid M visa, should check with the immigration authorities in Shanghai that their business travel schedule is considered legitimate.

This news alert was prepared using information provided by Asia Pacific Access and Lehman Law.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2021 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.