Upon entering China, the immigration officer will give you a blue slip reminding all “aliens” to register at Beijing’s Public Security Bureau (PSB). That’s because the visa you used to enter China was issued by the Chinese Embassy in your country of origin, not the Chinese government itself. Registering at the PSB allows you to obtain a visa from the government and thus all the privileges associated with it – such as a Z (work) visa, which grants temporary residence rights to the holder.
Apply for a Work Visa and Register at the PSB
Holders of Z visas and other long-term stay visas, as well as those who need an extension on their short-term stay visa, are required to visit the PSB. If you’re a foreign employee on a work visa, your company’s Human Resources department should handle some of the paperwork before you get to China. Required documents include:
• The results of a health check performed in a Chinese Embassy-approved clinic or hospital. These must be sent to your company and completed no more than six months before your intended date of entry in China.
• A work license from the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Labor and Social Security. This usually takes around ten working days to process.
• A government-issued invitation letter that must be applied for by your company, which takes at least five working days to process. For other types of visas, such as the S visa, an invitation letter with the the applicant’s contact details, purpose of visit, bank statements going back three months, and the inviter’s personal information must be included.
• Once the employee receives the work license and invitation letter, they must apply for a three-month temporary work visa at the
• After entering China, all foreigners must register at the local police station (派出所, paichusuo) within 48 hours. Normally, you must do this in person; bring your passport and a proof of address. If you’re unsure about the location of the nearest police station, ask your agent, landlord, or compound management office. The station will issue a temporary residence form.
• To get a work or student visa, foreigners must complete another checkup and obtain a medical certificate from Beijing International Travel Health Center in Haidian District.
• All of the required documents must be taken to the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Labor and Social Security to apply for a work permit (not be confused for the work license); your company normally handles this step, which takes around five working days to complete.
• Once all the documents are gathered, the employee must visit the PSB to apply for the work visa. You’ll need your passport, work permit, a filled-out application form, temporary residence form, your company’s business license, and two passport-sized photos. The visa takes up to 15 working days to process. Though the process is fairly straightforward, most companies will send a Chinese-speaking HR colleague to help.
• Once your new visa is ready, just return to the PSB and pay for it in cash at the cashier.
• You have to register the new visa with at your local police station to get a new temporary resident permit form. Do not lose this piece of paper, as you’ll need it for other tasks such as getting a SIM card and applying for a Chinese credit card.
If you run out of pages in your passport, you have four working days to re-register for a new visa at the PSB after you receive the new one. Keep in mind that if your current passport expires within a year, for example, the visa will be tied to your passport’s expiration date. Expect to receive several text messages from the authorities reminding you to renew your passport on time.
Friends or family visiting Beijing must also register at the police station within 48 hours of arriving if they plan to stay in the country for more than 72 hours (see p16 for information on the 72-hour visa-free transit policy). Failure to comply may result in each visitor being fined RMB 500 per every day they don’t show up to the police station.
Registering Your Dog
By law, all dogs must be registered at the owner’s local police station in Beijing; other animals are exempt. Registered animals are given a doggie ID card containing information about the dog and the owner. If you’re caught without this ID while walking your dog, you could face a fine of up to RMB 2,000.
Enforcement of this law, which is designed to control the stray animal population in Beijing, is often stepped up before major holidays such as Spring Festival (late January to early February), Labor Day (May 1-3), and National Day (October 1-7) as part of the government’s efforts to ensure public health and safety. Here’s what you need to know:
• Only one dog can be registered per household address. If you own a second dog, it must be registered at a different address.
• All dogs living within the Fifth Ring Road must measure no more than 35cm from floor to shoulder. This means that large dogs must be registered to an address outside Fifth Ring Road.
• The process for registering dogs at the police station often varies according to different districts, so consult your local paichusuo for details.
• When registering for the first time, you must bring your dog, two passport-sized photos of your dog (front head shot), your passport, temporary residence form, lease contract or property title document, written permission from your neighborhood watch committee (居委会, juweihui), and cash to pay for the registration fee.
If you live in one of Beijing’s eight major districts (Dongcheng, Xicheng, Chongwen, Xuanwu, Chaoyang, Haidian, Fengtai, and
Shijingshan), the registration costs RMB 1,000 the first time and RMB 500 for each subsequent annual renewal.
Newly-adopted or imported dogs can be registered any time after January 1 of each year. The registration will be valid from the date of registration until April 30 of the same year. Dogs that are already registered have a one-month renewal window every year between May 1 and 31. And yes, that means that if you register your dog for the first time on April 1, you’ll have to re-register them and pay another RMB 500 in May.
Entry and Exit Administration of the Public Security Bureau (PSB) 北京市公安局出入境总部
Mon-Sat 9am-5pm. 2 Andingmen Dongdajie (by Xiaojie Qiao), Dongcheng District (8402 0101) www.bjgaj.gov.cn 东城区东城区安定门东大街2号
International Center for Veterinary Services (ICVS) 北京新天地国际动物医院
Much of the information about dog registration above was provided by ICVS, an international-standard animal hospital with many useful articles for pet owners on its website. Daily 9am-6pm. 13-16 Rongke Ganlan Chengshang Jie, Futongxi Dajie, Wangjing, Chaoyang District (8456 1940, email@example.com) www.icvsasia.com 朝阳区望京阜通西大街融科橄榄城商街13-16号
About the Illustrator
Fifteen-year-old Louise Oyarzabal is in Grade 10 at the French International School of Beijing and takes art classes at Atelier. Her illustration is a free sketch in watercolor pencils based on an image she had in her mind of animals instead of people waiting in line at customs.
This article originally appeared in the 2015 beijingkids Home and Relocation Guide. Click here to read the issue for free on Issuu.com. To find out how you can get your own copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.