China Visa Myth Busting

China Visa Myth Busting
Feb 14, 2022 By

Despite the multitude of information on the internet, it can be extremely difficult discerning fact from fiction when it comes to Chinese visas. While rules change fairly regularly, the articles on official looking websites rarely do. What’s more, visa agents can often accomplish things that individuals cannot. To help you navigate these murky waters, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common China visa myths in a bid to separate fact from fiction. As always, enforcement of these rules varies, and everything here is subject to change. Go figure!

China Visa Myth Busting


Myth: You can work on an F or L visa

This is one of the most common China visa myths. Many China employers who cannot procure proper work visas for their foreign employees will try and convince prospective hires that it’s perfectly fine to work on an F (business) visa, or promise to change an L (tourist) visa to a Z (work) visa and residence permit once they’ve started on the job.

Reality: It is illegal to work and receive a salary in China on any visa other than a Z visa with a proper residence permit. An F visa is intended for people who are temporarily in China on business, for a conference, or on a short stay at the request of their overseas company. If you are on a monthly salary and have a longterm contract within China, you should not be holding anything other than a Z with a residence permit.

Myth: Being married to a local means you can work in China

Reality: While being married to a Chinese citizen will grant you the ability to apply for a year-long visa, the initial visa type is usually still L (tourist), which means you’re not legally allowed to work. China is still a long way off giving foreign spouses automatic permanent residency.

In order to qualify for permanent residency by being married to a Chinese citizen, you must usually have lived in China as a tax payer with a residence permit and been married for at least five consecutive years. Even if you meet these requirements (and several others), the Chinese government still issues relatively few permanent residency cards. Most go to foreigners who have made big contributions to Chinese culture or the economy.

Myth: Children born in China to Chinese and foreign parents can have dual citizenship

Reality: China does not recognize dual citizenship. China considers all children born on Chinese soil to at least one Chinese parent to be Chinese citizens. Receiving a foreign passport technically changes nothing in the eyes of the Chinese government until that foreign passport is used for the first time.

When a person uses this foreign passport for the first time, they are considered to have renounced their Chinese citizenship. When this person comes back to China, therefore, they’ll need a Chinese visa, just like any other foreigner.  

Myth: Z visas are the same as residence permits

Reality: Z visas allow you to get into China with the intention of working. Your Z visa will be converted to a residence permit only after you’ve arrived in China, and only after this may you actually start work.

Many years ago, a residence permit was a separate booklet and therefore very clearly not the same as the visa. Nowadays, the residence permit is a sticker in your passport, which is perhaps how the confusion has arisen.

Myth: If I quit my job I’ll be blacklisted and unable to get a visa in the future

Reality: There’s little evidence that some sort of universal blacklist of China expats exists. While quitting your job may affect your reputation in your industry or city, it is unlikely you’ll be barred from obtaining future China visas unless your employer’s connections run incredibly deep or you did something unlawful in the role.

When switching jobs you will, however, need a release letter from your previous employer stating that you are free to work for another company in order for the visa to be transferred. Be aware that if you left on bad terms, a company may try to withhold this letter out of spite.

It never pays to burn bridges in China, but if you find yourself in a situation where you are battling over a release letter, your best bet may be to exit the country and start the visa process over again from scratch. This is obviously a real headache, but there’s no perfect solution when dealing with an uncooperative and vindictive former employer.

Myth: If I overstay my visa I’ll be arrested

Reality: Overstaying your visa usually just means a fine and (if you’re really unlucky) a swift deportation. You can be charged up to 500 RMB a day for a maximum of 30 days for this rather careless and unnecessary crime.

If you suddenly realize your visa is set to expire soon and you know you will not be able to leave the country in time, go to the entry/exit bureau of the city you are registered with and plead your case. The visa officers will often give you a short extension to give you time to get your affairs in order. If you realize you have already overstayed your visa, do the same or leave the country immediately, but expect to be hit with a fine and possibly deported if you’re not already leaving.

Myth: There are absolutes when it comes to the enforcement of visa laws in China

Reality: While it’s true that some China visa laws are pretty hard and fast, enforcement of others can be spotty. Two people in similar situations can end up with totally different results due to one person’s guanxi, the mood of a certain immigration officer on a certain day, the differences between provincial interpretations of the law, relations between the two countries, and recent policy changes passed down from central government.

Remember that nothing in China is absolute, so always be prepared in the event that your visa plans do not go as expected.

Hot New Jobs recommended for you
Content Specialist
Suijimanbu(Shanghai)Sports Technology CO.,Ltd.
  • 15,000 - 20,000 CNY /Month
  • Shanghai
  • Full Time
University General Education Lecturer
Expert International Education
  • 18,000 - 27,000 CNY /Month
  • Xiamen
  • Full Time|Part Time
Pre Kindergarten Teacher
KL international school
  • 20,000 - 25,000 CNY /Month
  • Chongqing
  • Full Time
University Food Science Lecturer needed
Beijing International Education Institute
  • 12,000 - 15,000 CNY /Month
  • Zhanjiang
  • Full Time
Sales Assistant/ Manager
Suzhou Kunlene Film Industries Co., Ltd
  • 8,000 - 13,000 CNY /Month
  • Suzhou
  • Full Time
Kindergarten Childcare Nursery Teacher
Freinet Education Center
  • 15,000 - 20,000 CNY /Month
  • Hangzhou
  • Full Time
ESL Teacher
Kid Castle Education Group
  • 20,000 - 25,000 CNY /Month
  • Shanghai
  • Full Time
English Anchor
Revopoint 3D Technologies Inc.
  • 15,000 - 40,000 CNY /Month
  • Shenzhen
  • Full Time
Kindergarten English Teacher
Hyledar International Kindergarten
  • 25,000 - 35,000 CNY /Month
  • Shenzhen
  • Full Time
Social Science Teacher
Eaglebridge International School
  • 20,000 - 28,000 CNY /Month
  • Dandong
  • Full Time
View More Jobs

Warning:The use of any news and articles published on without written permission from constitutes copyright infringement, and legal action can be taken.

Keywords: china visa


All comments are subject to moderation by staff. Because we wish to encourage healthy and productive dialogue we ask that all comments remain polite, free of profanity or name calling, and relevant to the original post and subsequent discussion. Comments will not be deleted because of the viewpoints they express, only if the mode of expression itself is inappropriate.



These myths can be so frustrating because everyone has something different to say. this article is better than most

Oct 26, 2022 11:30 Report Abuse



You can safely ignore some of the advice given in this article. For example, to qualify for permanent residence due to marriage, it is false that you need to have held a residence permit and paid tax for five years. Regarding dual citizenship, for those children under 18, China does not strictly enforce the policy on dual nationality. Even when you are over 18, there are ways to effectively keep and use dual nationality.

Jul 04, 2022 11:05 Report Abuse



Better article than most although not 100% accurate and does not use correct terminology which only makes it more confusing.

Apr 13, 2022 11:47 Report Abuse



This is My letter to Hong Kong new CEO Mr. John Lee. It doesn't mean anything if you have an X , Y or Z Visa. China does not follow or honor any of their Laws. They are as bad as the United States of Terror. They lie to you, steal your suggestions, and ideas, and then do everything to make you one of their Trophys. They even stole my house I paid for in Nanning, then selling it without asking or telling me, for double the money, and not giving me my money. I've been in China over 20 years. They knew I renounced my Citizenship of the United States of Terror after personally seeing the 911inside job in NYC, losing my job. I will never return there. XiJingPing is a big time Liar and Fraud claiming to be Mr. Anti Corruption, while doing nothing about the Criminal US Federal Reserve Bank Cartel that controls China Banks, and caused the collapse of Evergrande Bank of 300 billion dollars, along with 64 million empty homes called Ghost Cities in various Provinces in China. I am suing them, including the United States of Terror, as if that does any good, convincing and proving Thugliticians, they are guilty, so step down, and report to your Prison Cell , for inspection. Dear Mr. John Lee, My name is Mr. Dominic Jermano. We are the same age. I am in Hong Kong since 2013, being misled by China Government saying I can renew my Visa in Hong Kong. Then coming to Hong Kong with them not renewing it. I was prevented from returning to Nanning Guangxi, trapped in Hong Kong. This is my China Case Story. I came to China after personally seeing the 911inside job in NYC. I renounced my Citizenship of the United States of Terror. I started working for Mr. Lee Cong, teaching English at his Yinghua School. From Nov. 2001. Frankly, I realize the U.S. Government is not a Government but a Criminal Terrorists Syndicate, connected to Israel, via the Federal Reserve Bank Cartel, that controls the money exchange System. I refuse to pay taxes to the Thugliticians in Swampington DC. I am no complicit murderer, nor helping them. They did 911. And they did it because of Asbestos, and is why they created the Covid Virus. I am Stateless now over 20 years. Not allowed to work, in Hong Kong. I want to do my Projects, but not use U.S. Government Banking. The Projects are listed below, including a New Banking System. I invented the Worldwide Train System idea, that XiJinPing used to become President of China. He later changed the name to BRI and Silk Rd Initiative. Xi is not Mr. Anti Corruption, but enables and benefits from U.S. illegal Wars. They never gave me my Citizenship after they promised me Citizenship if I contribute any positive Economic and Environmental benefits to China. Instead robbed me, assaulted me, more than once, illegally thrown in jail more than once. Even stealing the house I paid for from my School Boss Mr. Lee Cong next door to the School in Nanning. Them doing this when I was trapped in Hong Kong, then selling it for double the money, not asking or telling me, or giving me my money. The question I have is how does a Criminal President of China, allow me to be Citizen of China, who not only robs me but helps the Terrorist US Thugliticians who I don't want to be a Citizen for, and help ? I have more honesty and TRUTH than XiJinPing. He should be arrested. Not only did he help the U.S. Government Finance their illegal Wars, by buying U.S. Debt. Security Bonds of over a Trillion dollars, he also got millions of dollars in Financing the Creation of the Covid Virus in Wuhan. He also allows Carlysle Group to control China Citic Group, who controls China Banks, that has caused the collapse, with 64 million empty homes called Ghost Cities in various Provinces in China. Along with the Collapse of Evergrande Bank, of over 300 billion dollars. Citic Group also gave millions of dollars to a U.S. Terrorist Mercenary Thug Erik Prince in Hong Kong who used that money to Finance the Rioters. I am seeking your help for my Projects. I warn you. My Projects are well thought out, with 1+1 = 2 . In other words they add up, and I don't lie. I am in Hong Kong. I can meet you, and explain if you are willing. I am providing you this information, that you should know. Easter Greetings, Mr. Dominic Jermano Thank you very much for the message. The content has been noted. We shall reply to you, where appropriate, as soon as possible. Note: This is an automatic reply to acknowledge receipt of your message. If you have not sent us an e-mail, please kindly let us know by e-mail and ignore this acknowledgement.多謝閣下的電子郵件,內容備悉。如有需 要,我們會盡快作 出回覆。(注意: 這是電腦自動發出的回覆信息。 如閣下未曾向本署寄發電子郵 件,請以電郵通知本署 ,並不必理會以上的回覆。)

Apr 12, 2022 17:08 Report Abuse