Applying for Visas into China in Nov 2021
In March 2020, all visas into China from every country were suspended indefinitely to help stop the spread of Covid-19. This meant that any non-citizen outside of the country regardless of circumstances could no longer reenter China.
Here’s an update of everything we know for how to get approved for a new visa in November 2021.
General Information to Be Aware Of
- All visas issued before March 2020 are suspended
- Multiple sources are telling us Q visas for family reunion are no longer being issued
- We’re hearing rumours that SF Consulate is accepting zero visa applications now, even with PU etc.
- Keep in mind that since there have been no official announcements,a lot of information has to come from first hand experience.
What Kind of Chinese Visas are Available for Americans?
The Two Visas to Enter China as Of November 2021
PU Letter Process (Work Visa)
Due to the pandemic, a foreign employee now needs a PU letter to apply for a PRC visa to enter China in addition to complying with the usual visa and work permit application process. A PU letter is an invitation letter issued by the local district government.
After being hired by a mainland Chinese company, your company will apply for a PU letter. This wait is typically 4-6 weeks. You’ll then go to the visa center to apply for a visa with this PU letter. If approved, you’ll get tested for Covid-19 and if negative will be given an HDC (Health Declaration Code) QR code by the Chinese embassy for use throughout China.
Next, you’ll need to buy your flight and upon arrival quarantine for 2-3 weeks, before being able to enjoy life in China.
Chinese Vaccine process (Emergency Humanitarian Visa)
The non-PU letter process is exactly the same, except obviously there’s no need to get a PU letter from a company. Although it makes it easier and faster, it doesn’t do much to increase your chances of approval or reduce your quarantine time.
After you receive your visa, make sure to check out our article on entry requirements to make sure you know what flights to buy, you are able to board, and things go smoothly after landing.
With that being said, the policy is changing daily. If you have the money and need to get into China soon for reasons other than a work permit (Z-visa) or a death or illness of a family member, we suggest finding a visa agency willing to submit your application and see what happens. (An Australian friend of mine was recently approved for a tourist visa to visit his girlfriend, so it’s possible.)
There have been recent indications that China will move on from a “zero-case” policy and towards adjusting to life with Covid-19 for the long term. See this recent Fortune article for more information.
Further Information on Chinese Visas for Americans
- Most consulates are currently issuing M/F visas instead of Z visas. This is to cut down on the amount of ‘pre-flight’ paperwork required and is the consulate doing you a favour.
- Your consulate has the final say on approving/denying visas. It varies from one consulate/visa center to the next, and may even be up to the person you’re seeing… they’re giving conflicting information
- Emergency humanitarian needs to include a death in the family (inside China) or a family member in critical hospital/palliative care. You will need to provide concrete evidence of this as well.
What if I don’t meet the requirements for a work or emergency humanitarian visa?
Unfortunately, the only answer right now is to wait and see. As mentioned before, there are some indications that a change in approach to Covid-19 may be taking place with a move away from a “zero-case” policy and a move towards one that focuses on living with the virus safely.
Officials recently announced that no foreign visitors will be allowed for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. However, it’s hard to say whether that has implications for regular visa seekers or not.
Sphere Resources has been providing a variety of customized in-country services for companies unable to return operations in China. Contact us directly for a free quote with your business needs.