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How to get a Marriage Residence Permit in China in 5 steps

How to get a Marriage Residence Permit in China in 5 steps

If you managed with the hurdles of getting married to a Chinese citizen, you would see that getting a marriage visa or residence permit in China is an easy process. If you apply from outside of China, you will need to apply for a Q1 VISA (long-term reunion) first. Then, you will change that to a marriage residence permit during your allowed 30 days in China. But you will require a series of documents for this. In this article you will learn how you can get your marriage residence permit and what documents you need to get one.

Bureaucracy first 

If you want to apply for a marriage residence permit in China, you will need a series of documents:

  • Registration form of temporary residence for visitors.
    The moment you enter China with your visa you have to register in 24 hours at the local police station. If you’ve booked a hotel room, the staff of the hotel will do that for you. Also, if you are a student, the university can help you with it. Each time you get a new visa or a residence permit, you are obligated to register and fill in a new form. This form is needed when applying for a residence permit.
  • Physical examination record.
    This can be obtained by doing a full body check-up at designated clinics in China. For example, in Guangzhou, you can do this at the Guangdong International Travel Healthcare Center. The examination will cost you around 600 Yuan. You should also bring with you official photos (which can be taken a small photo shop near the health center), and your passport (original and copy). 
  • Official photos with the official receipt.
    These can be taken at the Entry and Exit Administration Division, also the place where you apply for the permit.
  • Your marriage certificate (the red booklet) in original and copy.
    They will keep the copy, and the original will be inspected. 
  • Chinese spouse’s hukou, ID card and also copies of each of them.
    They will keep the copy, and the original will be examined. 

You will need to take all these documents to the Entry and Exit Administration Division (search for the location depending on the city you live in). 

The five steps to get your marriage residence permit

Step #1: Take photos. You most probably still have some photos left from the health examination. Those are good, and you can use them. Remember to have the official receipt. 

Step #2: The Entry and Exit Administration Division will provide you with computers. You have to apply through the online system. There are also officers that can help foreigners (if they are not too busy). The system is still not too friendly to use, so you have to be patient. In the end, you will receive a long number. Write that down. 

Step #3: Take a waiting number and wait for your documents to be checked by an officer. They will also ask you the number you wrote down in the previous step. 

Step #4: After the officer has checked your documents, they will give you a pass and a new waiting number for another office. There your documents will be verified again, and you will receive a receipt. With this receipt, you come back in approximately two weeks, and you will receive your passport with the new residence permit. The date when you should come to pick it up is written on the receipt.

Step #5:  When you come to get your passport, don’t forget to get a waiting number and pay the fee with your Chinese bank card. The usual fee for a 1-3 years’ residence permit is 800 Yuan. After paying you will receive your passport back and you can go home. 

Note: Don’t forget to re-register at the local police station again!

The duration of marriage residence permit may vary - usually between one and two years depending on the zone and city you apply. You can ask how long you are allowed to stay while filling out the online form (Step #2).  

At the Entry and Exit Administration Division you can also inquire what the requirements for your city actually are in order to be sure there are no modifications in the required documents and the steps you have to take to receive your marriage residence permit.

Photo credit: Willem van der Veen

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