New Chinese “Green Card” Regulation (Draft)

David Ho   |   March 16, 2020

Chinese Permanent Residence is also known as Chinese “Green Card” which is one of the most difficult to get in the world.

It has been more than 15 years from current “Measures for the Administration of Examination and Approval of Aliens’ Permanent Residence in China” promulgated on August 15, 2004.

On February 27, 2020 the Ministry of Justice released the Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on the Management of Permanent Residence of Foreigners (Exposure Draft) (2020) to gather public opinions till March 27, 2020.

The requirements for application conditions in the new regulations have not actually changed fundamentally, little change on investment and senior executives categories, but give more detailed classification on employment category.

The new changes in the new regulations are mainly reflected in the improvement and optimization of the existing foreigner management system.

In the past, foreigners who obtained the right of permanent residence encountered a variety of difficulties in bank account opening, hotel accommodation, and children’s education. In the past, the system had a gap in the actual application of the permanent residence system. The new regulations will provide support in the assessment and review of foreigners’ permanent residency, and can also resolve the confusion of the grassroots of the immigration management department in actual work.

Today we will focus on comparison of qualifications between the current regulation(version 2004) and the new regulation draft (version 2020).

Relevant qualifications articles in current regulation(2004 version)

Article 6  Aliens who wish to apply for permanent residence in China should abide by Chinese laws, be healthy and have no criminal record, and they must meet at least one of the following requirements:

(1) having made direct investment in China with stable operation and a good tax paying record for three successive years;

(2) having been holding the post of deputy general manager, deputy factory director or above, or having the title of associate professor or associate research fellow or above, and other associate senior titles of professional posts or above or enjoying an equal treatment in China for at least four successive years, with a minimum period of residence in China for three cumulative years within four years and with a good tax paying record;

(3) having made great and outstanding contributions and being specially needed by China;

(4) being the spouse or unmarried children under 18 years of age of a person referred to in Item (1), (2) or (3) of this paragraph;

(5) being the spouse of a Chinese citizen or of an alien with permanent residence status in China, in a marriage relationship for at least five years, with at least five successive years of residence in China and at least nine months of residence in China each year, and having stable source of subsistence and a dwelling place;

(6) being an unmarried child under 18 years of age dependant on his/her parents;

(7) being a person at the age of 60 years or older with no direct relatives overseas but patronized by direct relatives in China, having stayed in China for at least five successive years with at least nine-month residence in China each year, and having stable source of subsistence and a dwelling place.

All the time periods mentioned in this article mean the successive ones till the application date.

 Article 7  In the case of an alien under Item (1) of the first paragraph of Article 6 herein, the registered capital he/she pays as investment in China shall meet any of the following requirements:

(1) investment of at least US$500,000 in total in any industry encouraged under the Catalogue for the Guidance of Foreign Investment Industries ;

(2) investment of at least US$500,000 in total in western China or any key county under National Poverty Relief and Development Program;

(3) investment of at least US$1 million in total in central China;4) investment of at least US$2 million in total in China.

Article 8  In the case of an alien under Item (2) of the first paragraph of Article 6 herein, the unit in which he/she holds a post must be any of the following:

(1) an institution subordinate to any department of the State Council or the People’s Government at the provincial level;

(2) a key college or university;

(3) an enterprise or government-sponsored institution implementing a key engineering project or major scientific research project of the state;

(4) a high-tech enterprise, foreign invested enterprise in encouraged fields, technologically advanced enterprise with foreign investment or export-oriented enterprise with foreign investment.

Relevant qualification articles in new regulation draft

Article 11 

Foreigners who have made outstanding contributions to China’s economic and social development may, on the recommendation of the competent authorities of the state or the people’s governments of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government, apply for permanent residence under any of the following circumstances:

(1) Having made outstanding contributions to China’s science and technology, education, culture, health, sports and other undertakings;

(2) Having made outstanding contributions to the development of public welfare undertakings in China;

(3) Having made outstanding contributions to promoting China-foreign friendly exchanges and cooperation, maintaining world peace, and promoting mutual development;

(4) Other circumstances in which China has made outstanding contributions to China’s economic and social development.

Article 12

Foreigners who have achieved internationally recognized outstanding achievements in the fields of economy, science and technology, education, culture, health, sports, etc., can directly apply for permanent residency.

Article 11 and 12 are same with article 6-(3) in current regulation (version 2004), there are very few foreigners who are qualified.

Article 13 

Foreigners who need to be introduced due to the needs of China’s economic and social development may apply permanent residency if they meet one of the following circumstances: 

(1) Urgently needed talents introduced by the country’s key industries and regions and recommended by the competent authority;

(2) Academicians and researchers with titles of assistant professors and above who have been introduced and recommended by the state’s key universities and research institutions and professors and researchers who have been introduced and recommended by other universities and research institutions;

(3) Senior executives or senior professional technicians introduced and recommended by high-tech enterprises, innovative enterprises or domestic well-known enterprises;

(4) Professionals recommended by foreigners who have obtained permanent residence in accordance with Article 12 of this regulations.

Article 13 is same with article 8 in current regulation. Applicable to foreigners working in specific industries, specific types of enterprises, and universities. Both foreign er and his/her employer are qualified.

Article 15 

Foreigners who work in China in accordance with the law belong to one of the following situations and have good tax records and credit records, they can apply for permanent residency:

(1) Have a doctoral degree or graduate from a well-known international university, have worked in China for three years, and have accumulated an actual residence period of not less than one year;

(2) Having worked for three consecutive years in key industries and regions where the state has been developing, during which the accumulated actual residence time shall not be less than one year, and the annual wage income shall not be less than four times the average wage of urban employees in the region where they were in the previous year;

(3) Having worked in China for four consecutive years, during which the cumulative actual residence time is not less than two years, and the annual salary income is not less than six times the average salary of urban employees in the region in the previous year;

(4) Having worked in China for eight consecutive years, during which the actual residence accumulated during the period is not less than four years, and the annual salary income is not less than three times the average salary of urban employees in the region where they were in the previous year.

The salary-based annual income stipulated in items 2 to 4 of the preceding paragraph is the minimum standard. The specific standards shall be determined by the people’s governments of the provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the central government.

This employment category is the most eligible category. Most of the qualified applicants for Chinese Green card fall into this category and reunion category currently.

This article gives more detailed classification based on work age, salary level , education level and key national development industries. The higher your salary is, the less work age is needed. Even there isn’t any related article in current regulation (version 2004), but actually every city has their own standards. We will show the comparison with current employment qualifications in Shenzhen by Chart later.

Article 16 

In accordance with the provisions of the Foreign Investment Law, foreigners who invest in enterprises as natural persons or as controlling shareholders belong to one of the following situations, and if the investment situation is stable for three consecutive years, and the tax records and credit records are good, they can apply for permanent residence.

 (1) Investment in China equivalent to more than RMB 10 million;

 (2) Investment in foreign investment encouraged regions, the amount of investment, the amount of tax paid, and the number of employed Chinese citizens meet the prescribed criteria; The criteria shall be determined by the National  Immigration Administration Department and the relevant departments of the State Council.

(3) The high-tech enterprises and innovative enterprises with significant benefits and recommended by the provinces, autonomous regions and municipal authorities.

This article is investment category and has similar content with article 6-1 and article 7 in current regulation (version 2004).  

Article 17

Foreigners who need a family reunion may apply for permanent residency if they fall into one of the following circumstances:

 (1) The spouse is a Chinese citizen or a foreigner with China permanent residence, has lived with the spouse in China for five years after marriage, and has accumulated actual residence of not less than nine months each year, with stable living security and domicile;

(2) Children under the age of eighteen refer to Chinese parents residing in China or foreign parents permanently residing in China;

(3) Those who have reached the age of sixty and have no immediate relatives abroad. They have depended on immediate relatives of Chinese nationality living in China or foreign relatives of permanent nationality who have permanently resided in China. Accumulated no less than nine months with stable living security and residence.

This article is exactly same with article 6-5,6-6 and 6-7 in current regulation(version 2004). And this reunion category especially number (1) is another most eligible category except of employment category in article 15.

The above is the main articles related with qualifications to apply Chinese Green Card.

Here is the Comparison Chart:

Shenzhen’s average monthly salary of the year 2018 is CNY9192. Four times is: CNY36768, Six times is CNY55152, three times is: CNY27576. Will adjust in July each year.

We only list main categories comparison, for detailed qualifications based on current regulation can check our article:

Official link for full text in Chinese:


As for processing time, it says “shall make a decision of approval or disapproval within 6 months from the date of handling applications” in article 18 in  current regulation (version 2004) and 120 days from the date of acceptance of applications by Exit-Entry Administration in article 23 in new regulation draft( version 2020).

Actually it takes longer time from our experience. 

For spouse category applications: From 10 months to 20 months.

For employment category applications(salary and tax): From 9 months to 14 months. 

Processing time will be different for diffrent categories, different applicants, different cities. 

As for progress status, there is no online system or phone number to track the status. We hope that it will have a channel or online system to check the status during application after the fanalization of the new regulation . 

People can submit their opinions through the following three ways before March 27, 2020:

1. Log in the Ministry of Justice of the People’s Republic of China or Chinese Government Legal Information Websites (, or China Legal Service Website ( and enter the main menu of the homepage to give your opinion on the “Legislative Opinion Collection” (立法意见征集) column.

2. Send your opinions by letter to: 北京市朝阳区朝阳门南大街6号司法部立法一局(邮政编码:100020)and please indicate on the envelope “外国人永久居留管理条例征求意见” .

3. Send your comments via email to: [email protected]

We will post new regulation once finalized in the near future. Follow our public account for update.

Feel free to contact us to apply Chinese “Green Card” based on current regulation or get more details.  

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