As China promises a more digitalized environment for everyone including foreign expatriates, police registration of foreign arrivals is now made easier with an online residence registration system.
Read about How to Get a Permanent Residence Permit in China if you have stayed in China for a while now.
Take a look at our guide on how to register online and stay in China hassle-free!
Exit-Entry Administration Law for foreigners
According to the Exit-Entry Administration law that came into force on July 1, 2013, foreigners coming to China must register their accommodation within 24 hours of arrival in China and abide by the rules on public security.
Foreigners staying in a hotel need not worry as the hotel management is tasked to submit the relevant information to the public security officials.
However, the case is different if the foreigner is to stay or be accommodated somewhere else other than hotels in China. According to the law, he or she must undergo registration formalities and show up at the nearest police station.
The Public Security Bureau (PSB) imposes a fine of not more than 2000 RMB for foreigners who fail to obey the above provisions. Moreover, the bureau also penalizes hotels for failing to do their job. They will be fined an amount of not less than 1000 RMB but no more than 5000 RMB.
In-person registration: a thing of the past?
During the China International Import Expo (CIIE) held last year, the public security bureau’s exit-entry administration noticed that foreign visitors had difficulty registering their residence at the police stations. The local police found some foreigners living in residential communities without registering.
As a result, the Chinese authorities decided to open an online system for registering a temporary address. What’s more, the move relieves foreigners from presenting any material proof such as a residence certificate or lease agreement.
Foreigners don´t need to provide legal papers when registering online. Instead, local police officers within the nearby community will visit at the registered address. They will take legal action for any discovery of false declaration.
Meanwhile, the police bureau has so far opened the online procedure to those staying in Shanghai and about 500,00 people will benefit from this system every year, according to official estimates.
Are you ready to register? Here’s how!
First, click the Self-Help Declaration System For Overseas Personnel’s Accommodation Registration to log in or sign up.
Second, fill in your details. Simply upload a copy of your passport page and it will automatically extract the information. Of course, you may need to correct any information if necessary.
Note: In the “please upload your front photo with your certificate” caption, never mind the certificate. It just means you have to provide a photo of yourself holding the passport. You may also click on the “sample” button to see how it looks like.
Third, fill in your residence information. In this section, you may want to consult with the owner of the place you are living in. Inputting your address can be a bit confusing especially if you are not familiar with the area.
You also need to input your “Date of Arrival” in China. If you do not remember the exact date, you usually find it next to your Chinese visa page. Immigration officers normally put a stamp on your arrival date.
Fourth, you just have to wait to finish the process and then, obtain your registration form of temporary residence.
A QR code will come up and you can have the option to download (“preview”), email, or share a PDF form that incorporates the seals or chop. You will also receive an email notification or text message when the registration process is successful.
After completion, you can now enjoy your stay in China without worries!
What if you are not residing in Shanghai?
As mentioned, online registration is only working for Shanghai at the moment. Other cities do not have the same system installed yet. So, foreigners who plan to stay in another city have to stick to the in-person registration.
Security officers stress the importance of the 24-hour rule of registration. People coming overseas must register within the given time frame. Here are the necessary documents to bring to the police station:
A copy of the landlord’s ID and phone number
Proof of residence from the property management office or services apartment
Need a Reminder?
You should make photocopies of your passport, visa page, and the page containing the most recent entry stamp into Chinese territory
It is always a general rule to make a copy of your travel documents. You should also not forget to do the same for your temporary residence registration form later on.
Keeping copies will save you from complications in case the original gets stolen or lost. You may then request a duplicate from the police station in this scenario.
China’s PSB encourages all foreigners to take a reasonable effort to register and get the job done within 24 hours to avoid penalties. It is also commendable to prepare a valid excuse and apologize if you miss registering within the said hours.If you are interested to know more about foreign-related tips while living in China, contact our team for inquiries and follow us on social media to get the latest news!
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