More info on China’s new visa rules

Chinese visaCity Weekend has a fantastic overview of the changes to the Chinese visa system put in place yesterday.

The changes, adopted by the National’s People Congress last June, are primarily to curb illegal stay and illegal employment of foreigners in China. Key points of the changes are:

  • F Visas, for commercial/business visits, are now called M Visas.
  • F Visas are now for short-term, non-commercial purposes (scientific, educational, cultural, health or sports).
  • L Visas, for travel/tourism, largely remains unchanged.
  • Q Visas have been created for family reunions and foreigners visiting Chinese citizens (Q1) & permanent residents (Q2).
  • R Visas have been created for highly skilled professionals.
  • S Visas have been created for private visits (divorce, inheritance, adoption, marriage or medical services).
  • X Visas, the student/internship visas previously issued for 180 days, have been split into X1 (long-term) and X2 (short-term).
  • Z Visas, or work visas, have been split into Z1 (>90 days) and Z2 (<90 days).

The article adds:

Since a major motivator behind the new law is to curb illegal residency as well as employment in China, we are likely to see an increase in the enforcement of residence permits. According to the British Embassy in Beijing, anyone staying in China for longer than 180 days will need a residence permit.

Be sure to check out the post for more details, including a Q&A with Magic Cheng of the well-known VisaInChina service.

Update: Here’s a nice chart that sums everything up. The chart’s information was originally published on the Library of Congress Web site (h/t The World of Chinese).