Spouse visa

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How can i apply for spouse visa in Beijing? and what are the requirements? I'm married to chinese and presently living in Beijing..I'll appreciate any information with regrads to spouse visa.

It's typically very straightforward for an L visa with special spousal benefits. Did you have a problem at time of application?

Actually,I've not apply yet.I'm going to apply on the 1th of June. Just wanna know what's require. It's my first time. I want to make sure to take with me the right documents....

Hi, about spousal visa, you need bring the documents below:
Your passport, 4 colorful photos of you in 2 inch and white background, original and copy of your marriage certificate, your chinese husband or wife's residence certificate(if he is not beijinger)/his or her beijing hukouben(if he is beijinger), your temporary residence registration permit, and you need fill in a visa form. That's all.


MSN/Email: jinnanwang2008@hotmail.com
MP: 150 010 28493
OP: 58156222 ext.116
Echo Wong

Hi Echo,thanks so much for the information.

Echo was right on the spot. You should have no problems now or renewing it. I have renewed mine twice my mate has five times. You get 12 months a time.

Yes, Echo is right, but, just a comment.
1/ If your spouse is NOT from Beijing you may need to go to her / his hometown.
I did, reason was we rent and the landlord does not pay tax or some complex issue like that.
Anyway, it revolved around needing to produce the Household Register or Beijing huko.
Maybe it varries when and where you go and who you talk to in Beijing, but be prepared.
2/ I just needed 1 photo!
3/ as well as copy of mariage cert you will need copies of the visa and photo pages of your passport and copies of the Household register. Pretty much a copy of all docs.
4/ Not sure what is meant by Spousal visa but less than 5 years marriage you get a 12 month L visa [visitors ] only, if over 5 years you can get a D or resident visa.

I should have said, Echo's comments here are usually always on the money, so maybe she can respond with a comment / clarification of the "married to a non Beijinger who doesn't own property here" issue.
As i said, it may be the "rule" or we may have struck a more difficult official the day we tried tried here.

if you are married to a non beijinger, the temporary residence permit for non-beijinger is needed for your spouse visa application.

MSN/Email: jinnanwang2008@hotmail.com
MP: 150 010 28493
OP: 58156222 ext.116
Echo Wong

I will soon be marrying my girlfriend. Does it matter if you marry on the mainland or Hong Kong? Does the PSB recognize a Hong Kong marriage certificate the same as a mianland certificate?

all official marriage certificates are ok, no matter where it is registered, just if it is in a foreign language, just translate it into chinese when you prepare the documents for your spouse visa application,thats it.

MSN/Email: jinnanwang2008@hotmail.com
MP: 150 010 28493
OP: 58156222 ext.116
Echo Wong

all official marriage certificates are ok, no matter where it is registered, just if it is in a foreign language, just translate it into chinese when you prepare the documents for your spouse visa application,thats it.

MSN/Email: jinnanwang2008@hotmail.com
MP: 150 010 28493
OP: 58156222 ext.116
Echo Wong

Can someone out there be more clear about the D visa for those who have been married for longer than 5 years? Has anyone ever seen one or know of somebody who has been issued with a D visa based on this qualification? Maybe Echo can give us some info about it. There may be some readers who might like to know. The D visa does not give any more rights (like the ability to work legally) than the spouse L Tourist Visa, but there may be cases where it could be a better option for some. After living in country and being married to a Chinese national for 5 years or more, one can in theory apply for a permanent resident visa. But most of us here know the real story on that.

By the way I have been married to a Beijinger for 18 years and been living here for most of that time too. Used to be only a 3 month (no M entries) L visa was all one could get after marriage, if you were lucky to get approval for the marriage in the first place. They wanted you and your spouce out of China ASAP. Lots of changes!

There are several situations that you can get permanent residence permits.
1) Direct HUGE invertment in China mainland (in the east of China, 200 million USD investment in your name; in the west of China, 50 million USD investment can work)
2) High positions in provincal-level Chinese government (or above), key universities, enterprises/ organisations who carry out important nation-level scientific projects or the like, high-tech enterprises and etc.
3) Great and special contributions to China
4) Foreigners who marry Chinese for over 5 years. In the past 5 continuous years, holding residence permits for work all the time.

I know some foreigners, who fulfilled item 2) and item 4), successfully got permanent residence permits.

As for the documents required for item 4), please refer to the following comments.
* already married for 5 years or above
* in the past 5 continuous years, holding residence permits for work all the time.
* stayed in China NO less than 9 months each year for the past 5 years.
* health report
* no-criminal record when staying abroad authenticated by Chinese embassy/ consulate.
* original spouse's hukou booklet, original marriage certificate (if issued outside China, needs to be authenticated by Chinese embassy/ consulate)
* duty-paid proof for the past 5 years when holding residence permits.
* apartment ownership certificate or rental contract which is subject to notarization.
* certification of deposit to support your life in China for the following years.
* original passport, 4 photos
* others...

In short, it is quite complicated and time-consuming.

Better Service, Easier Life! http://www.cn-visa.com

Is there a legal difference between the Permanent Residency and the D visa?

Concerning the PR, I have read the regs in Chinese and English covering the PR and they are vague. There is no mention of the 5 years Residency Permit as a requirement. There are most likely internal policy docs that govern the approval process in order to give max flexibility to it. This is very typical of the legal process here. If the 5 year RP is a prerequisite (it is not stated so in the regs), than those who are living here on spouse L visas never stand a chance of converting it to a PR, even if you are here for 50 years.

I have heard from reliable Chinese sources that most PR approvals based on marriage go to former Chinese citizens who have returned to China with a spouse who has retained PRC citizenship. This could explain the ambiguity in the regs. There is most likely a double standard for former citizens and "real" foreigners. Still, many of these former citizens are on L spouse visas. There are lots of complaints from these Chinese, many of whom are from connected families. Hence the rumors we hear from time to time that there may be some changes down the road.

As an aside, there are changes coming that will tie tax records to visa. For those living here long term and married to a PRC national, it may be the best choice to stay on the L visa. There is no way the government can collect taxes from L visa holders since to pay any tax would be an open admission of visa fraud. So any money made is tax free. If this gets to be too common, expect the government to begin giving a better visa to spouses since the pocketbook is boss with any government. They can not have their cake and eat it too. The sexist government just hates it that their (mostly women) citizens dare to marry outsiders and does not want to encourage it by providing a good visa. Fine. They can choose between money or face. (The L visa for spouses was created in the first place to avoid human rights violation charges back during the First Bush's time. It was meant to achieve that end while making sure the married couple knew they were not welcome by the government. Now if you land a job and get a RP, you are sort of welcome).

Another option for L spouse visa holders is to open a business with the spouse providing the legal foundation. The business pays the tax, everybody is happy.

After I got married many years ago, there were no jobs for foreigners to speak of. Every time I complained at the PSB about the visa situation, they would tell me (with a straight face) that I could get a RP if I got a job. I was even a star on an early TV show that aired on Friday nights for a few years on you know what kind of visa. Of course that was then, and now is now.

D visa is a temporary, transitional visa like Z visa.

If the applicant is not in China mainland, he/ she can apply for a D visa in the Chinese embassy/ consulate by providing an official application letter issued by Ministry of Public Security.

He/she has to change D visa to a 10-year Permanent Residence Permit within 30 days of arrival. For those children (apply as qualified applicants' family members) who are under 18 years old, the Permanent Residence Permit is 5-year long.

Better Service, Easier Life! http://www.cn-visa.com

Great advice from Echo. I've been looking for info on this for a while.

I had heard that the D visa no longer exists. Your choice is basically a 1 year "L" visa for any foreign spouse of a Chinese national. And that doesn't entitle you to work. If you want to work, then its a "Z" visa for 5 years, after which you can apply for PR. But you'll only get that if you own your own home and satisfy various other criteria.

In other words: Not welcome in China.

Here in bad old Germany my wife got just by marriage a residence permit which entitles here to work. AND WHICH IS NOT TIED TO AN EMPLOYER. (so you don't sink fast like a rock if you get problems with your boss).

The PR-thing is just PR: A carrot for the donkey, which gets it never. So what? Only bad that my wife doesn't like it to be permanent in Europe.


beijingleeo gets an A for the D visa answer. I was wondering if anybody really knew the differences between D and PR. D has been around since Deng I think. just there for looks.

Concerning the PR: read the PR regs again. It says in both English and Chinese that the requirement is 5 years residency. It does not say anything about a residence permit per se. Residency as a legal term is not defined in the regs. A few years back when at the PSB on other business, I asked one of the people at the desk taking visa apps if living in China on a L visa for 5 years was enough for the PR and she replied in the affirmative. Now this is just one person's word and I was not applying for anything. I have a RP.

The regs are vague for a reason. Approval is discretionary and probably lots depend on a variety of circumstances (birth nationality, ethnicity (Chinese or not) etc.).
I am certain everything helps (long term work record in China, spouse's education and income, etc.).

There are some work options for those intending on staying here long term on the spouse L visa and for whatever reasons (age, education, etc.) can not find work that provides a RP:

You can set up a small mom & pop kind of store with just your spouse and yourself. You can probably get away with a long term L spouse visa and live a nice life. Your spouse will own the business. And because the spouse is a PRC national, setting up and running the business is cheaper than for foreign based ones. You just will be working as a "volunteer". Just make sure there are no records showing that you get paid.

If you want to set up a larger scale business, have the spouse put in during the application phase, that the business needs to hire a foreigner (because your customers will be expats or something like that). After your spouse gets the business license, you can use it to apply for your RP.

I am not an attorney and this not legal advise. Just been here for a long time.


I understand. But the main problem is: In China you don't get a work permit by marriage. That translates to me: Not welcome.


There is a silver lining to the L spouse visa saga. I have met over the years many expats that have given their entire careers to China. Kids grew up here, own property, completely went native. Forget what it was like to live in their home country. After 20 years, the firms says it time to quit, so long and thanks for all the fish. The poor people had to leave. No job = no visa. For those who are married to a Chinese and wish to remain here long term, no matter what happens, you can stay put. Many friends of mine who are married to Chinese and have work visas, plan on living on their L spouse visa after retirement. If the Chinese spouse also gets a long term visa for the other's country, not a bad plan.

how did these expats manage to work for 20 years in China and still remain poor ? If I work here for 1 year I can save as much as I would save in 3-5 years back home.

here poor=unfortunate, and not financially poor.

They did not want to leave China but had no choice in that the visa was tied to the work situation. Some try to remain as consultants, etc, depending if the skills they acquired here count for much. Many were considered too old (40s and 50s)or overqualified, to get a new job. With localization many foreign firms are wanting to weed out the expensive expats in any case. If the other tiger economies are any examples, as the economy develops there is first a pruning of mid-level expats at the technical and management levels as Chinese develop these skills and then localization gradually takes place at the higher levels. Only a few expats are needed eventually (there are some to be sure but fewer than in the beginning). HK has been the exception because of the focus on finance but this will change too as more Chinese have the skills. So for those expats that are here longer term, for most it will be goodbye when the job runs out (no visa) unless you are married to a Chinese.