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If you’ve spent a length of time living in China, you’ve surely heard about that mystical permanent residence card for foreigners otherwise known as a Chinese green card or “外国人永久居留证”. But up until November last year, Chinese green cards were simply just a myth for most expats, with nobody actually knowing how to get one or who even qualifies.|
Then, on November 14 the clouds suddenly parted and a glimmer, if ever so vague, of what this green card actually is was presented. In a statement in Washington D.C. Deputy Director of China's Ministry of Public Security's Exit and Entry Administration announced that China is considering relaxing restrictions on the green card and widening the scope of who qualifies.
Another miracle happened on December 12 when this time, the Central Organization Department, Human Resources and Social Security and 23 other ministries jointly issued new guidelines outlining the rights of foreign “green card” holders – this esteemed group of foreign individuals would enjoy the same rights as Chinese, it was declared. At last, some information was there to behold, but scepticism among the foreign community reigned nonetheless.
Despite the grandiose announcements of several months back, most foreigners in China still don’t have a clue how to go about getting one of these golden tickets that promise the end of visa hassle forever. So without further ado, we’ve compiled and translated instructions on who can apply for a Chinese green card. Perhaps you don’t meet the requirements just yet, but if you plan to make China your permanent home, you can start working towards fulfilling the requirements now. Oh, and do remember that this being China, rules and instructions tend to be overtly ambiguous and are subject to change.