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September 23, 2013

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What you need to apply for Shanghai Residence Card

A British expat asks us: Can expats get a Shanghai residence card? If so, what are the criteria?

A: Yes, they can.

Foreigners can apply for the Shanghai Overseas Talent Residence Permit, which was introduced on July 1. The permit is actually the Shanghai Residence Card (Type B).

 The criteria

To apply for the Shanghai Overseas Talent Residence Permit, applicants should have a bachelor’s degree or above, or a special talent. They should already have a job or must have started their own business in Shanghai.

The permit is basically designed for foreign experts and foreign high-level professionals, Chinese overseas returnees and Chinese professionals with foreign permanent (long-term) residence permits and professionals from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

Expats should apply for the permit via their companies, which should be registered in Shanghai, according to the rule.

 The documents

First-time applicants should provide:

1) An application form and a recently taken photo. Do not wear a hat in the photo. You can download the form from, the official website of the Shanghai Human Resources and Social Security Bureau.

2) Valid identity documents such as passport with visa, Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan ID card or foreign permanent residence permit.

3) Diploma and other performance certificates.

4) Temporary accommodation registration issued by a local police station or property ownership certificate of the main applicant.

5) Six-month valid health certificate issued by the Shanghai International Travel Health Care Center.

Applicants who have foreign expert certificates, employment permits for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau residents and those over 70 years old are exempt from this requirement.

Chinese applicants and foreigners with a residence permit visa can provide health certificates issued by second-tier hospitals or above in Shanghai.

6) An employment contract of more than 12 months. Investors need to submit last year’s audit report.

7) Company business licenses and organization code certificates. Foreign invested companies should also submit approval certificates of their enterprises.

8) Foreigners and Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau residents should also submit their foreign expert certificates or employment permits.

 Spouses and children

Accompanying spouses and children under 18 years old or in high school can also apply for the same permit. They need to provide:

1) Valid identity documents and health certificates. Children under 18 years are exempt from heath certificates.

2) Marriage certificate and birth certificates of children.

3) A recent hatless photo.

 The benefits

1) Foreigners can apply to immigration authorities for a residence permit with the same validity period as their residence card. Taiwan residents can apply for a long-term or multiple entry-exit endorsement.

2) Overseas returnees with foreign nationalities or those with foreign permanent residence permits are exempt from providing an employment permit.

3) Cardholders can start up companies in Shanghai.

4) Cardholders can be hired by administration departments for short-term or project-based employment.

5) Cardholders can join the city’s social insurance system. Unemployed spouses and children under 18 years or in high school can receive basic medical insurance.

6) The children of cardholders can go to public schools in Shanghai. The children of returning overseas Chinese can enrol in local colleges or universities if they graduate from a local high school.



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