Upon the approval of the State Council, the Minister of Public Security Zhou Yongkang and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Li Zhaoxing jointly endorsed Decree No.74 and officially issued the Regulations on Examination and Approval of Permanent Residence of Aliens in China for implementation on August 15.
Eligibility for permanent residence is granted by the government of a country to aliens who meet certain requirements, and with this eligibility they can reside in the country without limit to the period of stay. Aliens with eligibility for permanent residence in a country are granted certificates of identification, commonly known as "Green Cards". The Issuance of Regulations on Examination and Approval of Permanent Residence of Aliens in China indicates the official implementation of the "Green Card" system in China. This is a significant move by the Chinese Government to adapt to economic globalization, push forward reform and opening-up and the modernization of socialism still further, and normalize the regulation of examination and approval of permanent residence of aliens in China.
Regulations on Examination and Approval of Permanent Residence of Aliens in China has altogether 29 articles, which include explicit provisions on the prerequisites for aliens to apply for permanent residence permits in China, required supporting documents, steps to be followed, limits of authority, and cancellation of eligibility, etc.
According to the prerequisites specified in the Regulations, eligibility for permanent residence mainly applies to high-level foreign personnel who hold posts in businesses which promote China's economic, scientific and technological development or social progress, foreign citizens who make relatively large direct investment in China, persons who have made outstanding contributions or are of special importance to China, and people who come to China to be with family, such as husband and wife, minors dependent on their parents, and senior citizens dependent on their relatives.
To apply for permanent residence in China, the applicant or the parents or guardian of unmarried children shall submit an application to the public security organ of the People's Government at the city level or the branch office or county office of the public security bureau of a municipality directly under the central government, which is in charge of the community of the applicant's major investment or long-term residence, and at the same time, provide the specified application documents. After the public security organ receives the application, it shall investigate and verify the conditions of the applicant according to the specified prerequisites, and submit the application to the Ministry of Public Security for examination and approval. The public security organ shall decide whether to approve or reject the application for permanent residence permit within 6 months of receiving the application. Upon the approval of the Ministry of Public Security, the applicant shall be granted an Alien Permanent Residence Permit by the Ministry of Public Security. To applicants outside China, an Alien Permanent Resident Status Confirmation Letter shall be issued by the Ministry of Public Security, with which they may apply for D Visas from a Chinese embassy or consulate abroad, and receive the Alien Permanent Residence Permits from the public security organ which handles their applications within 30 days of entering China.
According to relevant provisions, there is no limitation on the period of stay of aliens with permanent resident status in China, and they need not obtain visas and can enter and leave the country with their valid passport and Alien Permanent Residence Permits. For aliens with Alien Permanent Residence Permits of China, the Alien Permanent Residence Permit is their legal identity document during their stay in China and can be used alone.
Alien Permanent Residence Permits are valid for five or ten years. Certificates with five-year validity are granted to minors, while certificates with ten-year validity are granted to adults. In case of expiration, loss, damage or content change of the certificates, the holders may apply for recertification. The public security organ may reissue certificates to them after confirmation that they have not lost permanent resident status, without going through the examination and approval procedures again.
In order to safeguard national security and interests and maintain the solemnity and authority of permanent resident status, the Regulations on Examination and Approval of Permanent Residence of Aliens in China stipulates that aliens with permanent resident status in China will be deprived of such status in any of the following four circumstances: endangering national security and interests, being sentenced to expulsion from China by the People's Court, those who have gained the permanent resident status in China by fraud, and those whose periods of residence in China do not reach the specified number of years. In any of the above-mentioned circumstances, the Ministry of Public Security will confiscate the Alien Permanent Residence Permit or declare it invalid.
According to the provisions in the Regulations on Examination and Approval of Permanent Residence of Aliens in China, the Chinese Government grants Alien Permanent Residence Permits to aliens who meet certain requirements, which is in conformity with the common international practice and the practical situation of China. Through over 20 years of reform and opening-up, China has made significant achievements in its socialist modernization, with great advancement of productivity, prominent strengthening of the overall capacity of the country, further improvement of its international standing, political stability, unity of various nationalities, harmonious economic and social development, and the people living and working in peace and contentment. Along with the further development of economic globalization, the further deepening of China's reform and opening-up and the establishment and improvement of its socialist market-oriented economic system, China's demand for high-level foreign personnel is becoming even urgent, and at the same time, some foreigners' desire for permanent residence in China and more freedom in entering and leaving China is strengthening. In order to adapt to this situation, attract more high-level personnel and investors of foreign nationalities to China, and promote the economic and social development and external communication and cooperation, the Chinese Government has published a series of laws and regulations on aliens' entry and exit, and long-term and permanent residence in China. According to statistics, since the implementation of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Control of the Entry and Exit of Aliens adopted by the Standing Committee of the People's Congress in November 1985 and the Enforcement Regulations on Law of the People's Republic of China on Control of the Entry and Exit of Aliens revised in July 1994, the Chinese government has approved permanent residence for over 3,000 foreigners.
The Chinese laws have provisions on permanent or long-term residence of aliens in China and the public security organs also have some practice in examination and approval management. However, generally speaking, examination and approval management in this aspect is not normative and concrete enough at present. In recent years, the public security organs in China have made a great deal of exploration into examination and approval management of aliens' permanent residence in China pursuant to the Law of the People's Republic of China on Control of the Entry and Exit of Aliens and on the basis of generalizing experience and conducting earnest research and studies, have accumulated much successful experience for the establishment of China's "Green Card" system. The issuance and implementation of the Regulations on Examination and Approval of Permanent Residence of Aliens in China will promote the legislation, institutionalization and normalization of the examination and approval management of China's "Green Card".