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How to Apply For a Work Permit Category A in China

If your goal is to move to China for work it is important to choose the work permit that suits your needs. This article explains how to apply for a Category A work permit in China, the eligibility rules, and how to apply.

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If you have made the decision to move to China to work, it is essential that you choose the correct work permit for your needs. China, like many countries, offers a wide range of permits catering for different situations and basic requirements (Class Z visa application, Class b work permit, Class R Visa, Class c work permit, and Class A visa). On this page, we will explain how to apply for a Category A work permit in China, the eligibility rules, and how to apply.

What Is A Category A Work Permit For China?

On 1st April 2017, the Chinese government introduced a new immigration route for migrant workers to replace the outgoing “Alien Employment Permit” and old “Foreign Expert Certificate”.

Under this new system, there are three main classifications of work permit in China:

Category A: for high-level specialist workers

Category B: for professional workers

Category C: for lower-skilled workers

The focus of this page is on Category A, for highly skilled migrants planning to live and work in China i.e with high professional skills.

Am I Eligible For A Category A Work Permit In China?

To make a successful application for a category A work permit, you must fit one of the following criteria:

· Be selected through China’s talent import plan

· Have received an internationally recognized award or prize – for example, in the sciences, architecture, literary, arts, sports, music, design, sports

· Have achieved a high position with your career – for example, by working in a senior role, in a top-tier public institution, or being in a high-level position at a foreign enterprise

· Earn over 600,000RMB per year

· Have graduated from one of the top 500 universities in the world

· Score more than 85 points on the points-based system

The points-based system awards points for the following attributes:

Annual Salary (In RMB)

450,000 and above 20 points

350,000 - 449,999 17 points

250,000 - 349,999 14 points

150,000 - 249,999 11 points

70,000 - 149,999 8 points

50,000 - 69,999 5 points

Less than 50,000 0 points

Level Of Education

Doctorate 20 points

Master’s degree 15 points

Bachelor’s degree 10 points

Work Experience

One additional point for every year above two years (to a maximum of 20 points)

Two years 5 points

Less than two years 0 points

Annual Working Time

Above nine months 15

6 - 9 months 10

3 - 6 months 5

Less than 3 months 0

Level Of Chinese Language

Bachelor’s or Higher degree on Chinese study (Major) 5 points

HSK 5 and above 5 points

HSK 4 4 points

HSK 3 3 points

HSK 2 2 points

HSK 1 1 points


18 - 25 years old 10 points

26 - 45 years old 15 points

46 - 55 years old 10 points

56 - 60 years old 5 points

Above 60 years old 0 points

Graduated From A Globally Recognized University Or Experience In A Top 500 Company

Graduated from Globally recognized top 100 universities 5 points

Work experience in Fortune Global 500 company 5 points

You own patent or intellectual property 5 points

Continuously work in China for over five years 5 points

If you are unsure if you are eligible for a category A work permit to enter China, speak to a lawyer specializing in Chinese immigration policy who will be able to assess this for you.

How Can I Apply For A Category A Foreigner China Work Visa Requirement Permit?

There are several steps to securing a category A working visa, as follows (the process below assumes you are applying from outside China):

1) Apply online for a Foreigner’s Work Permit (FWP) – this must be done before applying for a visa (a visa is needed to allow you to enter China on arrival at the border). The employer in China needs to start this part of the process using the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs online system. They will need to upload their business license, organization code certificate, registration form, and industry license documents. Copies of the employee’s passport, a medical examination report, passport photo, reference letter, criminal record check, educational certificates, and Chinese language test certificate will need to be provided and uploaded electronically.

2) Employee completes a Z-Class Visa application form. This should be completed online and then printed. You will also need a recent passport-size photo, your current valid passport, your Working visa from your Chinese employer, and all the documents.

3) Employee takes both the visa application and their work permit to their local Chinese embassy; if approved, they will then be given their visa to travel to China.

What Do I Need To Do Once In China?

On arrival, you will need to register with the police within 24 hours. To do this, take your passport, proof of accommodation, and your landlord’s contact details to a local police station where you are living in China. You may also need to get a medical checkup if your medical exam report is not written or translated into Chinese.

Assuming you have completed the above steps and have your work permit/certificate, you will need to register for your residence permit. As a resident of China, you will have the permission you need to stay in the country for the purposes of work in accordance with your work permit.

Can I Change To A Different Employer Once In China?

It may be possible to work for a different employer than the one you originally worked for once in China, but this requires a new work permit application to be submitted and approved. The current employer has to cancel the existing work permit – this must be done within ten days of the employment coming to an end. As part of the new application, a letter proving that the employee’s work permit has been cancelled should be included. If the employee is staying within the same occupation, their current visa can continue to be used. If there is a change of occupation, the employee may be required to leave China and apply for a new visa. Again, if you are unsure, speak to an immigration solicitor.

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