The difference in work visa between Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Shanghai

Tina Dee   |   August 28, 2021

Many foreign friends who have worked in several cities in China will find out that it’s not always the same, the work visa application policies and regulations. For example, some foreign applicant in Huizhou got rejected because the company was registered as a branch in Huizhou,would have been approved if the headquaters was in Huizhou and mainly pay tax there. However, there is no such thing like this in Shenzhen. And many cities require non-criminal record certificate when applicants submit their work visa application. In Shenzhen, however, if not about foreign expert certificate or strictly political sensitive countries, no need non-criminal record certificate.

Today we talk about the differences in work visa between some major cities in China, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Shanghai.

A. About companis who have the needs to employ foreign staff

In Shenzhen, as long as the company was registered in Shenzhen and operate well, do tax report in time, have stable office and Chinese staff, it can submit work visa application for foreign employees. Doesn’t matter about the registered capital. the annual turnover and the rank of company in Shenzhen.
In Guangzhou, only foreign-owned companies and those big Chinese-owned companies are able to hire foreign staff and apply work visa for them. In Shanghai, also have limits on minimum registered capital for the companies.

B. About education certificate and professional experience proof

In Guangzhou, the applicants should bring those certificates to the local Chinese embassy in their country and get notarized by the embassy, then can use in Guangzhou for work visa application. In Shenzhen, just show the original, provide copy and translation copy, so is the professional experience proof.

C. About work visa transfer to another city

About work visa transfer, Shenzhen and Guangzhou is the same. However, Shanghai is different. For example, if a foreigner need to transfer to Shanghai for work visa from Shenzhen, he or she needs to cancel his or her Alien Work Permit in Shenzhen and then cancel their residence permit in Shenzhen, which is also known as work visa, change into a STAY visa, then they can apply for new work permit and residence permit in Shanghai.

However, this doesn’t work the other way around. If someone used to work in Shanghai, now they find a job in Shenzhen, they should never cancel their residence permit in Shanghai. All they need to do is to cancel their work permit there and finish the rest steps in Shenzhen and complete the transfer to Shenzhen. If they cancel their residence permit in Shanghai, then they cannot get new work permit in Shenzhen after. They will have to start from the very beginning of work visa application, not just transfer to another city. Many friends joke about China being a common wealth country because of this, which is pretty understandable. The importance of knowing these knowledge should never be underestimated, otherwise you may just lose the best opportunities to complete all.

We both know and feel that it’s getting more and more difficult for work visa process, even for Shenzhen, things are getting more and more complicated than before. So whoever needs to do work visa, better consult with professionals before or while going through the process.