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Easier Visas for Foreign Relatives Entering China
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  • http://english.dbw.cn銆€銆€ 2010-06-01 09:24:38
     
    A new law set to go into effect June 1 aims to ease access for foreigners coming to China to visit relatives, according to a notice posted on the Ministry of Public Security's official website.

    The notice explains that foreign spouses of Chinese citizens, close family members of foreigners working or studying in China and certain classes of overseas Chinese will all be able to come to China via a much simpler process than before given a newly created residence permit category.

    Any foreigner currently seeking to visit family members鈥攑arents, children or spouses鈥攚ill be to apply for a tourist visa valid for up to one year.

    The new class of residency permit also lifts restrictions on numbers of entries and raises the duration of each stay up to a maximum of two years.

    "The number of foreigners related to Chinese citizens who are coming to China to visit, seek refuge or support their immediate family members has increased in recent years," reads the online announcement.

    The notice notes that the Exit-Entry Administration of the Municipal Public Security Bureau would bring the new regulations into effect by "taking into account the actual needs of China."

    Initial reaction to the news was greeted warmly on online forums frequently visited by expats in Beijing, though some questioned releasing the information only in Chinese and without explanations of many of the law's key points.

    A user named "baiyunma" posting on thebeijinger.com titled a post: "Spouses of Chinese citizens finally fully human."

    "After 20 or more years of denial by the government, this is a step forward in admitting that those married to Chinese citizens who also wish to live in China are actually residents and not tourists," wrote baiyunma.

    According to Lin Song, press director for the Exit-Entry Administration of the Municipal Public Security Bureau, foreigners wishing to make use of the new law would still be subject to the same health checks required by other residence permit applications, and that only certain applicants would receive visas for a full two years.

    "The new law will be applied nationwide on June 1, and applicants should apply once they have arrived in China," Lin told to the Global Times.

    Lin said, however, that the new policies were not related to employment, and that those wishing to work in China would still need to follow correct procedures to become officially employed. Lin added that an English-language version of the new law would be available online once experts had finished checking a translation.

    Some expats, however, have questioned whether those affected by the new law would actually stand to gain any real benefits.

    "As far as I know, [the new law] really doesn't mean much because we're basically talking about a multi-year visa," said an American national living in Beijing. He has been married to a Chinese woman for five years. "This saves me a yearly trip, but when I go now it's pretty automatic, no hassle. It's not a big deal."

    Another foreigner, who is also married to a Chinese citizen, also questioned the law's usefulness.

    "Personally, [the new law] really doesn't affect me because my company takes care of my visa," said Perceson Chadders, a director of studies at an international school in Beijing. "I don't even have to think about it."

    "But I suppose if you were a kept man or woman the new law would be helpful in securing your legal right to be here," Chadders added.
    Author锛? 銆€銆€銆€Source锛? Global Times 銆€銆€銆€ Editor锛? Wu Qiong
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