A visa is an official and legal permit issued by Chinese embassy which allows students to legally enter China. However, a residence permit is issued by the local Exit-Entry Administration Bureau in representative for the MOP and Chinese Government to allow you to study in China during its valid duration. Usually, you should go through the following procedure to get a resident permit:
1. Have the temporary residence registration in local public security bureau (24 hours within your arrival)
2. Do a physical examination in a local hospital or verify your original physical examination record which you did in your country within 5 days after you arrival
3. Go to the local Exit-Entry Administration Bureau to apply for a resident permit
1. Take the Temporary Residence Registration
To get a residence permit and make your stay in China legal, the very first thing you should do while arriving in China is to take the Temporary Residence Registration in the local public security bureau. The registration must be done within 24 hours after your arrival in China and your university may help you go through the process. Be careful, you’ll be fined if you do not take a temporary residence registration within 24 hours after you reach the school and the fine ranges from 200 RMB to 2,000 RMB.
SICAS Reminder: The local Exit-Entry Administration Bureau will only accept the Residence application if you have done the Temporary Residence Registration within 24 hours or you have paid the fine if it expires.
2. Do a physical examination in a Chinese hospital
The original document of physical examination record from your home country may be accepted by the local Exit-Entry Administration Bureau. However, in most cases, you have to re-do the physical examination for some other requested items in a local hospital which is designated by local Exit-Entry Administration Bureau.
SICAS Reminder: The price of physical examination in China is around 50 USD to 100 USD. The whole process of examination will last for 2 hours and the result will come out in 3-5 working days.
3. Apply for a Residence Permit in the Local Exit-Entry Administration Bureau in China
The application materials for a Residence Permit include all the original copies of: the temporary residence registration paper, the physical examination record of local hospital, the JW202 form and the admission letter. Currently, the residence permit fee is RMB 400 for staying less than 10 months; 800 for staying for more than 10 months. (It may vary with cities) The application process will take 1-2 weeks during which time your passport will be kept by the local public security bureau. Therefore, Do Not make travel plan during the period. What’s more, you must renew your residence permit annually in the local Exit-Entry Administration Bureau before it expires. You should apply for a residence permit 30 days within your arrival in China, otherwise your stay will be considered illegal and you will be fined (500 RMB/day) and even expelled by local authority.