As of 6 June 2022 foreign travelers to China for business or work will no longer have to apply for a PU letter to travel to China. Instead, they will be again able to apply for the proper Chinese Z- visa or work visa. This can be attained by presenting their Notification Letter of Foreigner’s Work Permit or in the case of spouses of foreigners working in China, a proof of a family relationship such as a marriage certificate.
Any foreigner that has already been authorized by the proper authorities to work in China or those who already have their Notification Letter of Foreigner’s Work Permit. Any foreign dependents that have spouses who can already work in China (or those who are already in China), and any children who are under 18 years or age.
The Shanghai Foreign Affairs Office has confirmed this notice by stating they believe that this policy should also be extended to other provinces across mainland China for common-sense reasons. Please check out the below info on the key takeaways and bullet points of the policy that can be used as a reference guide until the full interpretation is announced officially:
- You are exempt from submitting a PU letter if you are applying for a Z-visa/ work visa, a private affairs visa, or a reunion/Q-visa.
- You need to apply for a PU letter invitation if you are coming to China for other reasons as an inbound foreign traveler if you are applying for an exchange visit F-visa, or a business M-visa.
- For those visiting on holiday or to study, there is no current news on these types of visa applications as of writing.
A statement was released via the Consular Department of the Commissioner’s Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong on 9 June 2022 to confirm that when applying for a multitude of China visas, you will no longer need the PU letter. Here is a more detailed summation of the info in the statement:
Any foreigners who are applying for Z-visas and need to present the required document and materials in mainland China do not have to submit a PU or TE Invitation Letter anymore. But they must still show present their full-process vaccination certificates for the vaccine licenses that must be approved for emergency use by either the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Chinese authorities.
Any foreigners who need to visit mainland China for the resumption of a short-term work project or production activities can apply for an F-visa or M-visa after they have completed authorized COVID-19 vaccination protocols that use Chinese vaccinations. These people can do not need an invitation letter when submitting their routine documents. If the said person has received vaccinations that are approved or licensed by the World Health Organization for emergency use while also having the routine documents, you will need to present a PU or TE Invitation Letter that was issued in China by the relevant governing bodies in your destination.
Any family members such as parents, children under 18 years of age, spouses, parents- in-law, and adult children and their spouses who might need to urgently return to the mainland for work reasons should now be able to apply for the correct visas without a PU or TE Invitation Letter if they have the routine documents. This should mean that all full-process vaccination certificates or even the vaccine licenses from WHO or the Chinese government for emergency use should be provided.
There are instances where those applying for a visa for humanitarian reasons, and the notice also expands to dealing with those eligible applicants. Here are some things to consider regarding this issue:
The notice expands to those who need to visit an immediate family member in China who is suffering from serious illness or is in critical medical condition or requires care. This also covers those visiting to arrange the funeral of an immediate family member in mainland China, and any foreign family members such as spouses, children, parents, and other close immediate family members of foreign nationals with a permanent residence in China or Chinese citizens. In this case, you can apply for visas that pertain to a family visit or reunions such as an S2 visa or a Q2 visa for example. In this situation, the applicants should submit their routine documents and also the full-process vaccine certificates that are provided by WHO or China for emergency use.
It’s highly recommended to be cautious in regards to these applications. You need to confirm all these things with your local consulate or embassy to see if you are eligible for the PU letter exemptions, and that’s especially important if you have a valid work permit but an expired residence permit. It’s always better to be more safe than sorry.
What is a PU Letter?
The PU Letter for China is essentially an invitation letter issued by the government that a foreigner needs to have before they apply for a number of visas such as Q1/Q2-visas or M-visas. Before June 2022, it was compulsory to have this letter when applying for a Z-visa. The Provincial Foreign Affairs Office issues the PU Letter in the area local of where a Chinese company inviting the foreigner is situated. The company is responsible in this circumstance and needs to apply to the relevant local government administration to issue the letter.
If this all sounds too problematic and a potential headache for you, it might be sensible to hire the services of a professional company that specializes in this category. All these issues need to be dealt with in a timely manner with no mistakes, so it only makes sense to get the help of experts so everything runs smoothly and above board.