In my previous post about Chinese citizenship for children of WWAM couples, I discussed the citizenship options available for kids who automatically receive Chinese citizenship at birth whilst also eligible for foreign citizenship.
It can be a bit of a challenge if you decide to apply for foreign citizenship for your child, as the Chinese government does not recognise dual citizenship. If your child is born in China and receives a foreign passport – they then cannot get a Chinese visa in their foreign passport if the Chinese government considers them Chinese (see the Chinese Nationality Laws in my previous post).
So in this situation, the child could hold a foreign passport without a Chinese visa and reside in China legally, because they are Chinese while they’re in China. The challenge comes when the child needs to go out of Mainland China.
They can’t exit on their foreign passport, and they can’t apply for a Chinese passport since this would violate Chinese Nationality laws.
The good news is you can apply for an “Entry-Exit document” (出入境通行证) for your child to leave and re-enter China.
It’s a relatively straightforward process – here are the details based on applications made in Beijing (it should be similar in other cities, but you’ll need to check with your local Entry-Exit bureau).
- One completed form (you can download the Beijing form from https://gaj.beijing.gov.cn/apps/bgxz/index)
- One passport-style photo (2 inches diagonally)
- In Beijing, the child currently needs to also be present at the Entry-Exit Bureau to take a photo when applying
- Child’s passport
- Child’s birth certificate
- Both parents’ passports
- Chinese parent’s ID and hukouben
- Juzhuzheng – residence registration for non-local Chinese residents
- Marriage certificate (bring a translation with the stamp from the translation company if you weren’t married in China)
- Any previous entry-exit or travel documents the child holds
Take all these documents (and a photocopy of each) to your local Entry-Exit Bureau to apply.
It takes 7 working days after the submission date to be ready for collection
15rmb (in Beijing in 2019)
Finally a way to use up all those 1 mao coins you’ve collected!!
Valid for 3 months from date of issue
Valid for 1 exit and 1 entry only
Used for any exit out of the Mainland
* In Shenzhen it seems applicants can get a one-year, multiple entry entry-exit document (probably special status due to its proximity to Hong Kong and to allow easier passage back and forth)
How to Use
You’ll need to use the child’s foreign passport to book the international flight/s out of China. The entry-exit document is simply shown to the Chinese customs officer when exiting China, and then shown upon check-in for your flight back to China and again, shown to the customs officer when entering China. You should also be able to use only the entry-exit document if travelling to Hong Kong or Macao, in which case you’d need to book your travel using this document number.
After one exit and entry or within three months of the date of issue, the document will expire. But remember to hold on to it anyway, since you’ll need to show it when applying for the same in the future.
Any other issues
- In some cities, or the first time you apply, you may be forced to use a Chinese name only on the document, regardless if your child’s name is only written in English on their birth certificate. It seems weird, since in this case, there’s probably no legal document with this newly created Chinese name on it and the name will not match what is on your child’s passport. But from all reports, it should be fine for returning to China. If you are concerned, you could consider getting a notarised letter in China stating that “English name” and “Chinese name” are the same person. Such notary service offices are often located nearby the Entry-Exit bureau (at least they are in Beijing).
- This document is designed to be used for people without a Chinese passport, so you probably will not be able to apply for it if your child already has a Chinese passport.
- It’s expected that your child would not be listed on the family hukou (Chinese household registration booklet) since this is also considered as pursuing dual citizenship.
- If you’ll be out of China for more than 3 months from the date of issue, or need to regularly travel in and out of China, you’ll need to apply for a “Travel document” (旅行证) outside of Mainland China. I’ll detail that document in a future post.
- Since it does take some time to apply for the document each time (meaning last minute or emergency travel is difficult), you may want to consider applying for a travel document (2-year, multiple entry validity) or renouncing Chinese citizenship for your child. I’ll cover both these topics in upcoming posts.
If you have personal experience of applying for an Entry-Exit document or any questions not covered above, please comment below. We’ll do our best to keep this post updated in case of changes to the process.