Helping foreign entrepreneurs and startups bring their companies and their innovation from overseas is far more work than meets the eye. While investment and partnership is a key concern for many, there’s also a ton of basic procedures that can make or break your company.

Working overseas, your visa is one of the most important things to consider as directly impacts your ability to work and live in the country and market you’re trying to expand into.

That’s why today nihub Innovation Center wants to eliminate a few common misconceptions about China’s most updated visa policy so you know exactly how you can apply and successfully receive your Chinese visa and take the first step towards scaling your business in China.

Please note: You DO NOT need a working visa to register your company. However, if you need to work and receive a salary in China or apply for a residence permit through your company then you DO need to first apply for a working visa and permit

Visas & Permits

The first and most basic thing you need to know is what type of visa you need to apply for. For most of us out there, the visa you need is a Working Z Visa. However, getting this visa is only part of the process involved in working legally, either for your own company or anywhere else.

Get Working Visa (Z): This visa is needed to enter China for working purposes with a validity of 30 days. This document has to be replaced by the Resident Permit (which will allow foreigners to reside in China) within 30 days from the entry date.

Get Foreigner’s Work Permit: This is a document/card received once you arrive in China. You apply for this via the local Foreign Talent’s office with your working visa and full application. For specific application documents, please reach out to nihub directly via

Residence Permit: Once you have your working permit you then apply directly for your residence permit. This is a document replacing the Working Visa on your passport in order to legally remain in the country and travel abroad without restriction throughout your employment.

Working Permit Categories

The working permit categories are broken into A, B, and C, not the initial working visa. However, it’s important to figure out what category you fit into before starting the initial visa process. Contrary to popular belief, you DO NOT need two years working experience to receive your working permit in China.

What you do need is a collection of points, which you can get through a variety of different areas on your application. For example, taking the HSK examination can add up to five points on your application, the same amount of points you’d lose from not have two years of working experience.

Type A: Over 85 points

Recognized for achievements in academia, business, entertainment, or sports and/or holds a position of authority.

Recognized as an entrepreneurial or innovative talent by his peers.

Under 35 graduate of a top two-hundred university, or awarded a Ph.D. from a respected and certified Chinese University.

Published three or more articles in a prestigious science or technology journal.

Type B: Over 60 points

Bachelor’s degree & two years of work experience.

“Excellent” graduate with a master’s degree from either a Chinese university or from one of the top 100 universities in the world.

A Foreign language teacher who teaches their native language and holds a bachelor’s degree in a country where the primary language is the native language. They also must have at least two years of teaching experience (those with a bachelor’s degree in a teaching or language-related field, or a TEFL certificate are exempt from this).

Graduated with a Master’s degree or higher obtained from a Chinese university and employed by a company registered in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone or Zhang Jiang High Technology Park.

Graduated with a Bachelor’s degree obtained from a university in Shanghai and employed by a company registered in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone or Zhang Jiang High Technology Park.

Type C: Below 60 points

Provinces, cities, and districts have a limit to how many Type C visas can be issued each year, meaning applicants are often denied.

Not Sure If You Make The Cut?

Still have questions about your visa? Not sure if you’ll have enough points to issue yourself a visa and start up your company in China?

Visit our website’s visa calculator by CLICKING HERE to see for yourself how many points you can rack up!