A lot of people ask me how to come to China during the period of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The answer is: It’s very complicated, you have to apply for the Invitation letter (PU letter or TE letter) in China. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about PU letter applications in Shanghai.
How to come to China?
Since the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the world, China government has decided to temporarily suspend the entry into China by foreign nationals holding visas or residence permits still valid to the time of this announcement, effective from 28 March 2020. Only the foreigners who engage in necessary reasons (economic, trade, scientific, or technological activities, as well as for urgent humanitarian assistance) have the chance to come to China.
According to the announcement, the foreigners need to apply for an Invitation Letter (PU Letter) issued by the China Foreign Affairs Office, but the Official Office has strict standards for judging whether it is necessary to come to China or not. Usually, only the senior managers of Medium and Large Enterprises or the technique researchers of key projects have a chance of getting approval from the Government.
Even if the foreigners who are allowed to enter China are required to present a nucleic acid test report authorized by the Chinese government within 5 days before entering China to board the airplane. When foreigners enter Mainland China, they also need to be quarantined for 14 days as the observation period is mandated by China‘s Health Authorities. You can read this article to know the Specific announcements of the negative COVID Test before flying to China and the Countries list.
In 2021, more and more cities and provinces in China have started to adopt the new 14+7 policy, which means the Foreign Arrivals will be tested for COVID-19 a total of 4 times. The nucleic acid test is performed on the first, 7th, 14th – and then again on the 21st day after entry.
What is the PU letter Application process?
PU letter is the invitation letter issued by the Foreign Affairs Office or Commission of Commerce in Shanghai. That means, If you need to apply for the PU letter, the following steps are necessary.
For the Registered Company in Shanghai:
- Contact the Foreign Affairs Office in the district of the company’s registered place (Company Business License), the staff of the Foreign Affairs Office will give you the contact information of relevant personnel.
- Submit the application Letter in Chinese to the relevant personnel and the government will examine and verify the company information.
The application letter is the most important issue for the Invitation letter (PU), you should have excellent Chinese (Mandarin) writing ability to explain the reason.
This is the template of the Application letter for the PU letter.
- After the approval of relevant personnel in the district, you should submit the photocopy of the foreigner’s passport, the information sheet for coming to China, the schedule of the itinerary, and other materials required by the government for approval by the Shanghai Foreign Affairs Office.
- After the PU invitation letter is issued, you should send it to the foreign applicant. This is an example of PU letter issued by the Shanghai Foreign Affairs Office.
- Foreigners take it to the Chinese Consulate/Embassy to apply for the M visa.
For the Family:
Foreign family members can also apply for the invitation letter (PU letter) separately to come to China, to go to school in China (for example foreign children), or to take care of the daily life of the employed (such as wife, parents, etc.). In other words, foreign family members can apply to return to China, and the family can finally reunite.
The telephone number of the Foreign Affairs Office:
In this list, you can call the Foreign Affairs Offices in different Districts of Shanghai according to the address of your Business License.
|HongKou: 25658888||PuTuo: 52564588*7032|
|ChongMing: 59612211||JingAn: 33371830|
|QingPu: 69733065||MinHang: 33885231|
|JiaDing: 69989128||HuangPu: 33134800*31086|
|ChangNing: 22051409||FengXian: 67184258|
|Bao Shan: 56131350||Xu Hui: 64872222|
If your corporation belongs to another province or city, please check the major list of Foreign Affairs Office or Commission of Commerce in China.
Which documents do you need to prepare?
The Application Letter from the company
The Foreign Affairs Office will provide the corresponding template. This application letter is very important for PU letter examination. You must explain the comprehensive purpose of the invitation.
Tips: If the family members are invited separately, you should explain that your employee work in China and the necessary reason for inviting the family members.
Application Information Form
This form is very important, you should fill in Chinese correctly. If not, the application for PU letter will be rejected. The Foreign Affairs Office will provide the Chinese template.
Company Information Form
Foreign Affairs Office will provide the template.
Scanned Photocopy of the passport
Scanned Photocopy of the basic information of the passport of the person to be invited. The passport must be valid for more than 6 months.
Family relationship certificate
If the PU application applicants include family members, you need to provide the family relationship certificate, including the marriage certificate or birth certificate of the child. If the versions are not in English, you need to prepare the Chinese translations and the notarizations.
Enterprise information background Form
Foreign Affairs Office will provide the template.
Other documents which are deemed necessary needed
Please check with your local district of the Foreign Affairs Office.
How to improve PU letter pass rate in China
The chance of failure is high for the PU letter application pass rate. Due to the Policy of temporarily suspending entry into China, it is best that the entity which applies the PU letter is a High-technology enterprise in China. That means, the High-tech Companies don’t have to provide complete tax records in the past year for the Foreign Affairs Office.
If you have a WFOE without the High-technology certificate in China, you’d better provide the tax records in the past year to the Foreign Affairs Office.
If you have any questions about accounting, bookkeeping, and tax in China, please contact our experts to help you.
The latest Entry visa Policy in China
On September 23, 2020, the Government released the Announcement on Entry by Foreign Nationals Holding Valid Chinese Residence Permits of Three Categories. It means that foreigners with valid residence permits for work, personal matters, and reunion, would be allowed to enter China without needing to re-apply starting from 0 a.m., September 28, 2020.
Generally, if your residence permits had expired after March 28, 2020, you don’t need an invitation letter. You could re-apply for relevant visas with expired residence permits to the Chinese embassies or consulates. The re-application had to be on the condition that the purpose of the holders’ visit to China remained unchanged.
From 15th, March 2021, if you have been inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines produced in China, the Invitation Letter (PU/TE) is no longer required if you want to enter Mainland China.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Embassy in the different countries will provide the following facilitation for visa applicants inoculated with Chinese COVID-19 vaccines (having taken either two doses of inactivated vaccines with the stipulated gap in between, or a single-dose vaccine at least 14 days prior to the application).
United States, Canada
European countries list:
Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Ireland, Slovakia, Belarus, Italy, Germany, UK, Norway, Danmark, Serbia, Sweden, France
Asian countries list:
Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Korea, India, Thailand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Israel, Philippines, Vietnam
Africa countries list:
However, in order to promote international economic development, we expect the policy to ease further in more countries.
Tips: Different Chinese Embassies/Consulates in different countries have slightly different notices. Please confirm with the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in your country.
Frequent Questions for the PU letter in Shanghai.
Q1: Do all foreigners have to apply for an invitation letter (Pu letter) at this moment?
Answer: Because the “temporarily suspend the entry into China” Policy take effect on 28th March 2020, foreigners in most countries who want to come to China, need to apply for a brand new visa from the Chinese Consulate outside, and the PU Letter is the most important document issued by China Foreign Affair Office.
On August 10th, 2020, the Chinese Government announced the new policy, foreigners in European countries （List above）who hold relevant Chinese valid residence permits can apply to the embassies and consulates in their countries for a new visa to return to China.
Q2: I work for the Shanghai company and I have been overseas due to the COVID-19, how can I return to work in China?
Answer: First, please make sure that your work permit is still valid. Secondly, ask your company colleagues in Shanghai to apply for the invitation letter (PU letter) for you. After getting the PU letter, you can directly apply for M visa at the Chinese Embassy and consulate in your country. After entry into China, if your previous work visa is still valid, you can continue to work. If it has expired, but your work permit has been extended, you can change your M visa to Work Permit, and then you can work legally in Shanghai.
Q3: I am currently working in Shanghai, and my family members are still overseas due to the COVID-19, How can we reunite?
Answer: You can ask the employer of your company to apply for the invitation letter (PU letter) for your family members according to the above application process. After receiving the visa, the family members can apply for M or S1 or Q1 visa. After entering China, you can apply for a residence permit for family members.
Q4: How long does it take to process the invitation letter (PU letter)? Is it a good chance to get it or not?
Answer: It’s about one month. It is difficult to apply the PU letter, but anyway, you have to try.
Q5: Do foreigners need to be isolated for 14 days after entering Shanghai? If it is isolated for 14 days, is it a location designated by the government?
Answer: Yes, the foreigners still need to be quarantined for 14 days and quarantine in the government-designated location.
Q6: What should I pay special attention to when applying for an invitation PU letter?
Answer: The visa location on the invitation letter (PU letter) is a fixed location, that is, you must choose the Chinese Embassy or Console to determine your visa application location in advance.
Q7: If the residence permit was issued before March 28th and it is still valid, should I need the PU Invitation Letter?
Answer: Different countries have different policies for the PU/TE letters, and the government policies are changing every month. You should focus on our website and we’ll tell you the news every day.
Q8:If receive a notification letter of a foreigner’s Work Permit in China, should I need the PU/TE invitation letter?
Answer: The notification letter of a foreigner’s work Permit is for the Z Visa by the Chinese Embassy or consulate. When you come to China, you should apply for a work permit and residence permit in the city where you are working.
As far as we know, China has not relaxed the application conditions for PU letters for the other countries, and the pass rate has not increased significantly. The small companies will be refused and suspended in their PU letter applications in the second step. But, if you really need to come to Mainland China, why not try? The sooner you apply, the better it will be.