How to get an Invitation letter | PU letter in China

How to get an Invitation letter | PU letter in China

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) in China.

In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about PU letter application 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 an Invitation Letter (PU Letter) which issued by the China Foreign Affair 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 mandated by China‘s health authorities.  You can read this article to know the Specific announcements of negative COVID Test before flying to China and the Countries list.

New Policy about the Foreigners looking to return to China

However, in order to promote international economic development, we expect the policy to ease further.

On August 10th, 2020, the Chinese Government announced certain changes for foreigners looking to return to China.  The citizens of the countries listed below who hold relevant Chinese valid residence permits (work, private affairs, and reunification residence permits) can apply to the embassies and consulates in their countries to return to China. That means they do not need to apply the PU letter in China.

European countries list

Albania, Ireland, Estonia, Austria, Bulgaria, Northern Macedonia, Belgium, Iceland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Poland, Denmark, Germany, France, Finland, Netherlands, Montenegro, Czech Republic, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Romania, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Serbia, Cyprus, Slovakia Croatia, Slovenia, Spain, Greece, Hungary, Italy & United Kingdom.

Asian countries list

Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, SriLanka.

What is the PU letter Application process in Shanghai?

PU letter is the invitation letter issued by Foreign Affairs Office or Commission of Commerce in Shanghai. That means, If you need to apply the PU letter, the following steps are necessary.

For the Company registered in Shanghai:

  1. Contact the Foreign Affairs Office in the district of the company’s registered place (Company Business License), the staff of Foreign Affairs Office will give you the contact information of relevant personnel.
  2. 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 PU letter.application form for PU letter
  3. 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.
  4. After the PU invitation letter issued, you should send it to the foreign applicant. This is the example of PU letter issued by Shanghai Foreign Affairs Office.PU letter in Shanghai
  5. Foreigners take it to the Chinese Consulate/Embassy to apply the M visa to enter Mainland China.

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 Foreign Affairs Office in each district of Shanghai:

In this list, you can call the Foreign Affairs Offices in different Districts of Shanghai according to the address of your Business License.

PuDong:28282640JinShan: 57921316
HongKou: 25658888PuTuo: 52564588*7032
ChongMing: 59612211JingAn: 33371830
QingPu: 69733065MinHang: 33885231
JiaDing: 69989128HuangPu: 33134800*31086
ChangNing: 22051409FengXian: 67184258
SongJiang:37735271YangPu: 25033655
Bao Shan: 56131350Xu Hui: 64872222

Which documents do you need to prepare for the Application letter?

  1. The Application Letter from the company

    The Foreign Affairs Office will provide the corresponding template.
    If the family members are invited separately, you should explain the situation of the business personnel already in China and the company information and the necessary reason for inviting the family members to China.

  2. 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.

    China PU letter application form
    PU letter application form for the Shanghai Foreign Affairs Office.
  3. Company Information Form

    Foreign Affairs Office will provide the template.

  4. 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.

  5. Family relationship certificate

    If the application including family members, you need to provide the family relationship certificate. For example, a marriage certificate or birth certificate of the child. If the versions are not in English, you need to prepare the Chinese translation.

  6. Enterprise information background Form

    Foreign Affairs Office will provide the template.

  7. Other documents which are deemed necessary needed

    Please check with your local district of 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 the temporarily suspend the 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.

For the Annual Report of your company, you can visit the official website by using the Electronic Business License and the code of CA to download the documents.

China Company credit Platform

If you any questions about accounting, bookkeeping, and tax in China, please contact our experts to help you.

Frequent Questions for the PU letter in Shanghai.

Q1: Do all foreigners have to apply for an invitation letter (Pu letter) at this moment?


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, they 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 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 residence 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?


1) The visa location on the invitation letter (PU letter) is fixed Location, that is, you must determine your visa application location in advance. For example, you choose to apply for the Visa in Paris, France, after you get the invitation letter (PU letter), you can’t go to the Chinese Consulate in Germany;

2) At present, according to the regulations of the Civil Aviation Administration of China(CAAC) and the Chinese customs, all passengers on flights to China are required to board with the negative certificate of the nucleic acid test of COVID-19 (within 5 days).


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 to suspend 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.

If you need a professional and responsible agency, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

BaseInShanghai(GWBMA) provides professional company registration services for foreigners. We provide one-stop service for you to start a business in Shanghai.


Tel:  +86 15901819201

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GWBMA provides one-stop business service for enterprises , including company registration, location, Accounting & Tax, HR outsourcing, VISA & working permit and other legal services. GWBMA also has abundant resources to help our clients in the examination and approval procedures of the market. Choose GWBMA, choose its expertise with high efficiency, and start your business based in Shanghai Today.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. sami

    I’m a qualified English teacher, can the school i work for make the PU letter for me?

    1. BaseInShanghai

      Yes, If you are an English Teacher in China, you can ask your School to apply PU letter for you.

  2. Shally Maranan

    I have already an approved work permit thru online application, can my employer now apply a PU letter for me so I can go back now to China? How long will it take?
    Thank you.

    1. BaseInShanghai

      At present, it is hard to pass the PU letter for your company.
      The High-technology enterprise is better. Good luck!

  3. Imran

    What is difference between PU letter and TE invitation letter

    1. BaseInShanghai

      PU or TE letter depends on the purpose of coming to China.
      Normally, PU letter is to apply for the M or Z Visa, or Q1/Q2 Visa(Commerce Trading/working). TE letter is to apply for the Visa F (Communication/Vist/Investigation).
      Sometimes, different countries need different Invitation letters issued by the Chinese Government.

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