In order to accelerate the economic recovery and revitalization, the Shanghai Municipal Government published a detailed action plan which, among other things, provides convenience for foreign employees and their families coming to Shanghai.
This includes relaxing the PU letters requirements for the following foreigners and their spouses and children under the age of 18:-
* Foreigners (who have already obtained the valid work permit notifications issued by the Foreign Expert Bureau) and their family members can now apply for the entry visas without the PU letters. This will effectively shorten the China immigration processing time by 2-3 months; and
* Foreigners (who hold valid work permit cards but with their residence permits expired or expiring soon) and their spouses and children under the age of 18 can also apply for the entry visas without the PU letters. This will be helpful for those foreigners who left Shanghai before or during the 2-month lockdown but were previously required to apply for the PU letters before they can return to Shanghai to resume work.
Foreign inbound travelers coming to China for other reasons, such as business/M-visa, exchange visit/F-visa application, still need to apply for a PU Invitation Letter.
It’s worth noting that this is a general information and different regions/provinces might have different rules on applications thus this might not apply to all. The best is to consult a nearby embassy or consulate and local authority where you are planning on going for official confirmation.
What is a PU Letter?
PU letter, also referred to as an Invitation Letter, is a document issued by China Foreign Affairs Office(FAO) to help foreigners apply for a new visa to enter China.
Only employers can apply at their local Foreign Affairs Office for a PU invitation letter for their employees, employees can not apply for it directly by themselves.
Once one have secured their PU invitation letter and have all the other required documents, they can book an appointment online at the Chinese Visa Center where they will submit an application, provide all necessary documents and photos according to the guidelines for the visa application.
What Does This Mean?
The waiver of the PU letters is surely welcomed by many businesses having foreign employees or planning to hire foreign employees to come to China.
It means the foreign employees can shorten their immigration application processing time and come to work in China earlier than originally expected.
While we understand that this PU letter waiver is one of the measures adopted in Shanghai to facilitate the economic recovery and expansion following the 2-month lockdown, the PU letter requirements across China have gradually been relaxed over the past months and we believe this will continue in the coming weeks and months across China.
References: China highlights, Jacky Chu via LinkedIn