Chinese passport

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This article deals with passports issued by the People's Republic of China (PRC). For passports issued by the Republic of China (Taiwan), see Taiwan passport.
People's Republic of China passport
中华人民共和国护照
People's Republic of China Biometric passport.jpg
The front cover of an ordinary Chinese biometric passport since 15 May 2012.
Issued by  China
Type of document Passport
Eligibility requirements Chinese nationals with Hukou residing in Mainland China, or Chinese nationals residing abroad who do not possess resident status of Hong Kong or Macau
Expiration 10 years after acquisition for adults aged 16 or over, 5 for children
Cost

¥200 for first passport

¥220 for renewed passport

The People's Republic of China passport (simplified Chinese: 中华人民共和国护照; traditional Chinese: 中華人民共和國護照; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó hùzhào), commonly referred to as the Chinese passport, is the passport issued to nationals of the People's Republic of China (PRC) who are not resident of Hong Kong or Macau for international travel.

Issued to Chinese nationals with Hukou residing in Mainland China as defined by the PRC's Nationality Law, the passport normally cannot be used by Chinese nationals when travelling solely to Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan. These regions are considered as parts of the PRC by the PRC Government, and thus do not constitute international travel. A Two-way Permit is required for the sole travel between Mainland, Hong Kong and Macau, and travelling to Taiwan from Mainland China requires the Exit-Entry Permit for Travelling to and from Taiwan for Mainland Residents (commonly known as the Mainland Compatriot Permit). Chinese foreign missions, however, do issue visa-like Hong Kong Entry Permits to PRC nationals residing outside Mainland China upon request, so PRC passport holders can travel solely between Hong Kong and Mainland with passports.

Conversely, PRC nationals and ROC nationals residing in these regions cannot use their SAR passports or Republic of China passports to enter Mainland China. Instead, they must use the Home Return Permit, Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwan Residents or the Chinese Travel Document as their travel documents when entering Mainland China.

Mainland China residents transiting through Hong Kong or Macau when traveling to other countries may use their passports to enter Hong Kong and Macau for 7 days each (but to travel on their passports holders need to fill out immigration forms of the two SARs, while filling is not needed for them if traveling on Two-way permit). Although ROC National Immigration Agency also accepts PRC passport as a valid travel document, the PRC authorities does not permit PRC nationals to travel solely on their passports when traveling directly to Taiwan from Mainland China. There are ongoing talks between PRC and ROC governments regarding the use of passports with the sole purpose of transiting to or from a third country.

Chinese nationals who are also permanent residents of Hong Kong or Macau Special Administrative Regions of the PRC are issued Hong Kong or Macau SAR passports by the respective immigration departments of the SARs. Chinese nationals who are not yet have permanent identity card of Hong Kong or Macau Special Administrative Regions are issued Hong Kong Document of Identity for Visa Purposes or Macao Special Administrative Region Travel Permit. The SAR passports and travel documents are issued solely by the government of the SARs, and the designs differ greatly from that of the regular PRC passport, albeit all three passports bear the same country and nationality code, CHN. Holders of SAR passports enjoy visa-free entry to many more countries than holders of regular PRC passports due to their highly developed social and economical status.

In 2014, China issued 16 million passports, ranking first in the world, surpassing the U.S. (14 million) and India (10 million).[1] As of 2012, over 38 million Chinese nationals hold ordinary passports, comprising only 2.86% of the total population at the time.[2]

Overview and Contents[edit]

Types[edit]

Articles 3, 4, 5 and 8 of the Passport Law of the People's Republic of China, which went into effect in 2007, declares three types of passports issued in Mainland China:[3]

  • Ordinary passports (普通护照) are issued to nationals who intend to go abroad for non-official purposes, such as taking up residences in other countries, visiting relatives, studying, working, travelling or engaging in business activities. They are issued by the Exit and Entry Administration (EEA) of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) or by the EEAs of county or city level which are authorized by the MPS, or the foreign missions of the People’s Republic of China, or other missions overseas authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Diplomatic passports (外交护照) are issued to diplomats, consuls and their spouses or children who are minor, and diplomatic couriers. They are issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
  • Service passports (公务护照) are issued to employees who are dispatched by the Chinese government to work for the Chinese foreign missions, the United Nations or its special commissions, and other international organizations, and their spouses or children who are minor. They are issued by the MFA, foreign missions of the People’s Republic of China, other missions overseas authorized by the MFA, or the Foreign Affairs Offices under the governments of provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government and cities divided into districts authorized by the MFA.
    • A special variation of service passport, called passport for public affairs (公务普通护照, lit. ordinary service passport), is issued to the public servants who are "leading roles of divisions or equivalents" of the county or state-owned companies, and employees of state-controlled companies.[4]

Article 9 of the Law states that the "issuing scope of diplomatic passports and service passports, the measures for issue of such passports, their terms of validity and the specific categories of service passports shall be prescribed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs".

The ordinary passport is considered as passports "for private affairs" (因私护照), while service (including for public affairs passports) and diplomatic passports are passports "for public affairs" (因公护照).[5]

The passports for Macau and Hong Kong SARs are issued and regulated by the governments of these regions, hence are not covered in this law.

From July 2011, the Chinese government has already rolled out biometric versions of diplomatic passports, service passports and passports for public affairs.[4] The launch date of biometric ordinary passports was May 15, 2012.

Passport for public affairs[edit]

A different passport for public affairs (因公普通护照, lit. ordinary passport for public affairs) was issued until 2006. Unlike the current version, it was classified as a variation of ordinary passport. The abuse of the use of document resulted in its subsequent cancellation. Unlike the other passports, it was issued by the provincial or municipal Foreign Affairs Offices, rather than the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Ministry of Public Security.[6]

In 1996, 77% of persons exiting China held the passport for public affairs.[7] The rate had dropped to 39% by 2002.[8] The reason for the high rate of usage was because the passport for public affairs offered more visa-free countries, such as Russia, than the ordinary passport.[6] Chinese regulations require the passport of public affairs to be kept in the possession of the holder's work unit,[9] such that they must be surrendered by the individual within one month of returning to China.[10] However, almost all holders chose to ignore the regulation, and this type of passport was widely issued even to street food dealers living in the border cities who wanted to extend their business to Russia. Frequent abuse of the use of this document subsequently resulted in the cancellation of visa-free agreements by many countries.[6]

Validity[edit]

The passport previously had an across-the-board 5-year period of validity. Since 2007, it is valid for 10 years for bearers above 16 years of age, and for 5 years for bearers below 16 years of age. According to the 2006 Passport Law of the People's Republic of China, renewal of previously issued passports ended on January 1, 2007. However, passports renewed before 2007 remained valid until expiry.

Format[edit]

The newest version of the regular Chinese passport is the Biometric Passport, which replaced its predecessors "Form 92", "Form 97-1" and "Form 97-2". It was released to the general public in May 2012. The passport contains 48 pages.

Ordinary Passport - Inside[edit]

Form "97-2"[edit]
Biodata page of the Form "97-2" PRC Ordinary Passport.

The Form "97-2" ordinary Chinese passport is a machine-readable passport. In "97-2", personal data is on the inside front cover along with a coloured photo printed with inkjet printer, with a protection film covering most of the data page. Details include:

  • Passport code (P)
  • Country Code (CHN)
  • Passport number (G########) - consists of one letter indicating passport type (G = ordinary), followed by eight digits
  • Surname
  • Given Names
  • Sex (M/F)
  • Date of birth (DD.MMM.YYYY)
  • Date of issue (DD.MMM.YYYY)
  • Place of birth (Province, or city/province/state if born abroad)
  • Place of issue (Province, or city/province/state of diplomatic/consular authority if issued abroad)
  • Date of expiry (DD.MMM.YYYY)
  • Authority (Exit & Entry Administration, Ministry of Public Security or the Chinese diplomatic and consular mission)
  • Machine Readable Code
Biometric passport[edit]
Inside page of a PRC Ordinary E-Passport.

In the Biometric Passport, the personal data page was moved to a separate sheet of paper, and the design of personal data page has been amended significantly, adding the full name of PRC in Simplified Chinese and English on top along with an e-passport symbol printed with optically variable ink. New security features include a second ghost image of the holder and additional holographic graphs including the PRC emblem and the laser-printed world map. The details included are as follows:

  • Passport code (P)
  • Country Code (CHN)
  • Passport number (E########) - consists of one letter indicating passport type (E = Biometric), followed by eight digits
  • Name (Chinese characters on top, Pinyin transcription on bottom, a comma separates surname and given names in Pinyin only)
  • Sex (M/F)
  • Nationality (Chinese)
  • Date of birth (DD.MMM.YYYY)
  • Place of birth (Province, or the country code if born abroad, along with Chinese abbreviation of the country)
  • Date of issue (DD.MMM.YYYY, month is transcribed into Arabic numerals)
  • Place of issue (Province, or city/province/state name of diplomatic/consular authority if issued abroad)
  • Date of expiry (DD.MMM.YYYY, month is transcribed into Arabic numerals)
  • Authority ("MPS Exit and Entry Administration" or the name of the Chinese diplomatic and consular mission)
  • Bearer's signature
  • Machine Readable Code

Languages[edit]

All information is printed in Simplified Chinese and English, except for the "Attentions" page, which is only printed in Simplified Chinese.

Passport Note[edit]

Anti-counterfeiting design in note page glows under black light
  • In Chinese

中华人民共和国外交部请各国军政机关对持照人予以通行的便利和必要的协助。

  • In English

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China requests all civil and military authorities of foreign countries to allow the bearer of this passport to pass freely and afford assistance in case of need.

  • In French (On version 82 only)

Le Ministère des Affaires Étrangères de la République Populaire de Chine prie les autorites civiles et militaires des pays étrangers de laisser passer librement le titulaire de ce passeport et de lui preter aide et assistance en cas de besoin.

On version "97-1" and "97-2", it is on page 1. On the Biometric version, it is moved to page 3.

Last page[edit]

The note on the last page.

The last page has the notes for the passport. For e-passport, inside the backcover, a caution for the biometric chip is written in both Chinese and English:

本护照内置敏感电子元件。为保持最佳性能,请不要将护照折弯、打孔或者暴露在极端温湿度环境中。
This passport contains sensitive electronics. For best performance, please do not bend, perforate or expose to extreme temperatures or excess moisture.
EPassport logo.svg 请勿在此盖印 DO NOT STAMP HERE

Alternative travel documents for Chinese Nationals[edit]

Fee and processing time[edit]

The fee for a Chinese passport is CNY 200 for first-time applicants and CNY 220 for subsequent renewals. When applying for a passport overseas, the fee is US$35 or 25. No extra fees are charged for expedited processing if approved.[11]

Normal processing time is 10 business days when applying from Mainland China, and 15 business days from Chinese diplomatic missions outside Mainland China (including Hong Kong and Macau). Expedited processing is available for 5 business days, but can only be used if the applicant has genuine emergencies, such as they have deceased relatives abroad, their school opening day is close, or they have unused visas in old passports that were due to expire.[12] Some regions, such as Xinjiang, have stricter rules regarding the application process which requires additional background checks and an invitation letter from a friend or family outside Mainland China, or a travel voucher from a tourist agency. In this case, processing time is usually more than 30 business days and could be prolonged.[13]

Visa requirements[edit]

Visa-free travel for ordinary PRC ordinary passport holders

Visa requirements for Chinese citizens are administrative entry restrictions by the authorities of other states placed on citizens of the People's Republic of China. As of 2015, Chinese citizens have visa-free or visa on arrival access to 45 countries and territories, ranking the PRC passport 83rd in the world according to the Visa Restrictions Index.

Foreign travel statistics[edit]

According to the statistics these are the numbers of Chinese visitors to various countries per annum in 2014 (unless otherwise noted):

  1. ^ a b c Data for 2011
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay Data for 2015
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Counting only guests in tourist accommodation establishments.
  4. ^ a b c Data for 2013
  5. ^ a b Data for arrivals by air only.
  6. ^ a b Data for 2009

Self-Service Immigration System (e-Gate)[edit]

Holders of Chinese Biometric Passports are eligible to use the Self-Service Immigration System, or e-Gates, when arriving from destinations outside Mainland China. E-Gates are located throughout numerous international airports in Mainland China (including the four busiest international gateways: Beijing Capital International Airport, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport) as well as land border crossing checkpoints in Shenzhen and Zhuhai. In order to use the e-Gate, they must hold Biometric passports with their fingerprint data pre-recorded on the biometric chip. If their Biometric passports do not contain fingerprint data, they must first register with China Immigration Inspection at land border checkpoints or international airports to be eligible. As of July 2015, Biometric passport holders can use the e-Gate when arriving from outside Mainland China, and passengers departing Mainland China must go through the manual immigration inspection process, regardless of whether they hold the Biometric passports or the old machine-readable passports.[89]

Starting from August 19, 2016, passengers are able to use the e-Gates in Beijing Capital Airport to exit China as well.[90] The extended list of eligible travellers who could use the system are in the following:[91][90]

  • No registration with Immigration Inspection needed:
    • Holders of biometric passports that contain fingerprints data;
    • Holders of the new biometric Two-way Permits that contain fingerprints data.
  • Need to register with Immigration Inspection to record biometric data:
    • Holders of the old booklet-designed Two-way Permits with exit endorsements valid for multiple times;
    • Holders of Mainland Compatriot Permits with exit endorsements valid for multiple times;
    • Holders of Exit and Entry Permits that are valid for one year and multiple times;
    • Holders of Home Return Permits;
    • Holders of Taiwan Compatriot Permits;
    • Foreign nationals traveling on their passports and have Chinese Permanent Resident cards;
    • Foreign nationals traveling on their passports and have Residence Permit stickers that are valid for more than 6 months in their passports;
    • International flight crew members.

Controversy[edit]

Vietnam and the Philippines have criticized China's decision to include disputed South China Sea islands on maps printed inside new Chinese passports.[92] These maps also include territory currently disputed with India.[93]

The government has been criticized for refusing applications for passports, particularly for Chinese dissidents and Chinese nationals who are of Tibetan and Uyghur descent. A human rights organization has estimated that over 14 million Chinese were either denied a passport or were unable to get one because of the restrictions.[94]

It is worth noting that holding a Chinese passport does not grant the holder's right to return to China. In November 2009, Feng Zhenghu, a Chinese national and scholar, was denied entry to China for eight times after his medical treatment in Japan despite holding a valid Chinese passport and having no other nationalities. On four occasions, he successfully boarded the flight bound for Shanghai but was subsequently deported by Chinese immigration authorities. Feng refused to pass immigration control in Narita Airport and remained in the pre-immigration area for three months until he received guarantee made by Chinese diplomats in Japan to allow his return. After returning to China in February 2010, he was immediately placed under house arrest.[95] The Chinese government was reported to maintain a black list which contains a list of individuals, both Chinese and foreign, that were not to enter the country.[94]

From May 2016, passport applicants in Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture of Xinjiang are required to produce their DNA sample and Voiceprint as well as three-dimensional images when applying for a passport.[96]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agartala/India-ranks-third-in-issuing-passports/articleshow/50401641.cms India ranks third in issuing passports
  2. ^ http://news.xinhuanet.com/legal/2012-05/15/c_123134110.htm 3800万中国公民持有普通护照 电子护照正式签发启用
  3. ^ Full text of Passport Law of the People's Republic of China
  4. ^ a b Introduction of Chinese passports
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  6. ^ a b c 中国护照遭遇国际尴尬 因公护照将退出历史舞台
  7. ^ China Daily, 24 January 1997
  8. ^ 2002 National Economic and Social Development Statistics National Bureau of Statistics of the People's Republic of China 28 February 2003
  9. ^ China Weighs Passport Reform Beijing Youth Daily 2 April 2002
  10. ^ Article 10, Provisional Regulations on the Administration of the Ordinary Passport for Public Affairs
  11. ^ 中国公民在海外申办护照、旅行证件须知
  12. ^ 中国护照管理15日起执行新办法 4种情形可办加急
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  90. ^ a b "首都机场自助通关出境 最快6秒-新华网". news.xinhuanet.com. Retrieved 2016-09-06. 
  91. ^ "出入境10秒"自助通关" 今起扩至10类人员". news.ifeng.com. Retrieved 2016-09-06. 
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  94. ^ a b No Exit: China Uses Passports as Political Cudgel February 22, 2013 NYT
  95. ^ Yamaguchi, Mari (2 February 2016). "Man who spent 3 months in Tokyo airport to leave". Associated Press. 
  96. ^ http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/dna-sample-required-to-get-passport-in-xinjiang

External links[edit]