Virginia, US

Sep 04 2018

Mainland Residence Card Available for Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan Residents as of September 1


The situation

China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security officially stopped accepting Work Permit applications from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan (HMT) residents on August 23. HMT applicants are now encouraged to apply for a Mainland Residence Card.

A closer look

  • Pending applications as of August 23. Work Permit applications from HMT residents that are pending approval on or after August 23 will be automatically withdrawn.
  • Interim applications. Until December 31, 2018, HMT residents can:
    • Use their Mainland Travel Permits (Hui Xiang Zheng for Hong Kong and Macau residents; Tai Bao Zheng or Taiwan Compatriot Permit for Taiwan residents) to work and stay in China; and
    • Use their valid Work Permit as evidence of employment in China.


HMT residents still need to complete temporary residence registration upon arrival and when they change their residence in mainland China.

  • Mainland Residence Card. On September 1, 2018, the State Council launched a new optional identity document for HMT residents called the Mainland Residence Card. Details of the Card include:
    • Eligibility. The card is available to the following HMT residents:
      • Those who will stay in the mainland for at least six months;
      • Those who were either legally employed for a long period or who have a legal stable residence in the mainland; or
      • Those will study for a continuous period in the mainland.
    • Processing time. It is expected that the card will be issued within 20 business days upon filing with local public security authorities. Applications filed in remote locations may require an additional ten business days to process.
    • Validity. The card is valid for five years.
    • Benefits. Cardholders will benefit from the following key opportunities (among others):
      • Participation in China’s social insurance system;
      • Ability to pay and utilize housing provident funds provided by the Shanghai provident housing fund;
      • Access to public services, such as compulsory education, basic public employment/health/cultural and sports services, legal assistance, etc.;
      • Ability to use the card to take domestic flights or trains, book hotel accommodations, conduct financial transactions, obtain a driving license, etc.
    • Where to apply. Approximately 25 locations in Shanghai, 135 locations in Jiangsu province, 386 locations in Guangdong province now accept applications for Mainland Residence Cards. These include local police stations, public security bureaus and government affairs service centers. The number of acceptance points is expected to gradually increase as the policy is rolled out.



Mainland Residence Card holders should benefit from the elimination of the requirement to obtain a Work Permit and are encouraged to apply for a Mainland Residence Card to take advantage of the benefits offered under the program.

Looking ahead

Fragomen will closely monitor the situation and provide updates as needed.

Fragomen in China is Fragomen (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., operating exclusively as an immigration consultancy and not as a law firm in China. This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to