The People's Republic of China passport (Chinese: 中华人民共和国护照; 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 have registered as a resident of Mainland China hence hold a hukou, for the purpose of the international travel and entitles the bearer to the protection of China's consular officials overseas.
|People's Republic of China passport|
The front cover of an ordinary Chinese biometric passport since 2012
Front personal-information data page of an ordinary Chinese biometric passport since 2012
|Date first issued||1949|
|Type of document||Passport|
|Eligibility requirements||Chinese nationals with Hukou residing in Mainland China, or Chinese nationals residing abroad who do not qualify for travel documents issued by Hong Kong SAR or Macau SAR.|
|Expiration||10 years after acquisition for adults aged 16 or over, 5 for children|
|Cost||¥160 for first passport ¥180 for renewed passport|
In 2014, China issued 16 million passports, ranking first in the world, surpassing the United States (14 million) and India (10 million). As of 2012, over 38 million Chinese nationals hold ordinary passports, comprising only 2.86% of the total population at the time. The number of ordinary passports in circulation raised to 120 million as of October 2016, which was approximately 8.7% of the population.
On 30 January 2011, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China launched a trial issuance of e-passports for public affairs. The face, fingerprint and other biometric features of the passport holder will be digitalized and stored in pre-installed contactless smart chip in the passport. On 1 July 2011, the Ministry began issuing biometric passports to all individuals conducting public affairs work overseas on behalf of the Chinese government. Ordinary biometric passports have been introduced by the Ministry of Public Security starting from 15 May 2012. As of April 2017, China had issued over 100 million biometric ordinary passports.
Overview and ContentsEdit
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:
- Ordinary passports (普通护照) are issued to nationals who intend to go abroad for non-official purposes, such as taking up residence 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 at the 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, as well as to 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 Chinese foreign missions, the United Nations or its special commissions, or other international organizations, as well as their spouses or minor children. 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 the service passport, called the passport for public affairs (公务普通护照, lit. ordinary service passport), is issued to public servants who "lead divisions or equivalents" of county or state-owned companies, and employees of state-controlled companies.
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 a passport "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).
In July 2011 the Chinese government began to issue biometric diplomatic passports, service passports and passports for public affairs. The launch date of biometric ordinary passports was May 15, 2012.
Passport for public affairsEdit
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 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.
In 1996, 77% of persons exiting China held a passport for public affairs. The rate had dropped to 39% by 2002. 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. Chinese regulations require public affairs passports to be kept in the possession of the holder's work unit, and they must be surrendered by the individual within one month of returning to China.
The passport previously had an across-the-board 5-year period of validity. Since 2007, ordinary passports are valid for 10 years for bearers above 16 years of age, and for 5 years for bearers below 16 years of age, and diplomatic or service passports are valid for 4 years. 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.
The newest version of the regular Chinese passport is the biometric version, 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 - InsideEdit
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
- 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
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 = e-passport), followed by eight digits. As of April 2017, over 100 million ordinary biometric passports had been issued and old E+8 digits type passport numbers had been used up. So the number format has been extended by using the second digit and replacing it with the English letters in order (except I, O) the third digit is still Arabic numerals, and the total number of digits is still 9. New passport numbers started with EA0000001 (two letters with seven 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 with romanized transcription, 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 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 full name of the Chinese diplomatic/consular authority)
- Bearer's signature
- Machine Readable Code
- In Chinese
- 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 autorités civiles et militaires des pays étrangers de laisser passer librement le titulaire de ce passeport et de lui prêter 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.
In the biometric version, selected nature hotspots and famous sights of mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are printed in the inner pages, each page also contains a transparent watermark of another nature hotspots and famous sights in the same area.
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:
This passport contains sensitive electronics. For best performance, please do not bend, perforate or expose to extreme temperatures or excess moisture.
请勿在此盖印 DO NOT STAMP HERE
Fee and processing timeEdit
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). In some Regions, processing time is 7 business days such as Shanghai City if application was submitted electronically (online or by cell phone APPs such as Wechat). Expedited processing is available for 5 business days, but is only available if the applicants have genuine emergencies, such as they have deceased relatives abroad, their first day of school is near, or they have unused visas in old passports that are expiring soon. 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.
Special administrative region passportsEdit
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. In Hong Kong, Hong Kong Immigration Department takes charge of issuing passports. In Macau, Identification Services Bureau does the same role. 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, meaning that the bearer holds the People's Republic of China nationality, as well as the message from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC.
Some countries classify Chinese nationals with SAR passports as Hong Kong citizens or Macau citizens for visa issuing purpose, other than the ordinary Chinese citizens classifications. Holders of SAR passports enjoy visa-free entry to many more countries than holders of regular PRC passports.
While the SAR passports and travel documents are endorsed by China, mainland ports of entry controlled by the Ministry of Public Security do not accept those documents for entrance into Mainland China. MPS requires SAR residents of Chinese nationality to use a Home Return Permit or Chinese Travel Document for SAR residents residing overseas. Also, SAR passports are not required when travelling between two SARs, but residents should bring their permanent residence IDs.
Chinese nationals who are not permanent residents of Hong Kong are issued Hong Kong Document of Identity for Visa Purposes, and of Macau Macao Special Administrative Region Travel Permit or Visit Permit for Resident of Macao to HKSAR.
Non-passport travel documentsEdit
The following travel documents are also issued by mainland China to Chinese nationals who may or may not qualify for a Chinese passport for various reasons:
Chinese Travel DocumentEdit
- Chinese nationals (i.e. any person who qualifies for Chinese (People's Republic of China, PRC) nationality under the Chinese Nationality Law which includes most nationals of Taiwan or ROC) abroad who do not qualify for a PRC passport can be issued a Chinese Travel Document from PRC Embassies and Consulates outside Mainland China, including:
- Children born to Chinese parents abroad who derive Chinese nationality from their parents through jus sanguinis;
- ROC nationals residing abroad, including nationals without household registration, wishing to visit Mainland China or Hong Kong and do not have a Taiwan Compatriot Permit;
- Journeys to Hong Kong require a separate application for Hong Kong Entry Permit, affixed on the Chinese Travel Document.
- Residents of Special administrative regions of China wishing to visit Mainland China and do not have a Home Return Permit;
- Chinese nationals who have lost their Chinese passports, HKSAR passports or MSAR passports while abroad.
Exit-Entry Permit for Travelling to and from Hong Kong and MacauEdit
The Exit-Entry Permit for Travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macau, also known as the Two-way Permit, is issued to Chinese nationals with hukou who only wish to visit Hong Kong and Macau.
Permit for Proceeding to Hong Kong and MacaoEdit
The Permit for Proceeding to Hong Kong and Macao, also known as the One-way Permit, is issued to Chinese nationals who are settling in Hong Kong or Macau and have relinquished their Chinese residency (hukou). After their initial entry to Hong Kong or Macau, they are considered as SAR residents and are permanently ineligible for an ordinary Chinese passport, and later they will be eligible for SAR passports if they acquire a permanent resident status in the respective SARs.
Travel Permit to and from TaiwanEdit
The Travel Permit to and from Taiwan, colloquially known as Mainland Compatriot Permit or Mainland Resident Travel Permit, is issued to Chinese nationals with hukou in Mainland China by Ministry of Public Security, to those who wish to travel directly between Mainland China and Taiwan. Holders of the permit are required to obtain exit endorsements issued by MPS and Exit and Entry Permit issued by Taiwanese authorities prior to travelling.
Self-Service Immigration System (e-Channel)Edit
Holders of Chinese biometric Passports are eligible to use the Self-Service Immigration System, or e-Channel. E-Channel are located throughout numerous international airports in Mainland China (including these top 10 busiest international gateways: Beijing Capital International Airport, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport and Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport) as well as land border crossing checkpoints in Shenzhen and Zhuhai. e-Channel was first introduced for self-entry, i.e. for Chinese biometric passport holders return to China from Outside destinations. In order to use the e-Channel, 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 (CII) at land border checkpoints or international airports to be eligible.
Starting from August 19, 2016, passengers are able to use the e-Gates in terminal 2 of Beijing Capital International Airport to complete exit procedures from China as well.
Starting from Dec 1, 2017, Shanghai international airports including PVG and SHA both have e-Channel for exit.
Registration with CII not required:
- Holders of biometric passports that contain fingerprint data;
- Holders of the new biometric Two-way Permits with valid entry endorsements that contain fingerprint data.
Registration with CII required:
- Holders of the booklet-style Two-way Permits with multiple-entry endorsements;
- Holders of Travel Permit to and from Taiwan for Mainland Residents booklet with multiple-exit endorsements;
- Holders of Exit and Entry Permits that are valid for one year and multiple entries (only for the specific port of entry that they have registered with);
- Holders of Home Return Permits;
- Holders of Taiwan Compatriot Permits;
- Foreign nationals with their passports and Chinese Permanent Resident cards;
- Foreign nationals with their biometric passports and residence permits with a validity of more than 6 months; and
- Flight crew members serving scheduled flights who are either Chinese or visa-exempt nationals, or non-visa-exempt nationals holding crew or work visas or residence permits that are valid for at least 1 year.
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. According to the 1 January 2018 Henley visa restrictions index, holders of a Chinese passport are granted visa free or visa on arrival access to 70 countries and territories, ranking the Chinese passport 68th in the world  Before February 2014, Chinese immigration authorities did not generally allow mainland Chinese citizens to board outbound flights without a valid visa for the destination country, even if the destination country granted a visa on arrival to Chinese passport holders, unless the exit was approved by the Ministry of Public Security. Exceptions were possible if the traveller had a third country's visa and a connecting flight from the destination country to the third country.
Travel to and from Hong Kong, Macau, or TaiwanEdit
Issued to Chinese nationals with Hukou or Chinese nationals not qualified for SAR-issued travel documents, Chinese passports cannot normally be used when travelling directly to Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan from Mainland China.
In order for such Chinese nationals to travel from Mainland China to Hong Kong and Macau, a Two-way Permit is required. Chinese foreign missions, however, do issue visa-like Hong Kong SAR Entry Permits to Chinese nationals residing outside Mainland China upon request, so PRC passport holders can travel solely between Hong Kong and Mainland with passports. Chinese passports can be used when transiting through Hong Kong or Macau to other countries and can enter Hong Kong or Macau for 7 days without a visa.
Travelling to Taiwan from Mainland China requires the Travel Permit to and from Taiwan as well as Exit and Entry Permit issued by the Taiwanese government. Although Chinese passports are accepted as valid travel documents by the National Immigration Agency (NIA) and Taiwanese diplomatic missions, the MPS does not allow Chinese nationals with hukou to travel to Taiwan when departing from Mainland China unless holding the Mainland Resident Travel Permit with valid exit endorsement.
Foreign travel statisticsEdit
These are the numbers of Chinese visitors to various countries or territories:
- Counting only guests in tourist accommodation establishments.
- Data for arrivals by air only.
- Including Hong Kong.
- Tourists only.
- Including Hong Kong and Macau.
- Data for arrivals by air only.
- Total number includes tourists, business people, students, exchange visitors, temporary workers and families, diplomats and other representatives and all other classes of non-immigrant admissions (I-94).
Consular protections to Chinese passport holders (including Hong Kong, Macau & Taiwan residents)Edit
In Chinese, passport is huzhao, meaning "protection document". Consular service is provided by the Chinese government to Chinese passport holders (including HK and MC SAR) and Taiwan residents. Recent consular protection activities include:
Due to a volcano eruption on Bali island, Indonesia in Nov 2017, over 17,000 Chinese citizens couldn't return to China on time. When the Bali airport opened temporarily on Nov 29th 2017, the Chinese government organized chartered flights with two state owned airlines: China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines. China Southern Airlines provided two Airbus A320s and China Eastern Airlines provided six Airbus 333 as charted flights to carry Chinese tourists back. Until Nov 30th, 2017, 18 government charted flights had been provided and over 3,700 Chinese citizens had been carried back to China. As of 18:00 pm of Dec 2, 2017, 13,514 Chinese nationals had been carried back by Chinese government charted flights (operating airlines including Chinese state owned airlines: China Eastern airlines, China Southern Airlines and Xiamen airlines as well as some foreign airlines). The evacuation is free and done in this order: mother with child, females, the elderly and men.
Due to Hurricane Maria hitting the Caribbean area in September 2017, over 400 Chinese citizens were stranded. On Sep 28th, 2017, the Chinese embassy in Dominica organized two government charted flights (operated by China Eastern Airlines) to take back 377 Chinese passport holders (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan residents) who wish to return to China free of charge.
On April 25, 2015, a strong earthquake hit Kathamandu, Nepal. 4 Chinese citizens were killed, 5 were severely injured and many were stranded. The Chinese government organized 18 flights to take Chinese citizens back within 24 hours of the earthquake and more within a week. Any Chinese nationals who wished to return to China could take government charted flights, free of charge. This included Hong Kong, Macau residents and over 12 Taiwan residents.
On Nov 14, 2016, an earthquake hit Hanmer Springs, South Island, New Zealand. 125 Chinese nationals (including Taiwan and Hong Kong residents) were stranded in Kaikoura. The Chinese Consulate in Christchurch rented all available (five) helicopters, and within 18 flights all the Chinese nationals were transported to a safe point within 24 hrs.
On March 29, 2015, 3 Navy ships (military ships) were dispatched by the Chinese government to carry 629 Chinese nationals from Yemen to a safe place along with 279 Pakistani citizens. All ships were prepared to engage any enemies and Chinese Navy soldiers landed on the port to set up a secure zone.
In 2011, during the civil war in Libya, 35,860 Chinese nationals including over 20 Taiwan residents had been evacuated by Chinese government chartered civil flights, chartered buses, government rented cruise ships, Chinese Air force planes and Navy battle ships.
Chinese SIM cards can automatically receive a notification text message from the Consular Protection Center in Beijing when first connecting to a foreign provider abroad (roaming). A typical message contains emergency phone numbers of the local Chinese embassies and consulates as well as the phone number of the Consular Protection Center in Beijing. It also contains information of local taboos, traditions and potential risks.
Vietnam and the Philippines have criticized China's decision to include disputed South China Sea islands on maps printed inside new Chinese passports. These maps also include territory currently disputed with India.
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.
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 on eight occasions after his medical treatment in Japan despite holding a valid Chinese passport and having no other nationality. 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 guarantees made by Chinese diplomats in Japan to allow his return. After returning to China in February 2010, he was immediately placed under house arrest. 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.
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.
Very early PRC issued Diplomatic visa on a RPR passport from 1950.
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