How To Register At The Public Security Bureau In China



All foreigners must register with their local Public Security Bureau (i.e. the Chinese police) within 24 hours of arrival in Mainland China or if they move residence. The only exception is for foreigners staying in a hotel or dorm room (they’ll do it on your behalf). Foreigners who do not adhere to this law can face big fines and will not be allowed to apply for more permanent visas in China.

The Public Security Bureaus located in the neighborhoods with the greatest concentration of foreigners are the most familiar with this registration process and tend to have shortest waiting times. It is best to check with the local PSB, regardless of the area, since different offices have different practices. However, in a nutshell, I’ll show you the typical documents that will be required.

Typical Required Documents:

  1. Make a copy of the photo page on the passport. Other documents to be photocopied include a valid, or most recently expired visa and the page which has the most recent entry stamp into Chinese territory.
  2. If language is a concern, bringing the landlord or property owner to the police station when registering can be helpful. Some of the Public Safety Bureaus require either a current rental agreement or a copy of the landlord’s ID card. Other PSB’s may need the property owner’s ID and current tax records. It is best to find out what is required before attempting to register.
  3. Be prepared to answer any questions pertaining to the current visit to China.
  4. If the police are satisfied that all the documentation is current and in order, the “Registration Form of Temporary Residence” will be issued. It is important that all information is correct. Any inconsistencies could result in serious problems.
  5. Have a phone number ready to supply to the police. If language is a concern, then the using the landlord’s number will ensure that any phone calls that the police may place will be answered correctly. The Chinese police do call, and especially during security concerns. For this reason, it is vital that the calls can be properly understood.
  6. Once the registration card is issued, it is best to attach the form to the passport. Chinese law does require that all foreigners carry both documents at all times when in China. It is important to at least carry photocopies of both documents to show that the law is being complied with.

It is always a good idea to make photocopies of all your necessary travel documents in case they are lost or stolen. If the registration form is lost, foreigners must return to the local police station to request a duplicate. It is important to do this before the visa expires or it will not be possible to renew the visa while on the Chinese mainland.

Registering with the Public Safety Bureau in China is an important and necessary step to take when traveling to China. As previously stated, visitors staying in hotels or in college dorms are not required since these businesses automatically process the forms for their guests. Others who do not register within 24 hours face not only fines but also deportation.

If you are lonely and looking in China, be sure to also check out my post on the best online dating sites in China.

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About Addison Sears-Collins

Hey! I'm Addison Sears-Collins, the founder of Visa Hunter. You can learn more about me here. Connect with me by liking my fan page on Facebook, connecting with me on Twitter, or check out my website Automatic Addison where I build robots and embedded systems. accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to the accuracy of the information contained on this site. Please read the Visitor Agreement and Disclaimer. If you think there is an error in the information, please bring it to our attention so that we can correct it. Also, some of the links above could be advertisements or affiliate links, which means that I will earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) should you decide to click on the links and make a purchase. I recommend sites from time to time, not because I earn money or get a tiny commission if you click on the affiliate links and make a purchase, but because, I want you to focus on the places that will deliver you the most value and the best results. Good luck!