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PU Invitation Letter for the Chinese Work VISA (Z): exemption for categories of applicants

Announced a partial lifting of the PU Letter obligation but only to certain categories of work visa

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The Chinese Authorities confirmed a partial lifting of the requirement of a PU Letter to get a type (Z) Visa to carry out work activities in China. The exemption was announced during the past weeks through various websites of Chinese Embassies across different countries and regions and will apply only to specific categories of work visas.

What is a PU letter?

The PU Letter is a visa-application requirement imposed by the Chinese Government since March 2020, during the COVID pandemic. It is a general invitation letter that needed by any foreign national who wanted to work in China. Until the latest provision of June 2022, it was also a required document for the Z visa.

Who issues the PU letter?

The PU Letter is issued by the Provincial Foreign Affairs Office where the Chinese company inviting the applicant is based.

It is responsibility of the company to apply for the applicant’s PU letter  through the respective local government administration.

The release of the PU Letter is at the discretion of the Chinese authorities, and it is usually evaluated on a case-by-case basis, taking into account different points such as:

  1. Profile of the inviting company;
  2. Job title and responsabilities of the applicant and, more importantly
  3. The negative impact that the business would suffer in the absence of the foreign employee.

How long does it take to issue a PU Letter?

The obtainment of the PU Letter can take up to 2-3 months. The requirement significantly lengthened the immigration procedure for those who need to travel for business reasons.

However, due to a lessening of the effect of the pandemic, the Chinese Government decided to facilitate the (Z) Visa application process, by lifting the requirement of the PU Letter in order to apply for a work visa.

New requirements to obtain a work Visa (Z type)

In light of the latest conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Consular Department of the Commissioner’s Office would accept Z visa applications based on the following:

  1. Applicants intending to work in the Mainland of China can apply for Z visa by submitting the routine documents. The Invitation Letters (PU or TE) issued by relevant local authorities are no longer required. However, the full-process vaccination certificates of the vaccine licensed or approved for emergency use by China or the World Health Organization shall be provided.
  2. Relaxations on the requirements of visa application for resumption of operation and production:
    • Family members (including spouses, parents, children under the age of 18, parents of spouses, adult children and their spouses who can provide sufficient proof of immediate visit) of those foreign nationals resuming operation and production in the Mainland of China can apply for visas with the routine documents, without providing Invitation Letters (PU or TE), and the full-process vaccine.

Steps to apply for a Chinese Work Visa (Z)

To be able to obtain a Z work visa, applicants must:

  1. Obtain first the relative work permit (Notification Letter of a Foreigner’s Work and Permit in China). The request for the Notification Letter must be submitted to the local authorities by the Chinese employer, or by a delegated professional.
  2. After the work permit is issued, the applicant can apply for the work entry visa at the relevant Chinese embassy in the region of residence. The application can be submitted directly by the interested party or, in the event that the applicant has previously obtained Chinese visas and therefore has already issued their biometric data, the application can be submitted by a delegated professional. In any case, you can find the nearest chinese embassy in this site which lists all the chinese embassies around the world;
  3. Before leaving for China, you will need to verify that you comply with the COVID19 requirements regarding vaccination and issuing of COVID19 boarding codes.
  4. Upon arrival in China, it will be necessary to perform the relevant local registrations.

Regulatory Framework

Notice of the Commissioner’s Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong

Reference (Italian only)

Notice of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United States

Reference (Italian only)

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