The Official Expats' Guide to Working & Living in China

By Billy Jiang, March 11, 2024

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The Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China, in conjunction with several other governmental departments, has unveiled the latest edition of the Guide to Working and Living in China as Business Expatriates.

The comprehensive guide aims to facilitate the transition of foreign business expatriates into China by providing essential information and services covering various aspects of daily life, as well as work-related matters.

The 2024 edition of the guide comprises four main sections:

  • Notes

  • Daily Life Services

  • Services for Stay and Residence in China

  • Relevant Services for Work in China. 

Each section addresses crucial topics such as residence registration, obtaining SIM cards and bank cards, navigating mobile payment systems, transportation options, taxation, visa and residence permit procedures, and more.


One of the key highlights of the Notes section is the emphasis on the importance of completing residence registration promptly upon entry into China.

The guide outlines the registration process for foreigners staying in hotels or other accommodations, along with regulations regarding visas, residence permits, and work permits.

Daily Life Services

This section provides practical guidance on obtaining SIM cards, bank cards, and utilizing mobile payment services offered by popular platforms such as WeChat and Alipay. 

Additionally, it covers currency exchange procedures, transportation options – including trains, airplanes, metro, buses, and online ride-hailing services – as well as accommodation arrangements.

Services for Stay & Residence in China

Foreigners seeking visa extensions or residence permits will find detailed instructions and requirements outlined in this section. 

The section also addresses matters related to entry and exit procedures, including necessary documents and application processes.

Relevant Services for Work in China

For expats working in China, this section offers insights into obtaining work permits, accessing social insurance, and understanding individual income tax obligations. 

The section provides clarity on eligibility criteria, application procedures, and channels for handling tax-related matters.

The 2024 guide underscores the importance of abiding by Chinese laws and regulations, particularly concerning social media usage, pet ownership, and restrictions on photographing military installations.

In case of emergencies, foreign nationals are advised to contact the appropriate authorities promptly, with designated hotlines provided for reporting personal assault, property crimes, fire incidents, and passport loss.

The Guide to Working and Living in China as Business Expatriates is a valuable resource for individuals and organizations navigating the complexities of relocating to and operating in the dynamic Chinese market.

For more detailed information, the complete guide is available on the official website of the Ministry of Commerce: CLICK HERE

Visa-Free Travel to China

As China continues to expand its list of countries eligible for visa-free entry, many readers planning trips to the People's Republic of China have raised numerous queries regarding this policy. 

In response to these questions, the Chinese National Immigration Administration has provided official clarifications on various aspects.

For answers to common questions about China's visa-free travel policy and more information on recent developments, please click the link below:

READ MORE: Your Questions on China's Visa-Free Travel Answered

Have you recently entered China through a visa exemption policy? We welcome you to share your experiences with us. 

For all the latest China travel stories and updates, follow our WeChat official account, ThatsGBA.

[Cover image by Billy Jiang/That's]

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