The National Immigration Administration (NIA) of China announced that it would be releasing a new version of the foreign permanent resident (PR) ID card starting December 1, 2023.
Details of the New ID Card
The updated ID card will showcase a fresh design incorporating elements from China’s national flag, including new drawings of the Great Wall and shadings. The card will also feature more advanced anti-counterfeit technologies, ensuring a higher level of security.
The card number will expand from 15 to 18 digits, incorporating various information codes such as the foreigner identification code, nationality code, and application location code. Each cardholder will be assigned a unique number that remains unchanged throughout their lifetime.
The NIA has upgraded the card’s machine-readable and visual-readable fields, enhancing anti-counterfeiting features and optimizing the layout. The card will be easily identifiable through visual reading, facilitating more on-site application scenarios and online platforms.
Moreover, the card’s chip storage structure has been adjusted to be compatible with widely used identity card-reading machines across various sectors and departments.
Benefits of the New ID Card
Cardholders can use the PR ID Card as a valid certificate in situations such as accommodation registration and transportation ticket purchase, without the need to present their passports. Cardholders will have easier access to services such as education, health, transport, hotels, financial activities, and e-commerce.
NIA officer also explained that the card allows its holder to enter and exit the Chinese border multiple times, without the need for additional visa procedures, when presented along with a valid passport.
Existing cardholders can continue using their current cards within the effective period and apply for the new version at local exit-entry administration agencies as needed.
China initiated its permanent residency program for foreign nationals in 2004 with the goal of attracting international talent and fostering the nation’s socio-economic growth. While the initial stages of the program were characterized by stringent criteria, limiting the number of individuals who could secure permanent residency annually, there has been a notable shift in recent years.
The government has undertaken efforts to revise the permanent residency laws, aiming to expand the eligibility criteria for prospective applicants. This move is seen as a strategic approach to encourage a more diverse pool of skilled individuals from various fields to consider China as a viable place for long-term residence.
With the introduction of the new ID card, China is poised to elevate its openness and enhance the digitalization of services for foreign residents, promising improvements in both quality and efficiency.
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