All foreigners are required to register at their local police station within 24 hours of arrival (72 hours if living in rural areas).
The police registration is a serious matter and should be done promptly to avoid running the risk of getting a heavy fine or other consequences.
Foreigners should carry their paper from the local police station along with their passport at all times, according to Chinese law. In some instances, officers can request to see this paper, whereas it can be convenient to prove your address in other situations. It will also be needed for a work permit, visa, and/or residence permit renewals.
Two methods of completing the police registration:
1. If you’re staying at a hotel:
If you are staying at a first-class hotel or a chain hotel, the staff will handle the police registration for you when you check-in. If you are staying in a very low-end hotel then they will not register for you.
2. If you’re registering yourself:
At the local police station, you will need to find the window for the foreigner registration and you can present your documents. The officer will ask for your mobile number and may have a couple of further questions. He or she will give you a form to sign and give you a copy of the form.
Required documents for first registration
Please note that this is a general list, some police stations may require some (if not all) of these documents or ask for additional document(s).
– Valid passport containing current visa and most recent entry stamp
– Photocopy of passport current visa page, and most recent entry stamp page
– A signed copy of your rental agreement/proof of housing (if registering your place) or your friend’s Registration Form of Temporary Residence (if you’re staying at theirs).
– Landlord’s ID card copy (if renting)
– Landlord’s mobile phone number
– House ownership certificate copy
– Your local mobile phone number
If you are staying at a friend’s house, then he or she will be required to be present as well and should bring his form and passport.
Some police stations will require that your landlord comes with you in person, whereas for other apartment complexes, this process can be done at the management office through a special arrangement between the management office and the local police station. Some police stations also require for you to present the original ID card and original housing document from your landlord, or may have special requirements.
Please note that you would need to provide your local mobile phone number for the form that you will be signing. If so, you may get some text messages in Chinese to remind you to register.
What happens if you try to register past the deadline
Under Article 76 of the relevant law, if you do not register on time then you can get a fine of not more than 2,000 yuan or be verbally reprimanded by the police officer. A reprimand could be formal and official or informal.
In either way, do not challenge that and accept it (since you are at fault here anyway) so that it does not make your situation worse.
Coming back from overseas and getting a new certificate
You should bring your old “Registration Form of Temporary Residence” paper for faster and easier processing.
We would suggest that you bring all of the other documents, in case they are requested, but generally, if your details have not changed, then they do not require to see them.
For residence permit holders, many police stations do not require you to re-register each time you come back from abroad unless you have a change in your status (e.g. updated residence permit, new passport number, or new place of residence). This will vary between police stations.
With this said, for short term visa holders that require exits, as your paper from the local police station will require at the end of your stay the old paper would be invalid.
If your details change (e.g. new passport number, new visa or residence permit, etc) you will also need to obtain a new form from the local police station within 24 hours.
With this said, if you have moved to a new place, you will have to register with the local police within 24 hours. You would only use the same police station if the new place is in the same jurisdiction.
As many foreigners stay in a hotel or with a friend when they first come to China and then move to their place, it is important to remember that your current registration, at a hotel, for example, will expire on the day that you check out, so the 24-hour rule still applies.
Source: Julian via Kudosbay酷豆湾