What is a Temporary Residence Registration Form?
According to China’s Exit-Entry Administration Law, if you are a foreign national or a resident of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan you need to register with a hotel or a local police station within 24 hours of arriving in China. After you register, the police station or hotel will give you a Temporary Residence Registration Form (TRRF), also known as Accommodation Registration Form or Registration Form of Temporary Residence. For those who have heard of China’s system of Hukou (household registration), you can think of the registration as the extension of Hukou to foreigners.
How to Get a Temporary Residence Registration Form?
To register with a police station, you typically need to take your passport and proof of your residence (e.g. tenancy agreement). You may have another person go through the registration on your behalf. Schools or employers often do the registration on behalf of their foreign students or foreign employees, sometimes without informing them properly.
Temporary Residence Registration Form & China Police Certificate Application
In many cities, foreign nationals who apply for a China police certificate are required to provide their TRRFs. A China police certificate issued to a foreign national can only cover the periods of his/her residence in a particular city or province. Some local authorities determine the periods based on the applicant’s TRRFs. In our guidance to applying for a China police certificate, you will find this requirement in many cities. A TRRF is usually valid for the period beginning on the date of the issuance and ending on the date when your China visa expires, except in a few cities where a TRRF is considered invalid once you exit from China and you have to re-register each time you re-enter China although the same visa is valid for the whole time.
Sample Temporary Residence Registration Forms
Below are sample TRRFs issued by local police stations in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Haikou, Tianjin. These 5 TRRFs represent the most commonly used formats. TRRFs issued in other cities are similar.
Below are sample two TRRFs, one issued by a hotel and the other by a university. (University dormitories can function as a hotel.) Please note that for the purpose of a police certificate application, hotel and university TRRFs are not acceptable in many cities.
Many foreigners who traveled to China on short-term tourist or business visas did not register with local police, i.e. never obtained a TRRF. Despite having a law that specifically requires the registration, local authorities in some cities seem to be not very serious about enforcing the registration. You may not encounter any problem if you do not register with local police, but we strongly encourage you to comply with this rule and take the initiative to register with a police station if not staying at a hotel. And never throw away a TRRF. If for some reason you do not have the original document, make sure to keep a scanned copy!