How to Apply for a China Police Certificate in General

Immigration authorities of the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. have provided instructions about how to apply for a China police certificate, also known as a police clearance certificate or certificate of no criminal record. However, these instructions may be too general to follow. In this article, I will explain how you can get the certificate with more details.

Where to Apply for a China Police Certificate

China does not issue national police certificates to foreigners. A single certificate only covers an applicant’s time in a particular city. In general, there are two government agencies in China that may issue police certificates to foreigners. Depending on the city where you apply, the issuing authority is either a notary office or a public security agency. Where the certificate is issued by a public security agency, it needs to be notarized by a notary office for immigration purposes.

Notary Office

Despite calling it a “police certificate”, it is commonly issued by notary offices in major China cities, such as Shanghai, Nanjing and Chengdu.

In 1990, China Ministry of Justice issued the “Notice Regarding the Handling of Certificates of Whether Foreigners Have Criminal Sanctions During the Period of Their Residence in China.” 1. This rule authorizes notary offices to issue police certificates to foreigners. However, authorities in some cities reject the 1990 rule as they consider it outdated and incompatible with the current situation.

In a city where there are multiple notary offices, only the major notary office(s) issue the certificates to foreigners.

Public Security Agency

In some cities, it is a public security agency that issues police certificates to foreigners. However, knowing this is not enough for figuring out where to apply, because public security agencies refer to a complex police system. You need to know specifically which public security agency that issues the certificates in a particular city. Among those agencies, the most common ones are police station (派出所), public security district bureau (公安分局) and municipal PSB exit-entry administration (市出入境管理局).

Police station

Police station is the smallest unit of the complex public security system. Hangzhou, Dongguan and Qingdao are examples of the cities where foreigners must apply at police stations.

Public security district bureau

A public security district bureau administers the police stations within the same geographic district. As far as the administrative level is concerned, district bureaus are higher than police stations and lower than municipal PSB. District bureaus perform a role similar to larger police stations, but have a more complex structure. In the city of Chongqing, foreigners must apply to the exit-entry administration brigade of the district bureau (分局出入境管理大队). Another example is the city of Changsha where foreigners must apply to the criminal investigation brigades of district bureaus (分局刑侦大队).

Exit-entry administration of PSB

An exit-entry administration of municipal PSB handles administrative affairs concerning all foreigners in a city. Their responsibilities include the issuance of police certificates to foreigners in some cities such as Tianjin, Xi’an, Changchun and Kunming.

Required Documents for Applying for a China Police Certificate

The required documents for applying for a China police certificate are different from one city to another. It can be as simple as the requirements in Beijing where an applicant may only need to submit passport copies. In contract, the documents required in some other cities can be quite difficult to gather. For example, in Shanghai applicants are required to provide up to nine documents. In addition to varying by city, the required documents also vary by your China immigration status. For example, foreigners who reside in China with student status may be required to provide different documents than foreigners with work status. Below is a list of the commonly required documents (click to see samples):

Apply a China police certificate through a third party representative

If you are currently living outside of China, you may appoint a representative to file the application at a notary office on your behalf. This is provided by Article 26 of China Notary Law (2017) (“《中华人民共和国公证法》“).

Your representative must appear in person at the issuing agency with your written authorization, i.e. power of attorney (POA). Some local authorities require that powers of attorney be authenticated by a China consulate. For more information about how to apply for China consular authentication, please see our article Guide to Applying for China Consular Authentication.

If your application is in a city where the issuing authority is a police station or other public security agencies, a third party may or may not be allowed to file the application on your half. Cases where they refuse to accept third-party applications happen rarely.


The procedures and required documents for applying for China police certificates are rather confusing. One important reason is that China does not have a central authority for managing criminal records. In 2012, China national authorities issued the “Opinions on Establishing the system of Criminal Records of Criminal Personnel” (《关于建立犯罪人员犯罪记录制度的意见》), which envisions a national criminal records information database. This could be the future solution to the current confusion and help streamline the application process.

Our service

We are specialized in assisting foreigners in obtaining China police certificates or preparing statements explaining why a certificate is unobtainable. Our services cover almost every city in China. If you are interested in hiring us, please click the below button to fill in a quote request form.

  1. 《关于办理外国公民在华居住期间是否受过刑事制裁证明的通知》

38 thoughts on “How to Apply for a China Police Certificate in General”

  1. Hello Pete,

    you mention it is needed to provide “Passports including pages with China entry and exit stamps” but I don’t have the passport from the time I entered China because French government doesn’t allow you to keep the old one when you renew it as it is property of the government. I also have no exit stamp from my last exit because I used the Echannel system and I can’t find a way to get Statements of Travel Records issued in China. Do you think you still would be able to help?

    Thanks and with the best regards.

    • Hi Yolaine. Local authorities in China are likely to refuse your application for a police certificate if you are unable to provide a complete copy of your old passport. In a case where a police certificate is unobtainable, we could help you write a letter explaining the reasons for the unattainability. For more information about unobtainable police certificates, see our article What if a China police certificate is unobtainable?

    • Hello Tj. Thanks for leaving a message. We are a specialized agency that helps foreign nationals obtain China police certificates. If you are interested in using our police certificate service, please fill in a quote request form.

  2. Hi,
    My partner did 2 years of study in China. Xiamen University. How can we apply for police clearance certificate now as we need for Australian visa purpose, and we are here in Australia.
    Thank you

    • Hi Radha. In Xiamen, local police stations have the authority to issue police certificates to foreigners. Xiamen University has multiple campuses. You will need to apply to the police station that serves the campus where your partner studied. You can ask another person to file the police certificate application on your behalf, so you don’t have to travel from Australia to China.

  3. Hello, I lived in Beijing for some years. Currently, I am living outside of China. I am needing (No criminal record from china or any proof correspondence with the authorities of that country in my attempt to obtain the police certificate from them) Is it possible with you?

    • Hello Lisbeth. Thanks for leaving a comment. We will be happy to assist you in obtaining a no criminal record certificate from Beijing or preparing a letter explaining an attempt to obtain the certificate. If you are interested in our service, please click here to complete a request-a-quote form.

    • Hi IK. You may not be able to renew a police certificate issued by Changchun police authorities. You would need to re-apply for a new police certificate at the Division of Exit and Entry Administration of Changchun Public Security Bureau. The documents you need are your passport(s), letter of introduction(介绍信)issued by your school/employer and enrollment verification certificate (学籍证明)/employment verification letter (工作证明)issued by your school/employer.

  4. Hi, I need to obtain police clearance certificate from Shanghai. I am outside China. What is the procedure and may my friend do that on my behalf?

  5. Sir, if my university want not to give me “School letter confirming on criminal conviction” then what should I do?
    It happened with one of my friend. He asked school to get this paper, but university didn’t give him. Although he didn’t have any criminal record.
    In this case what should he do?

    • Hi Ashadullah. We also had cases where universities refused to issue a letter confirming no criminal conviction. I would recommend that you escalate the matter to the supervisors of the university. Usually, supervisors have a better understanding of the situation. In 1990, China’s Ministry of Justice issued a rule (click here to view the rule) stating that the school needs to issue to a foreign student a letter of no criminal conviction so that the student can apply for a notarial police certificate. You may show them the 1990 rule in an effort to convince the university.

  6. Hi. Do they accept third party representative in Chongqing and Wuhan where I studied years ago?
    Since I don’t have any temporary residence registration form now and I am outside China, Where can I get them to complete my application documents?
    Please How long will it take if I use your service to get the PCC from both cities?

    • Hi Dan. In both Chongqing and Wuhan, you can appoint a third-party to file your police certificate application on your behalf. There is a chance you may not need Temporary Residence Registration Forms in these two cities. Our service for getting police certificates in both cities takes about 2 to 3 weeks on condition that you provide sufficient documents.

  7. Hi,
    My wife studied in China (Chonqing medical University from 2007-2012). She had obtained Police clearance but the PCC does not cover till her last stay in China. PCC was provided on July1st whereas she left China on July 25th. For Canada immigration purpose, they are looking for PCC till July 25th. Could you please explain the process for us. We see currently in India.

  8. Hi, I already got my PCC from Chongqing city 出入境管理支队 for the one year of period where I lived for one year. I need to get notarized my PCC. Do I need to get it notarized from the exact area where I got my PCC? As I’m in Sri Lanka now, it’s hard to be in person and do the notarization. Do you provide notarization services?

    • Hi Chathurangi. Thanks for leaving a comment. Yes, you need to get the PCC notarized by a local notary office in the city of Chongqing. You can appoint someone else to file the notary application. If you are interested in hiring us to help you with the notary application, please click here to complete a request-a-quote form.

  9. Hello. I need to get a police clearance certificate from Beijing. I am Indian, and have lived in China 2 years ago for about 6 months. My Chinese friend is helping me with this procedure.. she called the police office, and they said they never heard about this kind of clearance certificate. She also called Exit-Entry Administration Office of Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, they said they haven’t provide foreigners this kind of clearance certificate. Can you please help us in understanding who issues this certificate in Beijing and what is required for it? Thank you very much.

  10. Hello,

    I studied in Beijing twice, in I think 1999 and 2001/2. I may need to apply for a police certificate but I don’t have my old temporary residence permits or even remember the addresses where I lived. Will I be able to get one?


    • Hi Summer. Thanks for leaving a comment. The local authorities would issue you a police certificate if they can find your Temporary Residence Registration Forms covering 6 months or longer in their database. In other words, you will know whether you can get a police certificate until you actually apply to the authorities.

  11. Hello,
    I have studied in Dalian for 6 years from 2009-2015.
    I have my passport from 2010 but lost the previous one in which 2009 stamps were there.
    Do you think i can get my PCC as i am applying for immigration purpose for Canada.

    • Hi Nish. We had a few cases in Dalian where applicants studied in Dalian, but we have not had any case where a prior passport used for entering China is unavailable. And there are no written rules provided by authorities in Dalian. In my experience, I think you should be able to get a police certificate coveirng at least the years 2010 to 2015. You need to find it out by actually filing the application with Dalian Notary Public Office.

  12. Hello,
    I have studied in Suzhou (Jiangsu Province) from January to April 2018, did an internship in Shanghai from April to August 2018 and went back to Suzhou to finish my studies (August to December 2018).

    What is the procedure to obtain a police certificate? Shall the third party only go to a Shanghai notary office? Or shall they also go make a request in Suzhou?

    Also what are your usual quotation for this type of services and how long does it take?

    Best regards,

    • Hello Luce. Thanks for getting in touch with us. The procedures for getting police certificates in Suzhou and Shanghai are different. In Suzhou, you will first visit a local notary office to get a special letter for submission to local police station(s) where you registered your residence. Then, you bring the letter to the police station(s) and request for issuance of your police certificate(s). For procedures in Shanghai, please see our article, Guide to Applying for a China Police Certificate in Shanghai.

      I do not think you will be able to get a police certificate in Shanghai because one basic requirement for applications in Shanghai is that you have to live in the city for 6 months or longer. You can apply for a police certificate in Suzhou to cover the periods of your residence reflected by your Temporary Residence Registration Form.

      Our average fee for getting a Suzhou notarial police certificate with English translation starts at USD 580. To request a quote for our service, please click here to complete a request-a-quote form.

  13. Hi, I used to work in Tieling City China, however it’s been more than a year now that I’m out of China and I don’t have my passport that I used when I lived in there. Is there anything that you can advise for me? Thank you.

    • Hi Loleth. Thanks for leaving a comment. To be honest, we have no had any on-the-ground experience of getting a police certificate in Tieling. Our experience in other Liaoning cities, e.g. Shenyang, shows that applicants are required to provide their old passports used in China. If your police certificate from Tieling is unobtainable, you should consider the option explained in our article, What if a China police certificate is unobtainable?

  14. Hello
    I am a pakistani national and have studied in jiamusi medical university,china for 5 years 2007-2012.Now i need a Police character certificate for canada immigration purpose.kindly guide me that how can i get my PCC as i am in pakistan.

    • Hello Tahir. We have had one case in Jiamusi. The key document for getting your police certificate from Jiamusi is a letter issued by your university confirming you have no criminal record. The letter needs to have both the stamp of your school department and the stamp of the campus security office.

  15. Hi Pete and thank you so much for this helpful article.
    I was a foreign student in China (Chongqing) for almost a year and now I live in Canada. I would also need a chinese police certificate. Is it possible for me to ask a third-party to get that police certificate on my behalf? Would I need the same documents that you mentioned in your article?

    • Hi Olivia. You can always appoint a third-party to get a police certificate in Chongqing. In Chongqing, your appointed person will need to apply to the district division of exit and entry administration (区出入境管理局) which is the police department in each district dealing with foreign affairs. Typically, the documents required are your passports copies, a power of attorney and an application statement explaining who you are, what the purpoes is for getting a police certificate, what period you live in Chongqing and where you lived in Chongqing.


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