New National Regulation Concerning the Issuance of China Certificates of No Criminal Record to Foreign Nationals Is Taking Effect

The Provisions on the Handling of Criminal Record Check by Public Security Organs (in Chinese, 《公安机关办理犯罪记录查询工作规定》) drawn up by China’s Ministry of Public Security is coming into effect on Dec. 31, 2021. Some parts of the Provisions deal with the issuance of police certificates to foreign nationals. It is the first time in 30 years that a national regulation talks about foreign nationals getting China certificates of no criminal record, also known as police certificate/check/clearance. The only other national rule on the same subject is the Notice Regarding the Handling of Certificates of Whether Foreigners Have Any Criminal Sanction During the Period of Their Residence in China,  (in Chinese, 《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》) issued by the Ministry of Justice in 1990.

Article 5 of the Provisions provides that “where a foreign national who lives in China for 180 days or longer applies for the check, the application should be filed to the exit and entry administration of public security at the county level or above in the place of the applicant’s residence”. Article 5 also says “According to local actualities and for the convenience of people, local public security bureaus may add additional work units for accepting applications and also adopt online application, self-service application etc for criminal record check.” This means that exit and entry administration in some cities may not be the place for applying for certificates of no criminal record.

Article 6 of the Provisions stipulates, “A foreign national applying for the check should provide his valid proof of identity and an application form. Where another person is appointed to do the check, a power of attorney and the appointed person’s valid proof of identity should also be provided.”

Article 18 gives power to local public security bureaus to “make detailed rules relating to the implementation according to local actualities and work needs.” So, there can be local variations in the procedures and requirements.

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