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Chinese Passports and Other Travel Documents

2008-07-23
       I.Categories, Prospective Applicants and Issuing Authorities

A. Categories

Passports of the People‘s Republic of China are issued to Chinese citizens as certificates to prove their nationality and identity for the purposes of entering or exiting Chinese border and travelling or residing in foreign countries.

Passports of the PRC are classified into Diplomatic Passport, Service Passport, Ordinary Passport, Hongkong Special Administrative Region Passport and Macao Special Administrative Region Passport. Ordinary Passport is further composed of Ordinary Passport for Public Affairs and Ordinary Passport for Private Affairs.

The maximum validity of Diplomatic Passport, Service Passports and Ordinary Passport is 5 years. All these passports can be renewed before the expiry date. The validity period of Hongkong SAR Passport is 10 years. Hongkong SAR Passport issued to those under the age of 16 years shall be valid for 5 years. The validity of the Macao SAR passport is 10 years. Macao SAR passport issued to those under the age of 18 years shall be valid for 5 years.

B. Prospective Applicants

Diplomatic Passport is principally issued to senior officials of the Communist Party, the government, and the People’s Liberation Army, principal leaders of the National People’s Congress, the Chinese Peoples’ Political Consultative Conference, and all democratic parties, diplomats, consular officers and their accompanying spouses, underage children, diplomatic couriers, and etc.

Service Passport is principally issued to officials ranked as division chief and above of governmental offices, staff members of diplomatic and consular missions in foreign countries, the United Nations’ organizations and its specialized agencies, and their accompanying spouses and underage children, and etc.

Ordinary Passport for Public Affairs is principally issued to staff in the governmental offices at all levels and to employees of state-owned enterprises or institutions.

Ordinary Passport for private affairs is principally issued to overseas Chinese and those who go abroad for personal affairs, such as residing, visiting friends or relatives, inheriting properties, studying, working, or sightseeing, etc.

Hongkong SAR Passports are issued to Chinese citizens who hold permanent identity cards of Hongkong.

Macao SAR Passports are issued to Chinese citizens who are permanent residents of the Macao SAR.

C. Issuing Authorities

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and 55 foreign affairs offices of local people’s governments authorized by the MFA are responsible for the issuance, renewal, page-adding or endorsement of the Diplomatic Passports, Service Passports and Ordinary Passports for Public Affairs.

The Public Security Departments or Bureaus of the local governments authorized by the Ministry of Public Security are responsible for the issuance, renewal or endorsement of Ordinary Passports for private affairs.

Under the Basic Law of the Hongkong Special Administrative Region of the PRC, the Central Government authorize the Government of the Hongkong SAR to issue the Hongkong SAR Passport in accordance with law. The particular authority responsible for the issuance of the passport of the Hongkong SAR is the Immigration Department of the Hongkong SAR.

Under the Basic Law of the Macao Special administrative Region of the PRC, the Central Government authorize the Government of the Macao SAR to issue the Macao SAR Passport in accordance with law. The particular authority responsible for the issuance of the passport of the Macao SAR is the Identification Department of the Macao SAR.

Chinese diplomatic missions in foreign countries have the authority to issue Diplomatic Passport, Service Passport, Ordinary Passport for Public Affairs and Ordinary Passport for private affairs and to handle passport-concerned applications, such as, renewal or endorsement of the above-said passports, processing the applications of the Hongkong SAR Passport and providing necessary assistance to the residents of the Macao SAR in their applications for the Macao SAR Passport or Travel Document.

Chinese consular missions in foreign countries have the authority to issue Ordinary Passport for Public Affairs and Ordinary Passport for private affairs and to handle passport-concerned applications, such as, renewal or endorsement of the various types of passports, processing the applications of the Hongkong SAR Passport and providing necessary assistance to the residents of the Macao SAR in their applications for the Macao SAR Passport or Travel Document.

Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC in the Hongkong SAR and Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC in the Macao SAR have the authority to issue Diplomatic Passport, Service Passport, Ordinary Passport for Public Affairs and Ordinary Passport for private affairs only to replace old ones, and to handle passport-concerned applications such as renewal and endorsement of the above-said passports.

The passport issuing authorities are also authorized to issue alternative travel documents in lieu of passport, or to cancel or withdraw the passport and alternative travel document..


               II. Travel Documents

A. Travel Permit

Travel Permit of the PRC is an alternative to Chinese passport. It has two categories under respective terms of validity. One is valid for one year and for a single journey to and from China, the other is valid for multiple journeys within two years. It is good for travel to all countries and regions in the world. The Travel Permit can not be renewed. No additional visa pages should be added to it.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chinese diplomatic/consular missions or other authorized institutions in foreign countries are responsible for the issuance of Travel Permit of the PRC. The prospective applicants of the Travel Permit are:

----Chinese nationals who have lost their passports while travelling abroad and urgently need to return to China;

----Chinese nationals living in Hongkong SAR or Macao SAR who do not have a pass issued by the Ministry of Public Security and wish to travel to mainland China;

----Taiwan residents of Chinese nationality residing in foreign countries who do not have a pass issued by the Ministry of Public Security and wish to travel to mainland China;

----Macao residents in foreign countries who do not have valid identity or travel documents of Macao SAR and wish to return to Macao to apply for the Macao SAR Passport or travel document;

----Other Chinese nationals in need of such a Travel Permit.

B. Seafarer’s Passport

Seafarer’s Passport of the PRC is an international travel document issued by the Harbor Administrative Authority to those seamen who work abroad.

The validity of the Seafarer’s Passport varies while the maximum is 5 years. It is good for travel to all countries and regions in the world. Chinese diplomatic/consular missions and other institutions authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in foreign countries are responsible for the renewal and replacement of the Seafarer’s Passport. A Seafarer’s Passport with a validity of 2 years and above can be renewed once, but the renewal should not exceed 1 year. If the validity is less than 2 years, it shall not be renewed.

C. Hongkong Document of Identity

Document of Identity is issued by the Hongkong SAR government to an eligible Chinese national who is not permanent resident of the Hongkong SAR.

D. Hongkong Seaman’s Identity Book

Hongkong Seaman’s Identity Book is issued to a Hongkong resident who is the holder of the Employment Registration Book issued by the Hongkong SAR government.

E. Travel Permit Of The Macao SAR

Travel Permit of the Macao SAR is issued to a lawful resident of Macao, namely, a non-permanent resident of Macao SAR or a permanent resident of non-Chinese nationality.


          III. Knowhow in the Application of Chinese Passports

A. The Nationality Law of the PRC stipulates that, “The People’s Republic of China does not recognize dual nationality for any Chinese national.” ”Any person who applies for naturalization as a Chinese national shall acquire Chinese nationality upon approval of his application; a person whose application for naturalization as a Chinese national has been approved shall not retain foreign nationality.” ”Any Chinese national who has settled abroad and who has been naturalized as a foreign national or has acquired foreign nationality of his own free will shall automatically lose Chonese nationality.” A non-Chinese national is not eligible to apply for Chinese passport or travel documents (except for Travel Permit of the Macao SAR).

B. Chinese nationals in foreign countries may go to Chinese diplomatic/consular missions and authorized institutions for passport-concerned applications, such as renewal, endorsement or page-adding, etc. The applicant is required to go to the embassy or consulate or other authorized institutions in person to submit the application, fill out application forms, interview with consular officers, and submit relevant supplementary documents. The following documents are required:

----Chinese passport or certificates of the applicant’s Chinese nationality, in both original and photostat copy;

----Valid certificate of residence issued by the foreign government or other identity certificate of the applicant’s lawful status;

----Completed application form;

----Other relevant supplementary documents required by the consular officers.

C. The Applicant Shall Be Responsible for His Documents Submitted

The consular officers will reject any application in which submitted documents are considered incomplete or false. Any passports gained through fraudulent means will be declared withdrawn and the persons concerned will be subject to the punishment of relevant laws.

D. The Renewal, Page-Adding and Endorsement of Passports

It is suggested that passport holders for public affairs check before leaving the country, whether the validity period of the passport is more than 6 months and whether there are enough visa pages. If the answer is no, relevant applications should be done in China. Chinese embassies and consulates in foreign countries will not accept any applications for passport renewal, page-adding or endorsement of those public affairs passport holders on short-term visits abroad.

Passport holders for public affairs on assignment abroad may apply for the renewal, page-adding or endorsement of their passports from relevant Chinese embassy or consulate. And such applications will be referred to the original passport issuing authorities in China for approval.

Private passport holders should check the validity of their passports and get the passports extended in time so as not to affect their residence or travelling abroad. Supplementary documents should be submitted when applying for the renewal or endorsement of a passport

E. In Case of Loss

Passport is an important document of nationality and identity and should be kept properly. Any loss or damage to the passport should be avoided. Once the passport is lost, the bearer should report the loss to the nearest Chinese embassy or consulate or other authorized institutions and apply for replacement of the passport. The applicant should provide certificates of his nationality and of his lawful staying status, and a detailed written report of the loss of his passport and other materials as required by the authority. He should also fill in application forms and prepare three 2x2 photos. A new passport or Travel Permit shall be issued once the applicant’s identity is verified:

----For a private passport holder who has lawful staying status in a foreign country, a private passport may be issued as replacement;

----For a passport holder for public affairs who is assigned to work in a foreign country, relevant public affairs passport may be issued as replacement;

----For other Chinese passport holders travelling abroad on short-term visits, a Travel Permit valid for one journey within one year may be issued to facilitate their return to China.


IV. Travel Documents for residents of Chinese Nationality of the Hongkong SAR and the Macao SAR

According to the Basic Law of the Hongkong SAR of the PRC and the Basic Law of the Macao SAR of the PRC, the SAR government may apply immigration controls on entry into, stay in and departure from the Region by persons from foreign states and regions. Residents of Chinese nationality of the SAR may apply for the Hongkong SAR passport or Macao SAR passport or other travel documents respectively for trip abroad. For trips to the mainland, a pass issued by the Ministry of Public Security or a Travel Permit should be used.

A. The Application of HKSAR Passport

1. Who are eligible

According to Article 154 of the Basic Law of the Hongkong SAR of the PRC, the Hongkong SAR passports are issued to all Chinese citizens who hold permanent identity cards of the Region, and travel documents of the HKSAR are issued to all other persons lawfully residing in the Region.

2. How to apply for the HKSAR passports overseas

An overseas applicant may apply for the SAR passport from Chinese embassy, consulate-general or consulate in a foreign country, or directly contact the Immigration Department of the HKSAR.

The applicant may choose to file his application in person, or by mail. In whatever cases, the applicant should go to the embassy, consulate or the Immigration Department in person at least once and submit the original copies of all the supporting documents for check.

3. Application procedures

a. Fill in application forms (obtainable at the embassy or consulate). Applicant 16 years of age or over should complete the form ID843. Form ID844 is for children under 16 years.

b. Prepare photographs. Applicant should enclose 3 identical recent color photos. For detailed requirements for the photos, please contact the nearest Chinese embassy or consulate.

c. Fill in the form of payment (ID853) and pay the fees (see Table of Payment for Chinese Passports and Travel Documents )

4. Documents required when submitting an overseas application to the Chinese embassy or consulate--general

a. one photostat copy of the Hong Kong permanent identity card. If an applicant has the right of abode in the HKSAR but has no Hong Kong permanent identity card, he /she should also apply for a Hong Kong permanent identity card at the same time as he/she apply for a HKSAR passport. Further information on permanent identity card registration is contained in the “Notes for Guidance—Application for Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card by a person of the age of 18 or over/under the age of 18 Resident Overseas (ROP143A/ROP144A)” obtainable from any Chinese embassy /consulate-general.

b. For children between 16 to 18 years of age, photostat copies of the consenting parent/legal guardian’s identity card/travel document and proof of relationship between the child and parent/legal guardian are required. If the application is made with the consent of the father, photostat copy the parents’ marriage certificate or court order is also required to prove that the father is the legal guardian of the applicant.

c. For children under the 16 years of age, the application should be made by parents /legal guardian with the required photostat copies of the parent/legal guardian’s identity card or travel document and proof of the relationship between the child and parent/legal guardian. If the application is made by the father, photostat copy of the parents’ marriage certificate or court order is also required to prove that the farther is the legal guardian of the child.

d. For children under the 11 years of age, besides the documents mentioned above for those under 16 years of age, photostat copy of school document bearing the name, date of birth and a photograph of the child or completed counter signatory form will be required to confirm the identity of the child.

e. For those who has never held Hong Kong identity card including Hong Kong permanent identity card and Hong Kong non-permanent identity card, photostat copy of concerned document bearing photograph is required to prove the identity of the applicant.

f. If an applicant is born outside China (or Honkong SAR), the applicant himself or his parent or his legal guardian should complete the auxiliary application form for the HKSAR passport (obtainable from Chinese embassy or consulate) and submit relevant supporting documents to the Immigration Department for check.

g. All photostat copies submitted should be clearly made on A4 size (210mm×297mm) paper and will not be returned.

5. How to collect the passport

HKSAR Immigration Department usually takes 2 months to examine the eligibility of the applicant. When the Chinese embassy/consulate-general receives the passport posted by HKSAR Immigration Department, they will inform the applicant to collect the passport personally or post the HKSAR passport to the applicant according to the address.

6. How to deal with the previous travel document after receiving a HKSAR passport

The CI should be canceled by the Chinese embassy/consulate-general and the canceled CI may be returned to the applicant when the HKSAR passport is being collected. The BNO passport held by the applicant need not be recalled or canceled.

B. The Application for Other HKSAR Travel Documents

Applicant for other HKSAR travel documents may obtain the relevant forms from Chinese embassy/consulate-general. When a new DI or HKSAR seaman’s book is being collected, the previous travel document should be canceled by the Chinese embassy/consulate-general and may be returned to the applicant after the cancellation.

In case of emergency such as lost or damage of the HKSAR passport or other travel documents, the applicant may apply to the Chinese embassy/consulate-general for the Declaration of Identity for Entry Purpose so as to return to Hong Kong timely.

C. The Application for Macao SAR Passport and Other Travel Documents

The Chinese embassy/consulate-general does not accept the application for Macao Special Administrative Region passport for the reason of unripe condition.

The applicant for Macao Special Administrative Region Travel Permit may obtain “the Application Form for MSAR Travel Permit” and “the Notice for overseas application”.

The applicant may directly post the completed application form and all other relevant documents to:

Director of Identification Department of Macau Special Administrative Region

Largo Do Senado, No.20
Macau (Via Hong Kong)
Tel: (0853) 356615    
Fax: (0853) 374300

Macao residents who have no travel documents or whose travel documents have expired but need to return to Macao for the application may seek advice and help from the Chinese embassy/consulate-general.

In emergency, Macao residents may directly contact the director of Identification Department of Macao. The mobile phone number is (0853) 6813664
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