The Guangzhou government has addressed frequently-asked questions from foreign-funded companies and educational institutions during a seminar with the theme of ‘How to return to China (Guangzhou)’ on July 28th.
According to Guangzhou Commerce Bureau, the “Fast Lane” policy has been the major way for companies to bring back their oversea employees since it was launched on June 30th. Thus far, Guangzhou has handled 10 chartered flight applications and helped more than 1300 employees return to the city.
Who can apply for the fast lane?
Thus far, China has signed fast land agreement with seven countries, namely, South Korea, Germany, UK, France, Switzerland, Italy and Singapore.
Employees from the seven countries will be qualified for the application if they are key members in such business sectors as commerce, logistics, manufacturing and technical services or they are working for major industrial companies and high-tech projects. They can apply for the fast lane after having been granted an Invitation Letter to China and a valid visa.
Tu Hongzhe, Officer of Guangzhou Foreign Affairs Office [Photo/Keane]
Employers can apply for the Invitation Letter through the virus control department of the district where the enterprise registered. The application will be handled by the municipal departments and granted by Guangzhou Foreign Affairs Office (FAO).
According to Guangzhou FAO, they have handled 3043 applications from 272 enterprises and granted 2649 Invitation Letters so far.
How to apply for the fast lane?
If an enterprise has a demand to bring back a large number of employees, they can arrange a chartered plane first and then apply for the fast lane to enter China.
They can submit the fast lane application through the virus control department of the district where they are registered. Required documents include chartered plane information (departure date, airline company, passenger number, aircraft model, departure and arrival airports) and a virus control plan jointly formulated by the company and virus control department.
What’s the ‘2+12’ quarantine measure for ‘fast lane’ applicants?
Employees enter through the fast lane should accept the ‘2+12’ quarantine measure. They are required to have a 2-day quarantine for medical observation during which they will take a Nucleic Acid Test for Covid-19. If negative, they will be transferred to home or company. They are permitted to commute between home and work only during the 14 days after entrance. After 14 days, they will have another NAT. If negative, they may return back to normal life in China.
In addition to the fast lane policy, National Civil Aviation Administration also launched a ‘Green Channel’ to facilitate chartered plane applications from the seven fast lane countries and Japan. However, people coming back from countries without the fast lane agreement need to accept a 14-day quarantine at designated hotels after entering China.
Can SMEs apply?
Yes, Guangzhou has released a new document recently which allows more companies to apply for the Invitation Letter to enter China. Small and medium companies can submit their applications through the district virus control department. The district will handle the applications based on the company scale and actual circumstance.
However, only enterprises with chartered plane arrangement can enjoy the fast lane policy. Employees of companies without chartered plane arrangement are required to accept a 14-day quarantine.
The Guangzhou government is discussing about chartered plane arrangement with foreign Chambers of Commerce. SMEs can contact with foreign Chambers of Commerce or large-scaled companies which are able to make chartered plane arrangement.
If I successfully extend my visa, can I leave the Chinese mainland and then come back within the valid duration of stay?
You are able to leave Chinese mainland but need to apply for the Invitation Letter before you re-enter the border. If you fail to apply for the Invitation Letter, you have to wait until Chinese mainland reopens its border and come back within the valid duration of your visa.
If I'm currently overseas, how can I apply for visa to enter China?
According to the latest requirements, you should submit visa application with valid NAT result at the Chinese embassy or consulate general in your current location.
If I'm currently in Hong Kong, how can I apply for visa to come back?
There's a visa center in Hong Kong but it's currently closed due to the third wave of Covid-19 in the city. You can make contact with the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong under urgent circumstances.
How to apply for Visa Extension?
You can apply for visa extension as many times as you want until the pandemic ends. The length of each extended stay cannot exceed the duration of stay on your original visa.
The Guangzhou Entry and Exit Department requires minimum documents for approval. For example, if you apply for visa extension, you only need to submit basic personal information, passport, a recent passport style photo with a barcode and a registration form of temporary residence.
The department also allows online application through its WeChat program ‘广州公安’ and official website: http://crjyw.gzjd.gov.cn/ELSPafv/index.jsp
For more details about visa application, you can check:
The seminar was jointly held by Guangzhou Foundation for International Exchange & Cooperation and European Chamber of Commerce in China.
According to European Chamber South China Chapter, many foreign employees of its member companies are trapped overseas due to the pandemic. About 20 percent of them managed to return to Guangzhou while others are still looking for the lifting of the entry restriction. “They are eager to come back as the city has become their second home.”
Reported by Jasmine
Edited by Keane, Jerry