The West is falling. Brexit happened (get over it), we’re facing the very real possibility of Trump becoming the new Commander-in-Chief of the largest military in the world, and we’re not even talking about the bombings in the Middle East. Maybe it’s time to consider… alternative living arrangements.

We at EnjoyShanghai decided to help you find out how to legally become native Chinese.

Okay, first things first. Before you can even start to imagine obtaining one of the world’s most-difficult-to-get citizenships, you need to get a Permanent Residence or a Chinese Green Card. That’s what they call it. It’s no joke or fake-market bargain-buy, and the Chinese media compare it to the US one as it is extremely difficult to get.

So if you have one, enjoy it, because you’re halfway there to getting Chinese citizenship, and can scroll down to our ‘Now the hard part’ section whose title is in no way foreshadowing for the gauntlet of bureaucratic spanking machines between you and Chinese citizenship.  If you don’t have your Chinese Green Card– here’re the different red-tape-rabbit-holes paths you can take through all the papers.

How to Get Permanent Residence/Green Card

To get a Chinese permanent residence you need to satisfy one of the following conditions.

For the RICH:

For you investors out there, or you entrepreneurs with a really deep initial seed. Basically, to obtain Chinese citizenship you need your regular, stable and direct investments into China to surpass USD $2 million in 3 years or less, or just USD $500,000 if it’s in the Western part of the country!

For the SMART:

This is for you gifted academics, talented managers, future Jack Ma’s and Donald Trumps.

Trump must be a genius to have gotten this far, right? There’s no way a man with a brain like turgid sludge has 40% of the American population planning to vote for him unless he’s secretly a genius, right?

Anyway, this way suits the extremely professional with enormous potential in their field, an outstanding expert with no less than 4 years of qualified experience in their area and at least 3 years of Chinese residency.


Did you greatly contribute to including China’s RMB in the benchmark SDR currency basket? If you don’t know what that means, you probably didn’t, but it counts as an economic service to the country. Have you been volunteering for the past 15 years as an English teacher in underserviced provinces, ideally in the ancestral hometown of a high-ranking public official? That counts as social progress. Have you rescued at least two or three families from fire, ideally in the hometown of a high-ranking public official? That counts as an outstanding service to China. Any of your economical or cultural achievements might be honored with a Chinese green card. But make sure they’re really outstanding. You’ll need a letter of recommendation and related proofs from the Chinese government.


If, by some chance (on average about a 1/7 chance considering the world population), a Chinese citizen happens to be your close relative, and you are: a) the happy spouse of local person, for no less than 5 years in China OR b) an under 18 years old kid with a Chinese parent OR c) above 60 years old and a relative of a Chinese native – Go for your green card! Actually whether or not you’re a happy spouse doesn’t matter much, just the spouse part.


Only for the HSK 6 master, who speaks perfect Shanghainese and can’t imagine a life without street-corner longxia – this is you. Dye your hair black, burn off your finger-tips, pretend you’ve lost your passport, and demand a new one. Don’t worry about your eyes, say they’re colored contacts. Or go the extra mile.

As soon as you satisfy one of the conditions, don’t hesitate to apply for the permanent residence permit at the Ministry of Public Security, along with with some photos, a health check and a filled-out Application Form of Aliens for Permanent Residence. Then wait a maximum of 6 months.

If you get it, congrats! The Permanent Residence Permit has no expiration date and can be used inside of the country, the same way as your passport. You also get a hukou, and if you’re in Shanghai, that’s one of the best ones!

Now the hard part

The next step is obtaining Chinese citizenship. By the way, if you get it, you are obliged to give up your previous nationality. No chances for dual citizenship. No way back. Not at all ominous.

Still with us? Okay! The last steps.

Depending on what category you’re in, there are a bunch of different documents you need, health checks, letters of recommendation, clean criminal record, etc. You can find them at this website;

It’s all in Chinese. If that’s a problem for you, you might want to reconsider applying.

Still with us? Man, you are determined. Trump might not be that bad, you know? All right. The last step is to apply to the Ministry of Public Security. Just applying costs 1,500 RMB and it’s 300 RMB for the document itself. If you’ve somehow made it through this whole ordeal and somehow, unbelievably, been granted Chinese citizenship, then you can count yourself lucky. According to the 2010 census, there were 1448 naturalized Chinese citizens in the country at the time. 60% of them were women. Like, Hillary.

Just saying.

Author: Enjoy Shanghai

Enjoy Shanghai is one of the best and largest news portals in China and has been proving with meaningful and helpful news for over a decade. We are delicate to share the useful information for you about everything in shanghai.