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Hi. I have heard about the D-visa for foreigners who come to reside permanently in China.

I have read that you have to be married to a Chinese for at least five years to get it. I have been so for over five years now. But what I do not know is if one can work in China with the D-visa, or do I need to get a Z-visa to do that? I am planning to move to China soon and wish to start some business.

Any help on this subject is greatly appreciated!

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You won't get a D-VIsa unless you have also been living in China for more than 5 years (and married to a Chinese person) and have not left China for more than 3 months in each year.

So you need to apply for the Z-Visa first (but for that you need a confirmed job offer from a Chinese company).

Alternatively, you can apply for an L-Visa (which as you are married to a Chinese person can be extended to a 1-year multiple-entry L-Visa), go get a job, then re-apply for a Z-Visa.

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Actually, it is not a "D" visa you seek. "D" visas are only issued to those who have applied from outside of China and whose application for permanent residency has been approved. In that case, a "D" visa is issued which allows you to enter China and obtain your permanent residence ID card (aka green card). As soon as you receive your green card, your "D" visa is invalidated and you no longer need any visa to remain in China permanently or to enter / leave China as often as you wish.

Now, to be eligible to apply for the green card under the category of spouse of a Chinese national, you need to already have been married for at least a five year period immediately preceding your application for permanent residency and, during this same period, have lived continuously in China with absences, if any, not amounting to over 90 days in each calendar year.

You also must substantiate that you have a stable, long-term place to live and stable, long-term employment in addition to sufficient personal resources to cover any unforeseen circumstances.

Further, you must substantiate your entire stay in China during the qualifying period and if authorities determine that you have, for example, at any point lived here on a non-work visa yet have earned income, they will probably deny your application.

The entire process is supposed to take six months, but that target is generally never met. For at least the first five months the local PSB will conduct an extensive background investigation and interview all of your friends, relatives, neighbors ex-employers and virtually anybody else they find who has known you. Once they finish, the provincial PSB will repeat the background check. Upon completion, your file is forwarded to Beijing for final approval / disapproval. It is my understanding that the vast majority of applications are denied.

If your application is approved, you will receive a permanent resident ID card (green card) and have virtually no limitations on employment or length of residence in China.

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>>Alternatively, you can apply for an L-Visa (which as you are married to a Chinese

>>person can be extended to a 1-year multiple-entry L-Visa), go get a job, then re-apply

>>for a Z-Visa.

There is a one-year "L" visa available for spouses of Chinese citizens or permanent residents, but it does not allow you to work.

If, while on that "L" visa, you can find an employer willing to hire you and who is legally able to sponsor you for a "Z" visa, you may then, while still in China, apply for a "Z" visa.

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