Foreigners will be able to apply for visa extensions and residence permits at district police offices in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, not just at a city-level public security bureau, the provincial police announced on Aug 4.
The change, one of 20 measures authorities have introduced to better serve the public, was made to enable foreigners to renew at an office near home. Since the start of a pilot program last month, foreigners in Foshan’s Nanhai district and four districts in Jiangmen, Guangdong province, have been allowed to apply for visa extensions and residence permits at district police offices.
Foshan, Guangdong’s third-largest commercial city, with advanced manufacturing, attracts numerous foreign visitors. Jiangmen is also the hometown of many overseas Chinese. Its foreign visitors are mainly people reconnecting with family members or who want to visit after retirement. Children living apart from their parents in foreign countries are also among the visitors. Some family members live in villages far from the city center.
Since a policy change in May last year, foreigners may receive visas at 11 checkpoints in Guangdong after applications are submitted by Chinese companies inviting them for business, scientific, educational and cultural exchanges, and after approval by the police.
That measure, which will be promoted further, was adopted to facilitate overseas investment and the introduction of foreign talent, said Pan Zhanxin, director of the political division of the Guangdong Department of Public Security.
Companies must register with the police before they can request a checkpoint visa for their foreign visitors for trips arranged on short notice.
The measures announced on Aug 4 related to exit and entry also included improvements to help domestic applicants.
Starting in October, residents with household registration in Guangdong will be allowed to apply for an ordinary passport and permit for traveling to Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan－as well as certain other visa types－in any city in Guangdong where they have held a residence permit for at least one year.
The measure is designed to save people the need to travel back to their place of household registration just to apply for the documents.
The use of a self-service machine for applying for a passport and Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan permits will be extended to more cities to improve efficiency, authorities said.
The 20 measures also include a smartphone app for police services, household registration transfers, traffic fine payments, annual examinations of vehicles, ID card applications and fire control administration.
“They embody the keywords of openness, streamlining, proximity and convenience, and the new mentality of having data taking the workload from people in an era of Internet Plus,” said Pan, who pledged continued reform in the future.
Huang Min contributed to this story.