Working with or in China can be valuable for your company. Outsourcing labor and manufacturing can save your bottom line. Or selling into the large Chinese market can grow your revenues. To accomplish this, you likely need to travel to China to meet with agents, representatives, officials, and suppliers. Your job will be tough, but worth it. The last thing you want to worry about is travel visa problems ruining your trip, OR your entire business.
There are several different visas for business travelers to China.
The several work visas to China vary slightly, but the specific type must be used for your travels. Type M is for “Business or Commerce” and is typical of a shot term business trip. The “Work” Z visa is for longer term employment in China. More than a month. Journalists, type J, have their own visas. A superstar in their field would get the rare R-type visa, for workers with unique talents. And note that the Type F visa “Exchanges, visits, and Inspections” sounds like it is relevant to business, but expressly forbids any use for business.
Applying for and getting a visa to travel to China can also be confusing. The complex process can lead one to error. Or unscrupulous agents might try to push you through on an improper visa, claiming that they will sort out the more difficult visa once you are there. Make sure you have done your homework or have good help when applying.
- There are worse things than having your luggage lost on a business trip. Penalties for visa and immigration violations in China range from annoying to severe.
- Visa confusion can cause for travel delays for your trip. Before your trip make sure you allocate time for the visa to be approved. And once in China, visa issues can hold you up at the port of entry for a few hours or a few days.
- Violators can be jailed for up to ten days for travel violations. Before being deported from the country.
- Fines range from a few thousand US dollars for an individual, to over US$10,000 per illegal employee for the company.
- Plus, the “illegal gains” of any work will be confiscated. Any revenue earned for your company in China might end up staying there forever.
- And unstated in the Law books is the possibility of your firm being black listed for future travel and business in China. If the Chinese authorities believe that your work and visa conditions were fraudulent or broken, it can make future travel and business deals impossible for the company.
So why go through all this? Because business in China can be worth it. It is the world’s second largest economy, largest workforce, huge in manufacturing, and vital to international growth.
Get the help you need to have a successful business trip to China. Worry about your business, and let legal immigration professionals worry about the red tape needed to work there. Visawolf is an immigration law firm that has years of experience with corporate visas and global travel. Our firm has native Chinese speakers, in both Mandarin and Min Nan Hua. Let Visawolf help you travel more safely and for your business to prosper.