Entrepreneurship Visa in China

China’s economic development and opening-up have gradually promoted more political, economic and cultural exchanges between China and other countries. At the same time the number of foreign students studying in China has increased. In 2017, a total of 489,200 foreign students studied in Chinese colleges and institutions, and this number is only increasing with a growth rate of more than 10% for two consecutive years. China has become the largest destination for overseas students in Asia. With the good performance China’s economy more international students tend to stay in China for employment after they have finished studying.

Work visa after graduation

According to the regulation introduced by the Chinese government in 2017, foreign students who have obtained a master’s degree or higher at Chinese universities and graduated within one year are eligible to directly apply for a work visa. This was certainly a big shift compared to previous regulations which required international students to have a minimum of two years of work experience outside of China, before being able to return to China for work.

The applications process for a work visa has quite a few approval conditions, some of which are related to someone’s academic performance at school. In practice this means that for people who have not obtained a master’s degree in China and do not have two years of work experience outside of China it is almost impossible to obtain a work permit.

Preferential Policies

In 2017, Chinese government started to launch preferential policies in order to promote and support innovation. Eight regions (cities) have become the experimental area for the new policies. These are the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region, Shanghai, Guangdong (Great Bay Area), the Hefei-Wuhu-Bengbu Area (Anhui Province), the Chengdu-Deyang-Mianyang Area (Sichuan Province), Wuhan, Xi’an, and Shenyang.

Encouraging foreign talents to come to China plays a major part in the preferential policies. The Chinese government encourages foreign students who are studying for a Bachelor’s degree at Chinese universities to stay in China for work or to start their own business. Moreover, the Chinese government has actively simplified the application process for related visa and residential permit in order to encourage foreign talents to work in the innovation sector in China. Two of the leading cities that make an effort to attract foreign talent are Shanghai and Chengdu.


The Entrepreneurship Visa in Shanghai not only benefits the foreign graduates, who have graduated from Chinese universities and want to innovate and start businesses in Shanghai, it also benefits other foreigners who want to start a business in Shanghai, however on the condition that they are willing to invest in Shanghai. Furthermore, the Entrepreneurship Visa requires foreign entrepreneurs to have a complete business plan, and to present certificates of innovation and entrepreneurship issued by economic development zones, high-tech parks, crowd innovation space, incubators and other professional platforms.


According to “50 New Industrial Policies” announced by the government of Chengdu in 2017, foreign students who have graduated from universities in China (including institutions of higher learning in Hong Kong and Macao) and are willing to start an innovative business in China can apply for a Entrepreneurship Visa valid for 2 to 5 years.

The Chinese Entrepreneurship Visa

The Chinese Entrepreneurship Visa is not actually a separate visa. It is actually a residence permit of private affairs, which has a special annotation of entrepreneurship. The policy was introduced by the government to facilitate the entry of foreigners to China to start businesses. The Entrepreneurship Visa has been piloted in several selected cities and provinces. For international graduates from Chinese universities, who are planning to start their own business in China, the Entrepreneurship Visa has helped them land in China quickly.

How to obtain a Chinese Entrepreneurship Visa

The requirements for a Chinese Entrepreneurship Visa vary slightly between the regions where they are offered. However, in general, if a non-Chinese individual would like to apply for a Chinese Entrepreneurship Visa, he/she need to fulfill either one of the following requirements:

  1. The applicant needs to provide innovation plan or entrepreneurship business plan, and he/she must be graduated from a Chinese university;
  2. The applicant plans to invest in China or to provide innovation plan or entrepreneurship business plan.

The applicants must apply for S1 Visa with “entrepreneur” remark, and then transfer it to a residential permit for private affairs with a special entrepreneurship annotation. The detailed application process is different depending on the region or city that applicants would like to go. If you are interested to know more about the Chinese Entrepreneurship Visa and the market environment in China, please feel free to contact us.

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