Attn: parents of mixed Chinese kids

From the Global Times:

The city’s Exit-Entry Administration Bureau on Monday strongly advised parents of biracial infants born in China with Chinese nationalities to make sure their paperwork is in order before arriving at local airports, after some 100 families have been prohibited from taking their infant children out of the country this year.

Mixed children with a Chinese nationality require a “pass certification” before they are permitted to go abroad, according to Chinese law.

“But the majority of parents are unaware of the policy, or cannot be bothered apply for the certificate, which mixed kids living in China need,” Li Feng, a press officer for the bureau, told the Global Times on Monday. “If their parents don’t get the certificate, then biracial kids are not legally allowed to leave the country.”

After completing a national validation for their biracial children, parents can apply for the certificate at the city’s Exit-Entry Administration Bureau, a process that takes at least seven working days and costs 100 yuan ($15).

Mixed children who hold a foreign nationality do not need the certificate, but are required to have the same travel documents as foreigners living in China. Dual citizenship is not recognized by China.

The tricky part is that last sentence, “Mixed children who hold a foreign nationality do not need the certificate.” This is complicated because AFAIK just having foreign nationality isn’t enough. Just as any child born in China to at least one Chinese parent is officially “Chinese” at birth, any child born of a Canadian parent is “Canadian” at birth, regardless of where they’re born. But as the above mentioned (and every bi-national set of parents knows), China doesn’t allow dual-citizenship. Thus, the way I understand it, until a child leaves the country and returns as a citizen of the non-China country (with a Chinese visa), they are viewed by China as Chinese.

So, as an example, despite my son Casey having Canadian citizenship by birth, as well as proof of that citizenship in the form of a Canadian Citizenship Card, China will continue to see him as “Chinese” until he leaves China and returns using Canadian documentation. Again, AFAIK, there is no way to change this (ie. renounce Casey’s Chinese citizenship) inside of China.

A pain in the ass, but about on par with every other bureaucratic thing in this country or elsewhere. I’ve still a helluva rant yet to be written down about the absolute absurdity of getting Casey’s Canadian citizenship card.

What’s with the “biracial infants” bit in the first sentence of the GT report? If a Chinese-Canadian has a baby with a Chinese national their child would not be biracial, just binational. It also speaks loads about the differences between China and Canada that the Chinese national could not possibly be any race other than “Chinese”.

21 Responses

  1. I’ve heard that China instantly revokes Chinese citizenship upon a Chinese acquiring another citizenship. I do not necessarily view this as a bad thing.
    For a start, there’s more red tape for Chinese citizens to travel abroad, even to the 3 countries whose citizens are allowed visa free travel to China, namely Japan, Brunei and Singapore.
    Secondly, you’ve probably got more legal rights in China as a non-citizen than as a citizen. If something happens you at least have an Embassy to turn to.
    Lastly, in the event of having your Chinese citizenship revoked, what are you losing? Right to vote? But vote for what?
    Having said all this, I still think it is not a positive sign of a nation not recognizing dual citizenship, even Vietnam now recognizes it since 2008. However, loss of Chinese citizenship, I can’t see this as much of a loss.

    • I agree. Choosing my son’s citizenship was one of the simplest parental decisions we’ve had to make, as there are far more benefits to him having a Canadian passport than a Chinese one.

      I think China instantly revoking citizenship may have been the way it worked in the past, but I’m quite certain (though not positive) that Chinese citizenship sticks until you’ve left and re-entered the country as a foreign citizen (ie. using a foreign passport). If anyone has more information on this, I’d be curious to know.

  2. Countries that do not recognize Dual Citizenship tend not to be the most desirable of places in fields such as human rights, political freedoms etc.
    Iran, last time I checked, does not recognize dual citizenship, and neither does Saudi Arabia. Vietnam legalized Dual Citizenship in 2008.
    However, Spain allowed only dual citizenship with its former Latin American colonies, though I’m quite sure that if Spain tried to revoke a Spaniards citizenship it could very well be challenged at the European Court level, as they would not only be revoking their Spanish citizenship, but also their European Citizenship.
    I don’t know of any cases of this happening, but were it to happen it could very well set a precedent wherein European states would be unable to revoke citizenship, which as far as I’m concerned is a good thing. In my opinion, there is no reason why a person cannot maintain both allegiance of their former home, and their newly acquired home, providing they aren’t engaging in acts of espionage or sabotage for one at the expense of the other.

  3. Assuming adult age is 18 yrs old in china,
    on nationallty a child birth right shall not be wave
    at less not until they reach adult age
    Every parents shall not deprive their child rights.
    I would make enquiry and make sure the child
    make his own decision when he turn 18.

  4. I would love to hear the rant on getting the citizenship card as I will be heading down that road in a couple months.  It seems like a nightmare and I haven’t even started yet.  I plan on calling the Canadian embassy (not known for being super helpful over the phone) to try to make sure that I at least get the birth certificate written correctly so we won’t have any problems there.  We are in Xi’An so not exactly a hotbed of Canadians having kids.  Anyways, interesting to read your experience and please do share on the citizenship card!

    • Hey Cam — ask and you shall receive 🙂 My post on the topic.

      Best of luck with the process. Definitely download and review the application form. It has all the photo details and document requirements. It’s slow, and a bit frustrating, but not overly difficult to do. If both you and your partner are non-Chinese, the time-table for getting it all done does compress quite a bit though.

  5. Pingback: Getting Canadian Citizenship in China | Ryan McLaughlin

  6. Thanks Ryan!
    My wife is Chinese as well so theoretically the process should be the same as what you did.  The problem here is the embassy is in Beijing and I am in Xi’An so I need to fly or take a long train ride there every time I go.  You put my mind at ease a bit saying it was easier than getting visas for your wife – I’ve done that 2 times successfully!  I have taken a look at the application form and the annoying part is it looks like it is designed for a person to fill out themselves when they are an adult.  Anyways, i’ll work through it with the embassy.  I’m actually pre-planning, kid won’t get here until early January.  
    Thanks for your help, I appreciate it!

  7. another question: this one time entry-exit permit that will be given to mixed blood children means in fact that they are allowed to leave China, not necessarily allowed to enter another country.
    For intstance I am Belgian, my wife is Chinese so when we went to Belgium we used his permit to leave China and his Belgian passport to enter Belgium. Now what happens if we go on  holiday to Japan for instance, do we still need a Japanese visa in his Belgian passport to enter Japan? (a one time entry-exit permit to leave China and a Japanese visa in his Belgian passport to enter Japan?)

    • Hi Svenagten, if I understand your question correctly — yes, of course you’ll need a Japanese visa (assuming Japan requires a visa for Belgian nationals). Travelling on a Belgian passport and to Japan takes the “China” out of the equation. The entry-exit permit is simply to get out of China.

  8. Came across your site just because I am now on the same road.

    What did you need to provide for applying for the exit permit? Did you have to apply with both parents in-person?

    Also for the passport photo taken in China, did you have any difficulty? Did you have the store address written in English at the back of the photo?

    • Sorry for the late response. We didn’t both need to be there to apply for the exit permit. In fact, I believe there is an option for neither parent to be there, as I remember the wife saying her mother could go and do it.

      The rules for passport photos seems always a bit in flux. I can’t remember off-hand what we did for the passport, but I know for our recent citizenship application we simply needed to put the date and the shop’s name (in pinyin I think) on the back.

  9. Sure wish I had seen this two weeks ago. Was traveling alone back to Canada with my five month old son and was denied exit. Had already flown to Guangzhou, and they couldn’t explain to me what was going on, they just surrounded me with police and told me I wasn’t allowed to go. It was terrifying. They also wouldn’t help me get back to my hometown, or tell me where my connecting luggage was or anything. I was stranded there with a five month old, no money, and no way home to Canada or my home in China. I just sat on the airport floor and cried. $2000 dollars later, I was back in Dalian with a travel document and a new flight to Canada booked for tomorrow. Fingers crossed all goes well this time.

    • Man, sorry to hear it. Can’t begin to imagine how stressful that would be — and with a baby as well. Glad it, if rather expensively, all worked out. Safe trip home Becky.

  10. Hi
    we have been reading through all the above and many other pages
    what baffels me is the process
    i am a indian and my wife is a chinese national we both live in tanzania 🙂 now to make it even intresting we have a new born baby and we decided that it will be bettre for him to have a chinese passport rather than indian as he will automaticaly get a poi card as his father ” me ” is indian

    dose any one here know the process for this

    warmly appriciate any help


  11. Hi Ryan,

    My wife recently gave birth to a baby boy. I had some questions and hope you can help me answer them.

    My wife is Chinese and I am a foreign National, with a resident permit in China. We both live in China, and our baby is born here too.

    I have received different advises from different people. I wish to get my child a Foreign Passport.

    1) I heard that I would first have to renounce his Chinese citizenship (any child born in China to atleast one Chinese parent automatically acquires Chinese Citizenship), before I could apply for a resident visa from my child on his Foreign Passport. Is this true? I have heard that the renunciation process is very complicated and time consuming.

    2) According to another lawyer, I do not need to renounce my child’s Chinese citizenship, but just apply for a foreign name on his birth Certificate. Then I must go to the PSB office to register his birth. Then I must apply for his foreign passport. After I get the Foreign Passport, I can apply for a resident Visa on his new passport. According to this lawyer, I will not have to exit china in order to validate his Passport or Visa. Can you tell me if this is true?

    Any help would be appreciated.


    • Hi Navin — I’ll start by saying I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. All I can comment on is what our experience was. Basically, so long as the child is Chinese, he will not be able to get a visa to live in China, as he is Chinese and thus doesn’t need one. The only way to get a visa is to renounce his Chinese citizenship, and then apply for a visa as a foreign national with his foreign passport. This is what we did for our first child. And yes, it was a long and complicated process (took about 18 months, required trips to my wife’s hometown for her hukou, etc.). It is my understanding that some places will not even do this, so it may not be possible.

      It’s not needed though. Assuming your country of citizenship allows your son to have dual citizenship, and does not require he renounce his Chinese citizenship to obtain citizenship, then just get the citizenship for the foreign country and the passport. All of that is outside of what China knows or cares about. He’s still Chinese according to them, and will remain so. Because of this, he will require a special permit (blue book called “People’s Republic of China Exit and Entry Permit” – photo) issued by the PSB for travel abroad. When he leaves China he’ll use this book like a passport (but it isn’t a passport), and then use his foreign passport to travel on (and enter/exit your home country), and then use this permit again to re-enter China. As far as I know, they are only valid for 3 month periods, so I am not sure what you would do if you traveled outside of China for more than 3 months (or past the expiry of the permit) — perhaps a new one could be issued at an embassy or consulate abroad, I’m not sure.

      • Dear Ryan,

        Thank you very much for your reply. I will shortly begin the process and will let you know if any updates. Regarding the entry/exit permit book, I had one question. You mentioned that He can exit china with that book, are re-enter china. But he will have to use his foreign passport to enter his home country. However, what if he wants to travel to a 3rd country, how will that work. We he have to apply a visa for the 3rd country from and embassy in china. Will that country’s embassy even issue a visa on his foreign passport?

        Thanks for your help and advice.

  12. Hi Ryan, thanks for all the work. Very informative and helpful, but I have to give some bad news for people living in Zhuhai. I just moved from Shanghai to Zhuhai and thy to renew my and my son’s residence permit. My wife is Chinese and my son has a foreign passport. We went through all the procedures as described 6 years ago and he has lived in China with us on annual residence permits issued EEB in Shanghai. Now Zhuhai approved my residence permit, but rejected my son’s arguing that he is Chinese, even so all permits, a foreign birth certificate and so on, they say it’s their decision as his mother is Chinese. Residence permits issued in other provinces than Guangdong aren’t considered here. I told the lady that my son need the visa else he can’t go to school as he has no Hukou record and international schools are require foreign passport and valid visa. Don’t know what to do now as visa runs out this month. Any advise? Thanks

    • Hi Mario, I, will, be facing a similar situation soon. My child holds a foreign passport and he hasn’t registered on my wife’s hukou. He only has an entry and exit permit to leave and re enter china. He does not have a Chinese visa on his foreign passport. I wanted to check with you if you were able to o solve the issue of enrolling your child to an international school without a valid visa. Any information would be helpful. Thanks

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