• PU letter is an invitation letter issued by China Foreign Affairs Office. With the PU letter foreigners can apply for a new visa and enter China. This is a new policy since the global epidemic.
• Only certain specific reasons meet the requirements for applying for a PU Letter, however there are exceptions to these categories. Read on for more information.
• Only companies can apply for the PU Letter for their foreign employees, individuals or any agents cannot apply for PU letter! Agents can only assist the company with the application, but they can’t provide PU letters.
• Let us know your questions or remarks in the comments
People unable to enter China as the Chinese consulate in the country they are currently in doesn’t allow them to apply for the visa – need to obtain a PU Invitation Letter to be able to return.
Who Can Get a PU Letter?
The policies have tightened as the global epidemic worsens.
Now only the following personnel are possible to get a PU letter:
Important employees of large-scale companies.
The core management staff of small or medium-sized enterprises such as the legal representative or CEO, etc. The success rate of this category seems limited.
Senior technical experts and other high-end talents who can bring benefits to China.
If you don’t meet one of these categories, don’t lose hope! There are exceptions to these categories. You should definitely apply if you have special and compelling reasons that might persuade the Foreign Affairs Office.
How to Apply for a PU Letter
Only companies can apply for the PU Letter for their foreign employees, individuals or any agents cannot apply for PU letter!
Companies need to contact the district foreign affairs officer, submit the application materials, and wait for approval.
After the PU letter is issued, the company should send it to the foreign applicant. (Via paper version or E-version)
The foreign applicant then takes it to the Chinese Consulate/Embassy in his/her country to apply for a new visa.
Once the visa has been approved, it is then possible to purchase a ticket to China. It is important that nucleic acid rt-PCR and lgM serum antibody tests (核酸及血清抗体检测) are taken and you must apply for the e-HDC. It is only once these processes are complete that it is then possible for you to board your pre-booked flight to enter China.
As mentioned above, only companies can apply for the PU Letter on behalf of their foreign employees. Agents can only assist the company with the application, but they can’t provide PU letters.
If any individuals or agents promise to get you a PU letter without cooperation from your company, they are definitely lying (watch out for scams) or getting it illegally.
PU Letter Q&A
What is a PU Invitation Letter (邀请函) ?
The PU letter is an invitation letter issued during the epidemic that an inviting entity needs to receive from the relevant Foreign Affairs Office (FAO) in order to allow the invitee to apply for a visa in their respective country outside of China. The PU Invitation is a general invitation in comparison to the TE invitation, which is a special invitation for trade fairs or more high-level business trips.
- The visa location on the PU is a fixed location. Thus, the invitee must determine the visa application location in advance;
- The longest stay of the PU can be anything 88 – 180 days;
- You can add a maximum of 5 dependents to one PU;
- The PU must bear the issuing Stamp to be valid.
How to apply for the PU Letter?
Relevant companies need to apply for it from their local Foreign Affairs website.
What is the general process to apply for the PU Letter?
What do personal affairs mean?
If the purpose of residence permit page states 私人事务 (= private affair), then it’s a residence permit for personal matters.
If my residence permit was issued before March 28th and it is still valid, can I come in without a PU Invitation Letter?
You also need to apply for a new visa to enter China. You should check whether or not the PU Invitation Letter is required, as it all depends on the country’s embassy or consulate.
Do I need to obtain a PU Letter if my residence permit is still valid?
According to the latest policy announced on 23rd September, foreigners who hold a valid residence permit can enter China without additional documents.
Can I apply for a visa directly without a PU Letter for visas issued after March 28th?
European citizens or Green channel countries who have residence DO NOT need PU letters. Other citizens should ask their embassies and consulates for details.
If I am overseas now and do not hold any residence permit or only hold other types of visa, how can I return to China?
First of all, you need to have an employer from a Chinese company, and then apply for a work permit first. After you get the work permit notification letter, you can use it as one of the materials to apply for the PU Invitation letter from the Foreign Affairs Office. After getting the PU Invitation Letter, apply for a Z visa from the Chinese embassy and consulate abroad.
At present, can foreign staff and their family members directly apply for entry visas at Local Chinese embassy or consulate after they receive the notification letter of work permit?
No, they cannot. After obtaining the notification letter of work permit, foreign staff and his family members shall apply for a PU letter from the local competent foreign affairs Administration within China by their working unit. (Except for South Koreans, according to the facilitation measures for personnel exchanges between China and South Korea, South Koreans can apply for such work visa at the local Chinese embassy and consulate without providing PU letters).
If a foreign expat has a valid multiple-entry visa issued by the overseas Chinese embassy, can he directly use it to enter China?
No, he cannot. This “Multiple-entry Visa” issued by overseas Chinese embassy is different from “residence permit”. “Residence permit” is a kind of residence certificate with multiple entries issued by the local exit and entry administration in China after foreign expat entering China with the relevant visa.
Can I apply for the work permit notification letter and the PU Letter at the same time?
Yes, you can. But the Foreign Affairs office will only start processing the PU Invitation Letter after the visa office has received the work permit notification letter. But before submitting the documents, you should submit the online application first.
Is there an urgent service?
If you need urgent service, please inform the visa officer when submitting your visa. As long as you have a valid reason, the visa officer will usually be able to meet your requirements, but this will require you to pay an additional fee at the time of collection.
I am currently holding an invitation letter (PU) or (TE), and I would like to apply for a type of M or Z visa to access mainland China. Is it therefore possible for me to use the letter to apply for visas for my spouse and children together?
No this is not possible. Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, visa applications for any accompanying persons have been suspended until further notice.
Which documents do I need for the application process?
An application in writing by employer (template provided by the FAO)
1) An application in writing by employer (template provided by the FAO)
2) The application form (template provided by the FAO)
3) Information Form (template provided by the FAO):
a) Inviting Entity’s Name (Chinese), Physical Address, Contact name / contact number
b) Applicant name, nationality, passport number, date of birth, visa processing place, job description
c) proposed date of entry:
d) Length of stay: (up to 180 days)
e) Place of visa application: Country + city
f) Place of visit (you will be required to submit an additional approval letter from the district FAO if you are planning to visit other provinces and cities):
- business trade / exchange visit
- family members
4) Inviting Entities Information Background Form (template provided by the FAO)
5) Scanned copy of invitee’s passport information page (valid for more than 6 months) & previous Visa pages in China
6) If foreign family members are invited, submit the family relationship (notarized marriage certificate / birth certificate).
- Details required: name, gender, nationality, passport numbers, visa location, affiliated company and position if applicable.
- Max. 5 dependents on PU Letter. For example, to reunite families with a working party that never left China, the inviting entity (the working party’s organization), can invite the family back through the PU Letter, following the same steps as mentioned above.
- It may possibly help to mention that the working party may need to leave China if not reunited with his family which would cause severe losses to the inviting entity.
- Other compelling reasons may include that the spouse / family member has to look after family in China as the working party has no time to do so or that children need to return to school. After you receive the PU, the overseas Chinese consulate will advise your family member(s) on which visa type to apply for (M / S1 / Q1).
7) If applying for fast track, please indicate in the application and provide closed-loop management scheme.
8) The FAO may request additional documents
The FAO will guide the inviting entity to improve the application materials.
Special Consideration for Documents & Application
Note: the above materials must be signed and sealed by the person in charge of the invitee’s unit.
Moreover, the job description must be stamped by the official seal of invitee’s unit and have the signature of the legal representative.
The inviting entity is the company and inviting unit of the employee’s department / relevant inviting department.
What to pay attention to when applying?
Issues that need attention in the application process include before, during and after the application:
- Before applying for the PU Letter, we should pay attention to whether the company’s tax returns are normal, whether the company has a bad credit record, whether it is in normal operation, etc.
- In the application, we should pay attention to cooperate with the gov departments in a timely manner. If you do not answer the phone or your submission materials are not perfect, this will affect the pass rate. Timely follow-up is very important.
- After applying for the PU Letter, the company will inform you in time and the following will be required: flight information, an acid test report within 3-5 days before departure, detailed travel arrangements. Avoid trouble caused by rushed preparation.
- The visa location on the PU Letter obtained is fixed, this means that you must determine your visa application location in advance. In other words, if you choose to apply in Paris, France, you cannot go to the Chinese Consulate in Germany after you get the PU invitation letter.
Sources: IVisaChina, Anyhelper.
FOREIGN AFFAIRS OFFICES INFO
PLEASE NOTE: the implementation of this new policy currently varies from consulate to consulate. You should confirm with your consulate before submitting a visa application.
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Hi Chengdu Expat team,
Thank you very much for the PU Letter article ! Very helpful !
Allow me one question:
Do you know or are there commercial agency in China ( or provinces ) who can help us with all the paperwork ? We are willing to pay a good fee to get it professional done.
We are a small creative team of 2 Thai and 1 German expat living in Bangkok.
Any advise or Tipp would be very grateful
Thank you in advance
Best from Bangkok
Best you stay in Bangkok
How long it’s take for get a PU letter after apply?
Around 2-4 weeks.
Hello, Can you help to getting PU letter?
We unfortunately cannot, and it is very difficult for any agency at the moment. You’d need the support of your Chinese employer.
Good day, me and my company have checked with 4 law-firms/ visa-processing agency and no one from them knows the law regarding the visa expiration before March 28 2020. Completely insisting that PU letter is not required. Can you share a link reference to the visa expiration rule from a government website before March 28 2020 or any law-firms/ visa processing agency that knows this things. Thank you
Under the section of ‘Application Documents’ part (d) Length of stay- up to 180 days…what does that mean exactly? Does it mean that you have a maximum of 180 days consecutive that you can stay only before you have to leave the mainland and re enter?
I find your article very helpful.
I would like to ask a question please.
I’m overseas and my resident permit expired after March 28. Do I still need the PU Letter to apply for a new visa to re enter China?
Or just a new work permit and presenting the expired resident permit.
I would also like to know the answer to this too
Would like to know the answer to this as well!
I read that South Koreans don’t have to apply for a PU letter. Does this include foreigners living in South Korea as well?
At this moment, only specific foreigners are able to come back to China. PU letters are very hard to obtain, some cities (like Chengdu) don’t even issue them, and you’d need to cooperation of your employer in China.
My husband is Hungarian citizen and I’m Moroccan citizen, my husband is currently working in Shanghai, I obtained a PU letter in order to apply for a visa to join him, but the Chinese embassy rejected my application.
Can you please update if the Zhejiang province is issuing PU and TE letter for spouses? How can we get around the FOA of province not issuing the letter?
Information about 邀请函(PU) (PU) Invitation latter.
I am Spanish citizen, and my family “wife and children” are Chinese citizen all time they live in Sichuan China.
Cause my job I stay in Spain, and each three or four months go back to china, my last china visa still in active Q2 (30-1-2019 to 30-1-2021) used tree times.
But after 2020 September 9th, I got new one Q2 9SEP2020 to 9DEC2020, not used “go back to job”.
Now I need Visa “family reunion visa” to go back to china but they told me the government policy changed again. Now I need 邀请函(PU) (PU) Invitation latter.
The problem is that; I don’t know how I can get it.
I don’t have residence permit.
Hello. If a foreign US citizen needs a medical treatment by a specific doctor in China is there a way for a US citizen to get permission to enter China?
Unfortunately most likely not, though its worth trying.
Hi , If I register a trading Company (WFOE) in Guangzhou now . Could I get a PU invitation leter for myself as the CEO of my own company?
Unfortunately thats very unlikely at this moment..
I have company in china i want pu letter can you help me
Sorry, unfortunately pretty impossible (and we don’t offer this service). At the moment PU letters seems to be only issued to hi-management of big companies (read: Forbes 500), diplomatic staff, very special skilled people or when you’re on a spouse visa. We don’t expect this to be changing soon, sigh!
I do have aa PU letter obtained for us by our partners in China. I need to apply for visa in LA consulate. Here are my questions:
1- Our oartneres have not send us airline tickets yet, I do not have one on hand.
2- I have my valid US passport, pictures, will pay the processing fee. What other documents do I need to bring with me?.
3- Do I need to make an appointment, or just walk in?
Unfortunately we don’t know about the rules of the LA Consulate, best to contact them directly.
Where do our contacts in Guangzhou obtain the PU letter? From the foreign affairs office in Guangzhou? Is it on their website? Is it a form or should it be drafted by our suppliers in Guangzhou? Thank you so much!
If one is currently in mainland on a valid student visa is applying for a work visa in Macau, is a PU letter necessary since person has been in China.
Foreigners can go to Macau, though need a PU letter to return to mainland.
What if the city I’m going to work in (Chengdu) does not issue PU letters? What do I do?
The city I am going to work in (Chengdu) does not issue PU letters. What should I do?
Unfortunately at this moment can only wait and hope policies will loosen up.
Hi, i am from Italy and i have been working and living in China for the last 16 years.
My spouse is from China, and we are currently in Italy.
We want to go back to China on May, but there is a lot of uncertainty at the moment about policies.
The chinese consulate in Milan replied to me that family visas are now suspended.
Is it possible? That seems very strange to me.
Second point, i could try to apply for a PU letter through the company i work for, which is a new born WFOE in Shenzhen, which still need to be managed and everything is still pending because of Covid (company was registered on August 2020). I read that is very difficult now to get a PU letter, can you suggest me the best way for me to go back to China?
Hi. It seems Shenzhen stopped issuing PU letters last week, and even if they would, its very limited (basically only for Forbes 500 or diplomatic staff). Some positive signs of things slowly changing (but also almost impossible, though Italy is included): https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/Ga78JBR5duPFMPY_krXm1w.
thanks for your update!
Hi, I am working in a Pharmaceuticals Company in Bangladesh. I want to visit CPHI exhibition in China in the month of July 2021. Our counter part business partner company in China can’t process invitation for us. How can I get visa.
Sadly to say, that won’t be possible, accept when you have the Chinese vaccine (even then, still got compulsory 2 weeks quarantine paid by your side). More information via https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/ceqojvo-srC_EW8Az0KEJg
Hi, firstly I would like to thank for all the information you put here. I am a brazilian citizen living in Germany and the chinese Embassy asked me a PU Letter in order to process my business visa application. My friend lives in Shenzhen and doesn’t know how she could do it. Would you have any hints? Thanks
She has to contact the Shenzhen FAO (for Shenzhen this would be ‘Guangzhou’ in one of the images). Unfortunately the chances of obtaining a PU letter are extremely low at the moment (or only for high level management of big companies). Good luck!
My company is a fortune 500 company and they want to send me to China for a permanent position. If i am from Malaysia, will it be easy to get a PU?
We can only speculate, will depend on various factors like your position in the company, destination, timing, etc. Your company’s HR should help you with PU letter.
Hello, I want to apply for the Chinese visa in order to complete a sabbatical leave in one of Chinese universities. How can I get the PU letter?
That’s very hard at the moment (please read the post how to apply for one), you currently would need a PU letter or being inoculated with a Chinese vaccine (both almost impossible). Moreover, still got 14 days quarantine in China, paid from your side.
For those Americans who have been inoculated with sinovac, how does the process change?
Are other visas then open to apply for as well, such as student or business?
Hi there. Do you know if the Jiangsu province is allowing dependents on the PU letter?
Is Chengdu issuing PU letters currently?
Hi, I am working at Shanghai company. My wife and I have took chinese vaccinee, but my baby 4months cannot get covid19 vaccinee. My WP are still active, RP has expired. I will apply visa with Chinese vaccinee certificate, Do you know how to invite my baby back to China without vaccinee certificate? Do you know the newest policy of PU letter ?
Hi, can u advise if PU letter mentioning wife and child name then possible to get china visa
My PU letter stated that i need bring it to the china embassy for visa application. However, the embassy is closed. Can the PU still be use at a china consulate available in the country?
Hi, does china allow foreigners family to join them? I got the PU letter for myself and I also got the PU letter for my family few days ago.does that mean the china consulate in my country should approve my family’s visa or they have the rights to turn it down?
Pls kindly let me know ya.
Unfortunately most likely they don’t allow family reunion at the moment.
Hey, thanks for the information!
I passed interviews for embassy of my country in china.
how does the process work, diplomats also required to submit PU letter to apply for visa is it different than being recruited by a company ?
is the pu letter issued by district officials?
Can I invite my family, I am postdoctoral researcher in university