I was born and raised in Europe, and I live in a European country. But I do possess a dual citizenship (with a Hong Kong ID card and Chinese return home permit). I plan on going to China for a month this summer for a scholarship. Will I need to get a visa or will my Chinese return home permit suffice? Do I need to be careful with anything?

  • Are you going to the mainland? You definitely can't get a visa as a Chinese citizen, but the document requirements do depend on where you're going
    – Crazydre
    Jun 6, 2018 at 16:56
  • @Coke Hi, yes I am going to mainland China. Are you sure I can't get a visa? I've been told I can either go enter with visa or with my return home permit. But if I choose to enter with my return home permit, I will be classified as a Chinese citizen and law will apply to me as such. If I enter with a visa, I am regarded as a foreigner instead. My issue is just that I don't know all the details this permit grants me or limits me to.
    – Babyburger
    Jun 6, 2018 at 20:11
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    China doesn't recognise dual citizenship at all. So you must enter as a Chinese. If your citizenship wasn't derived from Hong Kong, however, you'd in fact no longer be a Chinese citizen and would Need a visa.
    – Crazydre
    Jun 6, 2018 at 20:15
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    @Babyburger I don't know Chinese law, but most countries' laws do not make any distinction based on the document used to enter the country, at least for most purposes. A UK citizen who enters the UK with a foreign passport and visa is still a UK citizen and would not be "regarded as a foreigner" except to the extent that the UK citizenship is not revealed.
    – phoog
    Jun 6, 2018 at 21:24

3 Answers 3


No, you can NOT enter the mainland of China as a foreigner if you are a Chinese citizen. Chinese nationality law is complicated because it applies differently in the mainland and in HK/Macao. I'll try to explain.

The 1980 Nationality Law applies in every part of PRC, and dual nationality is de jure forbidden in the PRC. If you are a Chinese citizen born with dual nationality, you must renounce your other citizenship (or Chinese citizenship) when you reach the age of 18.

However, since you are born to a PRC citizen who happens also to be a Hong Kong permanent resident, the law applies differently to you. The enforcement agencies in the mainland and HK interpret the law differently. In practice, Hong Kong permanent residents with dual nationality are not stripped of their Chinese citizenship unless they personally request so. So, while no one will ask you to renounce your other citizenship, your dual nationality will not be recognized in China.

By HK Immigration Department regulations, you CAN enter Hong Kong as a foreigner, and you will be treated as a visitor. If you do anything other than hanging out, though, you need to enter as a permanent resident.

If you want to enter the mainland, though, you must use your Home Return Permit because you are a Chinese citizen. No exceptions. Well, if you can cover up the fact that you are actually a PRC citizen, you might be OK getting a visa. But then if they find out you're a Chinese citizen I don't know what will happen to you. Chances are that, since you have a Home Return Card, they already have your name somewhere on their database.

So, the answer is: you should enter with your HKSAR passport and Home Return Permit.

But another note here. Not all HK permanent residents are Chinese citizens. Technically only those Chinese citizens should get Home Return Permits, but this does not seem to be the actual practice. So, you might actually not be a Chinese citizen, but your Home Return Permit should always suffice.

  • 1
    "So, the answer is: you should enter with your HKSAR passport and Home Return Permit." Wrong, ONLY the Home return Permit. The HKSAR passport is useless, and not accepted for entry by the PRC except for TWOV.
    – Crazydre
    Jun 7, 2018 at 14:37
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    @Coke No, it is not required for entry. But it is usually necessary for flight check-in, I believe. So in any case OP the should bring it. Also it is not unheard of for Chinese immigration officers to request extra identification from HK residents, especially if they're not in a very good mood/not familiar with their job, etc.
    – xuq01
    Jun 8, 2018 at 5:54
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    "But it is usually necessary for flight check-in" Wrong again. Check-in staff uses the TIMATIC database, and this is exactly what I referred to in my answer. It says clearly HK passports are not usable other than for TWOV
    – Crazydre
    Jun 8, 2018 at 9:48
  • @xuq01 Thanks for the detailed answer! The law seems quite complicated in my case. I already thought of bringing along my HK ID card with me anyway. It won't do me any harm anyway right? Worst case scenario I brought it with me for nothing. I was just worried I needed something else besides the return home permit. I received information that I need to fill in some documents or something within 24 hours upon arrival in Mainland China. With a bit of luck I can find someone at the airport that speaks fluent English. :)
    – Babyburger
    Jun 8, 2018 at 21:34
  • @Babyburger Of course there's no harm in bringing your HKID (for example you may want to visit HK), but it won't be relevant at mainland Chinese immigration.
    – Crazydre
    Jun 8, 2018 at 23:44

Per TIMATIC, the database used by airlines, you need either an Exit & Entry permit, Chinese Travel Document or Mainland Travel Permit for Hong Kong and Macao Residents to enter mainland China


Your Home Return Permit (officially the Mainland Travel Permit for Hong Kong and Macao Residents) will suffice to enter Mainland China.

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