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I've recently changed my citizenship from Chinese to Canadian and I'm planning a short visit to China soon.

Is it possible to enter China with my existing Chinese passport (not expired yet) and then return to Canada with my new Canadian passport.

This becomes complicated since China does not recognize dual-citizenship. So do I need to get a China visa? Any input would be appreciated!

55

No, this would be illegal. Voluntarily naturalizing in another country results in automatic loss of Chinese citizenship. You need to contact your local Chinese embassy and obtain the proper visa.

The question mentioned by Traveller provides an overview of how you might or might not get caught trying to sneak back into China with an invalid passport. Don't risk it unless you enjoy the thought of doing time in a Chinese prison, and then being deported or removed.

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    -1 because OP clearly already knows that in China this is illegal and because there is no reference for the claim that one would get prison time for this. One could also ask: "I have been to Israel and got my passport stamped and I want to visit Iran. How can I do it?" If someone answered, "This is illegal in Iran, do not do it. You gave up that right when you visited Israel.", that answer would be downvoted immediately. – Szabolcs Mar 25 at 10:27
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    @Szabolcs It's not clear that OP knows that it is illegal. They have a passport that is valid on the surface. You need to look at the exact law to determine exactly when your Chinese citizenship is revoked. Maybe there's a period of transition. – pipe Mar 25 at 13:17
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    @Szabolcs Considering that they ask "Do I need a visa?" I'm not convinced the OP already knows it's illegal for them to visit China without one. – Dmitry Grigoryev Mar 25 at 13:33
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    "No, you cannot do it" is a perfectly reasonable answer to many questions across many se sites. – vsz Mar 25 at 14:24
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    iirc, when OP goes to the consulate to request the visa, the original Chinese passport must be submitted with the rest of the necessary documentation. Said Chinese passport will be returned, but with a hole punched through it or in some other way defaced to it can no longer be used as an official travel document – NKCampbell Mar 25 at 18:28
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As Robert Columbia mentioned, voluntarily naturalizing in a foreign country results in automatic loss of Chinese (PRC) citizenship (but not ROC nationality; I'll assume you are talking about the PRC), assuming you are not a resident of Hong Kong or Macau. Since you are no longer a Chinese citizen, you can no longer use your Chinese passport as proof of Chinese citizenship to enter China, even if the passport is unexpired. You must get a Chinese visa to visit China, and usually when you apply for your first Chinese visa, the Chinese consulate will ask for and cancel your Chinese passport.

If you still use your Chinese passport to enter China, you are pretending to be a Chinese citizen when you aren't. Although it probably won't be noticed when you go into China, you will have trouble leaving China. You said you will "return to Canada with my new Canadian passport", but China also has exit checks, so what passport will you use at Chinese exit checks? If you use your Canadian passport, it won't match any entry records since you did not enter China on that passport. If you use your Chinese passport, the Chinese exit checks will ask what document you will enter Canada with, since a Chinese passport is not visa-exempt to Canada. Presumably the only document you can show that will allow you to enter Canada is your Canadian passport, and if you show that, they will investigate how you acquired Canadian citizenship and whether you had already lost Chinese citizenship.

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    A workaround some people use is to depart via Hong Kong. One can go to Hong Kong legally from mainland China, and then take the flight from there using their foreign passport. They count on the HK customs not sharing information with the mainland authorities, which is usually the case. Needless to say this is still illegal and I don't think it's a smart or right thing to do. Also AFAIK there was a crackdown recently where people were forced to hand in their Chinese passport. I just wanted to mention it here as an actual example of how some people managed to do it. – xji Mar 24 at 23:26
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    @xji wouldn't it be possible to travel via some third country? Indonesia looks suitable. The whole idea seems too risky, though. – IMil Mar 25 at 6:14
  • Usually Singapore is used for these type of transfers. – mega_creamery Apr 5 at 16:04
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There was an article about a year ago in the South China Morning Post regarding people who attempt to benefit from Chinese citizenship when they are no longer entitled.

The government says they will confiscate the documents and deny entry. They've also clawed back some benefits that people have taken advantage of, including seizing a house (the house was provided in compensation for a relocation that foreigners were not entitled to). Other benefits such as schooling at local schools will also be denied, and use of the Chinese health care system as a citizen, tax breaks, easier ability to buy property and so on.

They've noticeably tightened up on information-gathering from entrants over the past couple of years and now collect fingerprints from foreigners at every entry and ask a great number of questions to qualify for a visa. If they have any competence in aggregating and correlating all this data with relatives and so on who have moved abroad they may know more than you think. Apparently they've cancelled the documents of more than a million people in a single year.

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nope, that would be illegal, there's no treaty between china and canada about dual citizenship and even if there is, once you become a new citizen of another country you are revoking your old citizenship then you must reapply for it only there is agreement between the two countries, unfortunately for china they do not have such thing.

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    It is not universal that acquiring a second citizenship causes the loss of your first. – Azor Ahai Mar 25 at 19:36
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    China doesn't recognize dual citizenship with any country, no only Canada. – Pedro Lobito Mar 25 at 23:38
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    Citizenship isn't a matter of treaty- it's determined solely by the country involved. In general countries are relatively generous to confer residency (because of taxation and reciprocity) but stingy with citizenship (because it obligates the goverment). Note that the US is pretty much alone in basing taxation in good part on citizenship.There are also some UN initiatives to deal with statelessness, but I don't believe they're widely signed onto at this time. For example this 1961 convention. – Spehro Pefhany Mar 26 at 13:47

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