My Chinese wife, my two children (Schengen country nationals) and myself (also Schengen country nationals) are travelling to China soon. Applying for a Chinese visa is a rather expensive: for the three of us, the cost would almost amount to 375 euro.

It seems there is also the option of a Chinese Travel document (for the kids) which seems more affordable.

I am just wondering if I should be afraid my children will be considered Chinese nationals by the PRC authorities. Have there been any negative precedents ?

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    What was your wife’s residency status when your children were born? Possible related question travel.stackexchange.com/questions/134607/… – Traveller Dec 4 '19 at 20:49
  • By "Chinese Travel permit", do you mean China's visa-free transit policy? If yes, which Shengen country are you from? Liechtenstein and Norway are Schengen members but China does not offer visa-free transit to citizens of these 2 countries. – Ronan Boiteau Dec 4 '19 at 22:07
  • They must be considered Chinese nationals to be able to obtain the travel documents? – Mikael Dúi Bolinder Dec 5 '19 at 20:01

In principle, your children are either automatically Chinese citizens at birth or not, as a matter of law, and there is no "option" (other than to renounce Chinese nationality if they have it). In principle, if they are Chinese citizens with dual nationality, they cannot get Chinese visas, and the Chinese consulate will issue them Chinese Travel Documents, which are passport-like booklets in which it says the bearer is a citizen of the PRC, valid for 2 years. If they are not Chinese citizens, the Chinese consulate will issue them Chinese visas, and they cannot get Chinese Travel Documents.

According to Article 5 of the PRC nationality law, the children born abroad are Chinese citizens at birth if at least one parent is a Chinese citizen at the time of their birth, unless at least one parent is a Chinese citizen who has "settled abroad, and the children have foreign nationality at birth. At least one parent (your wife) was a Chinese citizen at the time of their birth, and they do have foreign nationality at birth, so it hinges on the condition of whether there is a parent who is a Chinese citizen who has "settled abroad". Your wife is the only Chinese citizen parent, so it depends on whether she has "settled abroad", which has been interpreted by the Chinese government as having foreign permanent residency. If your wife had foreign permanent resident status at the time of the child's birth, the child would not be a Chinese citizen, but if she didn't, the child would be a Chinese citizen (and would continue to be one even if your wife obtained foreign permanent residency or even foreign citizenship after the child's birth). You have not provided enough information to determine whether this is the case.

  • She has long-term but not permant residence, so I think my children would qualify for the Chinese Travel Document. Just wondering if there are any potential adverse consequences. My daughter has travelled with her passport and a normal Chinese visa before. I guess she could still get the Chinese Travel Document regardless, right? – Paul Praet Dec 5 '19 at 19:24
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    Maybe a naive question, but if they are in fact Chinese citizens, what would be the benefit in getting a two-year Travel Document, instead of a regular Chinese passport which presumably is valid for longer? Does it cost less, or is there some other advantage? – Nate Eldredge Dec 5 '19 at 20:50
  • @NateEldredge: I believe that PRC consulates have a policy of issuing Chinese Travel Documents instead of regular PRC passports to children with dual nationality. The officers at the border when leaving China know this, and they are fine with someone leaving with a Chinese Travel Document and a foreign passport, but not okay with someone leaving with a PRC passport and a foreign passport. – user102008 Dec 5 '19 at 23:05
  • @PaulPraet: Well, the previous visas could have been issued in error, or maybe they had you renounce the children's Chinese nationality when applying for the visa. It does make it tricky for you to apply for a Chinese Travel Document now even if it is correct. – user102008 Dec 5 '19 at 23:09
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    @PaulPraet: The disadvantages include needing to bring the child in person to apply for a Chinese Travel Document instead of being able to have an agency apply for a visa for you; the Travel Document only being valid for 2 years, whereas Chinese visas for some nationalities are valid for longer; and the children will not have consular protection while in China. While the advantages are that as Chinese citizens, they can stay for as long as they want in China, and can be added to your wife's hukou if you guys want. – user102008 Dec 5 '19 at 23:09

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