My daughter has one Chinese parent, and one parent from an other country (A). She was born outside of China. At birth she acquired citizenship of country A, and she has an A passport. How can she travel with us to China (P.R.C)?


4 Answers 4


China will not issue a visa to a child with a Chinese national parent, as the child is considered to be a Chinese national. China does not allow dual citizenship, and will not issue a full Chinese passport either.

You should apply for a Chinese Travel Document, which looks similar to a passport and will allow the child to enter and exit China. It is valid for two years. After that you may be able to renew it, or China may demand that one of the nationalities is renounced. You can apply for it in the same places where Chinese nationals abroad apply to renew their passports. She will still need her other passport to enter countries other than China.

  • 5
    That sounds rather draconian. Are we saying then that, possibly, a non-Chinese individual with one Chinese parent may only ever be able to visit China for a single two-year period and then will never again be allowed to visit China, unless they renounce their actual nationality?! Sep 27, 2016 at 22:21
  • 5
    @LightnessRacesinOrbit Or they renounce their Chinese nationality (according to this answer).
    – user253751
    Sep 27, 2016 at 22:55
  • @immibis: Oh, right, yes. That's a little less draconian then :) Sep 27, 2016 at 22:58
  • What you describe seems only to be the case when the parents do not have permanent residence in the country. The answer below seem to be more correct.
    – George Y.
    Sep 27, 2016 at 23:34
  • 1
    The situation in the UK is that we have to go to two different places to get documents to travel to China: my wife and I to the Visa Centre as UK citizens, and my daughter (with us) to the Consulate. In addition, we had difficulty typing in information for our daughter, where the site kept changing her English name to the Chinese version of it. We did not know how to make an appointment to the Consulate. We travelled to London twice, wasting time and money with no result. Sadly, we cancelled out trip. The concept of Travel Document is not working well for our daughter. Feb 28, 2017 at 22:40

If the parents (one Chinese, one not) settle permanently outside China then the child does not acquire Chinese nationality via 'jus sanguinis', so long as they acquire country A's nationality at birth (see this page). So, in this case the child can obtain a visa in the usual way. (However, the situation may be different if the parents have not settled permanently outside China.)

My personal experience: my wife is Chinese, I'm British and we live in the U.K. Our son was born in the U.K., acquired British nationality, and was able to apply for a Chinese visa prior to his first trip to China.

  • Interesting. Does you wife still have a Chinese passport? It may have complicated our case that we live in a third country.
    – napu36
    Sep 28, 2016 at 8:50
  • @napu36 At the time that we first applied for my son's visa, my wife had already become a British citizen, though she was required to submit her Chinese passport with the visa application. I guess your case must be a bit different. I think that, to fully answer this question, we would need input from a lawyer with knowledge in this area of law. Sep 28, 2016 at 9:04

The first issue is whether the child has Chinese (PRC) citizenship. According to Article 5 of the PRC Nationality Law, a child born abroad to at least one Chinese-citizen parent will automatically have Chinese nationality at birth, unless at least one parent was a Chinese citizen who has "settled abroad", and the child has a foreign nationality at birth. In this case, we know that one parent was a Chinese citizen at the time of the child's birth, and the child has a foreign nationality at birth. So it hinges on whether the Chinese-citizen parent has "settled abroad" at the time of the child's birth. The Chinese government interprets "settled abroad" to mean having permanent residency abroad (e.g. a green card). If the Chinese-citizen parent had foreign permanent residency at the time of the child's birth, then the child does not have Chinese citizenship, and would need to get a Chinese visa to visit China.

If the Chinese-citizen parent did not have foreign permanent residency at the time of the child's birth, then the child is a Chinese citizen, and needs to use a Chinese-issued travel document, not a foreign passport, to enter and leave China, as China does not recognize the foreign nationalities of its nationals. The current practice is for Chinese consulates to issue "PRC Travel Documents" to dual-national Chinese children outside China. This is a travel document in booklet form just like a passport, and says on its Notes page "The bearer of this travel document is a citizen of the People's Republic of China." It is valid for 2 years, and can be used to enter and exit China during its period of validity. A new PRC Travel Document can be applied for at any PRC consulate outside China when the old one expires, as many times as needed (until the child is 18, according to reports). If the PRC Travel Document expires or is lost while in China and the person needs to exit China, they would apply for an Entry/Exit Permit to use to exit China, and then get a PRC Travel Document (if desired) at a PRC consulate abroad after they get abroad.

(It is unclear why PRC consulates do not just issue regular PRC passports to these dual-national children; they do issue regular PRC passports to single-national children. Both PRC Travel Documents and PRC passports identify the bearer as a PRC citizen, so there is no difference in that sense. I can see nothing in the PRC passport law that says issuance is affected by the possession of other nationalities. It seems to be just an unofficial unexplained policy. In practice though, there is a difference in usage between the two, as Chinese exit controls will let someone with a PRC Travel Document and a foreign passport leave China with no problems, but they will not let someone with PRC and foreign passports leave (and you would usually need to show the foreign passport as they want to see evidence you can enter the destination). Maybe this is a way of distinguishing "real" dual nationals, who would have a PRC Travel Document, from people who have already lost PRC citizenship by naturalizing abroad and are pretending to be PRC citizens, who would have a PRC passport.)

Complicating the situation a bit is that starting in 2015, there have been anecdotal reports that a few (but not all) Chinese consulates in the US have been refusing Chinese Travel Documents to dual-national children who have lived abroad for over a certain amount of time (like 18 months). There have been conflicting reports of this, sometimes describing the situation shifting back and forth by month at the same consulate. Because the situation is somewhat unclear, if your child is a dual national, you might want to fill out both a visa application and a Chinese Travel Document application just in case.

  • I am an Indian, have a Chinese wife, but we live in Norway. Now, Norway does not give citizenship on the basis of birth, so we are quite confused what would happen to our child. Norway will not give its citizenship; and China, will it also not give it, because my wife is "settled abroad"? (She is still a Chinese citizen.) I don't want the child to keep applying for a Chinese visa every time we visit China, so I hope we can get a Chinese passport for our child. Thanks in advance for replies!
    – greatbears
    Apr 22, 2017 at 7:53
  • @greatbears: Well, Article 5 says a child born abroad to at least one Chinese citizen parent is a Chinese citizen at birth unless at least one parent is a Chinese citizen who has "settled abroad", and the child has a foreign nationality at birth. In this case the child has a parent who is a Chinese citizen who has "settled abroad", so the question is does the child have a foreign nationality at birth. (If yes, then no Chinese nationality; if no, the the child automatically has Chinese nationality at birth.)
    – user102008
    Apr 22, 2017 at 21:07
  • @greatbears: The child does not have Norwegian nationality. But according to Indian nationality law, a child born abroad to an Indian citizen will be an Indian citizen at birth if registered at an Indian consulate within 1 year of birth, with the parent declaring that the child does not hold the passport of another country. So it's somewhat complicated, because it seems like whether the child has Chinese nationality depends on whether you register the child at the Indian consulate or not.
    – user102008
    Apr 22, 2017 at 21:09
  • @greatbears: I am not sure the Chinese consulate goes that deep though; they may just see that the child does not have Norwegian nationality and automatically assume that the child does not have a foreign nationality. You will have to try and see.
    – user102008
    Apr 22, 2017 at 21:09
  • Thanks everyone; I do not plan for Indian nationality, as with the OCI card, the child will not have a problem visiting India. He cannot have Norwegian nationality anyway. I hope Chinese nationality is not a problem in such a case.
    – greatbears
    Apr 24, 2017 at 4:03

Me and wife are both Chinese with permanent residence in the UK but not UK citizen. Our daughter was born in Apr 2015 in the UK and she isn't allowed to be a Chinese national. So she is British and travels with Chinese visa on her UK passport.

However, this is a recent change. Before Apr 2015, children born in the UK to Chinese parents with permanent residence (but not naturalised) are allowed (by the Chinese government) to be Chinese (and if you so choose, they can't be British).

So the situation is not clear. It's best to call the embassy to find out.

  • There was no change. It doesn't make sense to say "they can't be British" because according to British nationality law (since 1983), a child born in the UK to a parent who was "settled" (has permanent residence) is automatically and involuntarily a British citizen at birth. And according to Chinese nationality law (since 1980), such a child would not be a Chinese citizen because they had a parent who was a Chinese citizen with foreign permanent residence, and the child had foreign nationality at birth.
    – user102008
    Oct 3, 2016 at 20:18
  • A situation in which a child born in the UK would have both British and Chinese citizenship at birth would be if one parent was a British citizen and the other was a Chinese citizen without permanent residency. The child would be a British citizen because they were born in the UK to a British citizen parent. The child would also be a Chinese citizen because they were born to at least one Chinese citizen parent and there was no parent who was a Chinese citizen with foreign permanent residence.
    – user102008
    Oct 3, 2016 at 20:19
  • @user102008 there was no change to the letter of law, but do you know how it is practiced? Before Apr 2015, babies with permanent residence Chinese parents are given the chance to apply for Chinese citizenship if parents fill in the form to revoke British citizenship. And I said they can't be British because if the parents had made the baby Chinese, then the Chinese law of single nationality is in force, so they can't be British.
    – jf328
    Oct 3, 2016 at 20:54
  • But whether someone has British nationality is determined solely by British law. The UK does not allow unmarried children under 18 to renounce British citizenship.
    – user102008
    Oct 3, 2016 at 21:11

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