I need to renew my Chinese work permit in China (Tianjin) soon. When renewing the work permit, the office (Entry Exit Bureau) holds your passport for about a week, and give you a slip of paper which you give back to them to get the passport (see below). The slip has your photo, some personal details, and the date when to collect your passport.

I might encounter a problem where I need to travel (return Tianjin to Shanghai) during this period (when I have the slip, not the passport). I'm happy to take either a plane or train.

Question: Is domestic travel in China possible without a passport during the process of renewing a work permit?

A Reddit post writes: "When you hand in your passport you should be able to ask for a receipt/certificate. This document allows you to travel in China. At least that's how it works for visa renewal." (link) But I don't know how trustworthy it is.

Edit: I was able to organize the new work permit after travelling to Shanghai, but for future reference, here's a copy of the slip I was referring to:

enter image description here


2 Answers 2


From personal experience: yes it is possible, and it was surprisingly easy.

I was in a similar situation (getting a residence permit for studies) back in 2012 and issuance of my residence permit overlapped right with the Golden week and I was not going to sit around on my own for that period. So I got the receipt slip (I recall vividly what an incredibly flimsy piece of paper it was, have something to store it well so it does not tear) and I don't remember now whether I had to get some extra stamps and my picture attached since I wanted to use it for travel, so to be on the safe side, absolutely do.
It all worked out surprisingly well and never was that sheet of paper questioned by anyone but myself during that trip, which included

  • a domestic flight
  • a long-distance train ride in a sleeper
  • plenty of other bus / minitaxi rides
  • registration in a hotel, a hostel and a guesthouse

all of which in provinces far from the post that issued me the receipt.

The pic below gives a bit of an impression, the large white space on the lower right was where my picture was stapled on and stamped. The whole thing was not larger than two hands. Collection was possible at least two weeks after the "received on"-date while the expiration date actually represented the expiration of my applied-for residence permit, not the receipt. enter image description here

Regarding the link you cite, I have two comments:

  • as some there point out, I think it is advisable to say that you need to travel and thus need a receipt with your photo attached, as otherwise you might get one without the picture which does not allow traveling.
  • one person reports that they needed to go to the police station for registering with the hotel. This does not match my experience and the places I stayed were far off the beaten track (as in not even in the Lonely Planet guidebook or hotels seeing max 1 foreigner per week).

Edit: In a comment, user BD. confirms having flown with such a receipt multiple times and as recently as 2017.

  • 1
    I also wonder where/what Chris inquired about exactly. I've flown with the receipt multiple times. Last one was this year.
    – tellarin
    May 22, 2017 at 10:04

I inquired about this today. You need your original passport to fly domestically. Trains will allow you to travel with the visa application receipt with the picture. But, of course, the Chinese laws are constantly changing (as the visa process changes again next week), so be prepared for anything.

  • 2
    Where did you inquire about this? I have flown domestically with such a receipt and without the passport in 2012 and it was no problem.
    – mts
    Mar 21, 2017 at 6:53

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