Photo from South China Morning Post
China is upgrading the Foreign Permanent Residence ID Card (also known as Green Card) starting from 16th June 2017.
Existing green card holders can apply immediately for the new card, which will take approximately twenty days to process. Alternatively they can opt to use the existing card until its expiry date, and then get a new card.
The new green cards, which are based on the Chinese citizens new generation identity cards, will have greater benefits for the holders, because they will contain chips embedded with the holder’s information such as name, date of birth, gender etc.
Unlike the old cards, the new version will be machine readable, allowing the holder to access new services including telecoms, finance and transportation. Currently the green card holders still have to carry their passports with them for further identification.
Some of the benefits associated with the green card is holders can use it as a proof of identity to conduct business where ID is required at the counter.
Another aspect of holding a green card is the ability to work in China without applying for a separate work permit.
Since its inception in 2004 only around 10,000 green cards have been issued to foreigners, probably due to the application process being complicated and lengthy.
South China Morning Post