bèichákǎ, Police registration, residency registration in Tianjin

bèichákǎ, Police registration, residency registration in Tianjin
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make a summary of all you need to know about police registration in Tianjin. The terms police registration, bèichákǎ, residency registration refers all to the same administrative process.


do’s and don’ts in Tianjin 

Tianjinexpats.com has received a lot of questions about police registration in Tianjin, we will try in this article to make a summary of all you need to know about police registration in Tianjin. The terms police registration, bèichákǎ, residency registration refers all to the same administrative process.

What is it?

a proof of your residence

bèichákǎ refers to the official paper issued as a proof of an electronic registration of one foreign citizen, at one specific address, for a specified time period in a specific local police station.
While people renting an apartment have to do it at their local police station in person, people living in hotels, youth hostels, serviced apartments and university dormitories don’t need to go to police station. The registration will be done on their behalf by their host, and they won’t get any registration paper proof. They can ask for a 住宿证明, zhùsùzhèngmíng when asked by the authorities (ie visa renewal, passport renewal, police checks).

How much does it cost?

it's free

The most debated issue about bèichákǎ in the foreigner community.

The police registration and bèichákǎ are free. But you need to legally rent an apartment, legally renting a place means that your landlord shall pay taxes on it’s rental income (up to 22,5% of the amount of the monthly rent).

In some places, (especially Nankai), police stations are still in charge of collecting taxes on behalf of local tax bureaus. If your landlord didn’t know about that, you may find yourself in an argument about who has to pay taxes. Landlords will argue that “if I was renting to a Chinese citizen, I wouldn’t have to go through that trouble”. While that is a fallacious argument and they are legally bonded to pay rental income taxes, the burden will often fall on the renter, so get ready to be the one to pay taxes on their behalf.

Advice 1: When you are seeking for an apartment, always make it very clear with the agent that you will need a bèichákǎ and won’t pay taxes on behalf of the landlord. But be advised that in doing so, they will include the taxes in the rent. As unfair as it sounds, don’t get pissed off about it, it’s the way it is happens here.

Advice 2: if you don’t have enough money to pay for all your rental agreement taxes, you may register for only a few months. Don’t forget that even if your bèichákǎ doesn’t expire, you won’t be properly registered after these few months anymore.

Advice 3: rent is rent, taxes are only owned on the rental amount, if your rental price includes others fees (management, heating, landlord services fees) you want to have them deducted and have a new agreement of a lesser amount written to reduce the tax burden.

Advice 4: living with roommates is allowed and thus may reduce the amount of the tax burden, but there is a limit about the number of people allowed to live at the same address (depending on the apartment size and number of rooms).

Why do you need it?

multiples reasons

The main reason:

It is required by China law. All foreigners are obligated to register their residency within 24 hours in cities and 72 hours in countryside areas. Not doing it will put you in an illegal position and in case of control you could/will be fined according on how late you are. 

Secondly you will have to present bèichákǎ:

-To the Chinese public security bureau when applying, renewing, transferring, altering your visa.
-To the Chinese labor bureau when applying for a new working permit, or altering your residency information.
-To China mobile and banks, when they suspect your account registered at a fake address.
-To police officers if you get into some police incident, even as a witness.
-To police officers, in case of random home inspection.
-To some embassies, if you want to apply for Chinese resident status, renew passport or add pages to your passport and other embassy services.

Who needs it?


Every foreigner staying in China has be registered at the place where they live. It is required by law, you need to register within 24 hours at the police station of your living place. Within 72 hours in country side areas.

This is written on the back of the yellow immigration card they give you at the airport, by signing the arrival card, you have acknowledged that you will register within 24/72 hours and you are legally bonded to do so.

Who is excepted?


There is no exception, every foreigner citizen (whatever their visa status, marital status, age) shall be registered in a police station. People in a hotel or university dormitory do not have to go to the police station, they are registered on their behalf of their universities and hotel.

Friends and family visiting you, at your place shall go through the process too.

When shall I do it?

after you enter/re-enter China

Every time you enter, or re-enter Chinese territory, you will need to reapply for your police residency. In some cases, your local police station will say to you that you don’t need to re-apply every time, if they say so, and only if they say so then you won’t need to go again. But the rule is when you enter, or re-enter China you will have to go to police station to register within 24/72 hours.

Advice: rules change fast, in the case your police station told you that you do not need to re-register at re-entry, it is safer to give them a phone call anyways and ask every time you re-enter China.

What do I need?

passport, and a legal rent agreement

To get a new police registration the first time you will need to provide:

-foreign passport
-valid visa and currently living in China with a valid entry stamp, please note that some police stations may refuse to issue a bèichákǎ if you are in the process of redoing your visa in an embassy (new visa is not on your new passport, old passport has been cancelled, and PSB is asking for bèichákǎ in order to do visa transfer). Police station will refuse to issue a bèichákǎ for passports where the last entry stamp is older than the last exit stamp.
-present yourself in person
-if somebody is legally leasing you a place:

    -a proper standard rental agreement, any contract with address, square meters and price will do it.

    -your landlords ID, front and back copy

    -your landlords property title copy

  -*some police stations will require the landlord to be present for the first time.

-if you own your property:
               -property title

-if you are on a student visa, some police stations will ask you an authorization from your university to live out of university.

-if you are on a working visa, some police stations may ask a stamped copy of your company’s business license and a stamped acknowledgment of you living here from your company.

Renewing your registration after re-entering will only require your passport, visa and last entry stamp on your presence.

You will be registered in the system until the end of your rental agreement.

How long is it valid?

term of your legal rental

In Tianjin bèichákǎ has a delivery date, but no expiration date. But in some cases, the official agent may ask you to provide a more recent one. Note that even the paper bèichákǎ has no expiration date, your registration will have expired in the system. And a deeper checkup will show it. Police station will register you for the time of your rental agreement or less if you ask them so.

Please note

last tips

-bèichákǎ shall bear a police station red stamp.

-bèichákǎ shall bear your name as is on your passport, (ie: if you have only a Chinese name on your bèichákǎ, you should ask police station to write your English name, and put a stamp on it )

-bèichákǎ shall bear your exact address.

-bèichákǎ shall bear your passport number.

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