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16 Measures to Enhance the Experience of Foreigners in Hainan Unveiled with Explanations

Editor's Note: Please be advised that while the 16 measures outlined in this article are designed to enhance the experience of foreigners in Hainan, not all of these measures may be available for immediate implementation. Some are still undergoing development and refinement and how effective they are will depend on how professionally they are implemented!

On the morning of April 18th, a press conference to announce “16 Measures to Facilitate the Work and Life of Foreigners in Hainan” was held in Haikou.

These 16 measures cover multiple aspects including entry and exit clearance, stay and residence, service guidelines, communication services, payment services, medical treatment, legal services, tax declaration, social security participation, professional qualifications, investment, and entrepreneurship. Specific details are as follows (with explanations):

First measure: Offering visa and document services locally.

Foreign nationals residing or staying in Hainan Province now have the option to apply for various types of visas and documents at any exit and entry administration authority of the public security bureaus in Hainan Province authorized to handle such applications.

Explanation: With the entry policies in Hainan becoming increasingly convenient, there has been a notable rise in the number of foreign nationals coming to the province. In response to this trend and to ensure the efficient and seamless movement of foreign nationals in Hainan, the Hainan Provincial Public Security Department, with strong support from national authorities, has introduced measures allowing foreign nationals to apply for visas and documents at nearby locations.

This means they can choose any exit and entry administration authority of the public security bureaus in Hainan Province authorized to process visa and document applications. These authorities are collaborating internally to ensure the smooth processing of visas and documents.

Looking ahead, the Provincial Public Security Department will actively work towards expanding visa and document processing facilities to further streamline the application process for foreign nationals.

Second measure: Introducing online accommodation registration services.

Foreign nationals or their hosts can now register for accommodation online by scanning QR codes with their mobile phones.

Explanation: As per the regulations of the Exit and Entry Administration Law of the People’s Republic of China, foreigners residing outside of hotels are required to register with the local public security authorities within 24 hours of check-in, either by themselves or through their hosts.

To streamline this process for foreign nationals, the Hainan Provincial Public Security Department, in partnership with the Provincial Department of Business Environment Construction and the Provincial Big Data Management Bureau, has launched an online accommodation registration service.

Through this service, foreign nationals or their hosts can easily access the registration page by scanning QR codes with their mobile phones.

online accommodation registration service
Online accommodation registration service

Alternatively, they can utilize the Haiyiban (海易办) mobile app or access the registration via WeChat or Alipay by searching for the Haiyiban mini program under the “International Service Zone” (国际服务专区).

Additionally, to overcome language barriers and unfamiliarity with local geography, the accommodation registration system for overseas individuals offers bilingual versions in both Chinese and English. It automatically detects the accommodation address and provides guidance in both languages, ensuring a seamless registration process for foreign nationals.

Third measure: Offering expedited visa and document processing services.

Foreign nationals facing urgent situations such as attending meetings, signing contracts, seeking medical treatment for severe illnesses, or visiting critically ill relatives can now avail themselves of expedited processing by calling the 12367 service hotline. The exit and entry administration authority of the public security bureaus, authorized to handle visa and document applications, will prioritize processing for those with such urgent needs.

Explanation: As Hainan’s visa-free entry policy continues to improve, there has been a noticeable increase in the influx of foreign nationals to the province. In everyday scenarios, there are often instances where foreign nationals require urgent visa and document processing due to emergencies like attending meetings, signing contracts, seeking medical treatment for severe illnesses, or visiting critically ill relatives.

Taking inspiration from the expedited processing “green channel” provided to Chinese citizens, the Hainan Provincial Public Security Department has introduced expedited services for visa and document processing to offer timely assistance to foreign nationals facing genuine emergencies.

Foreign nationals can now apply for and obtain their work permits and work-related residence permits at a single visa and document processing window, with the validity periods of both permits aligning.

Explanation: As per the Exit and Entry Administration Law of the People’s Republic of China and the Regulations on the Administration of Employment of Foreigners in China, foreign workers are required to obtain both work permits and work-related residence permits, which typically involve two separate departments and document processes. To streamline this procedure for foreign nationals, the Hainan Provincial Department of Science and Technology and the Public Security Department have introduced a “one-stop” service, allowing applicants to complete the entire process for both permits at a single location. This initiative aims to enhance convenience and efficiency for foreign nationals in obtaining the necessary permits for employment in Hainan.

Fifth measure: Facilitating entry and exit customs clearance.

Dedicated immigration channels will be established for foreign nationals attending significant conferences, major events, exhibitions, and other activities in Hainan, ensuring smooth entry and exit procedures.

Explanation: In order to enhance the ease of entry and exit for foreign nationals in Hainan Province and foster efficient and convenient international interactions, immigration authorities have implemented dedicated measures to streamline customs clearance procedures for the above mentioned individuals.

Sixth measure: Introducing the “Hainan Guarantee Payment” service.

Foreign nationals can now utilize their international bank cards to make payments via NFC technology on their smartphones, facilitated by the “Hainan Guarantee Payment (海南保障支付)” app, which is being piloted in the taxi industry in Sanya City.

Explanation: The “Hainan Guarantee Payment” service aims to streamline payment processes for foreign nationals in Hainan. It adapts traditional POS systems into mobile apps, allowing for seamless transactions through NFC-enabled smartphone swiping.

Additionally, it enhances complaint mechanisms and ensures data security to offer foreign nationals a top-tier and efficient payment experience in tourism. Presently, the app has completed successful testing of the payment environment and is undergoing a trial run in Sanya City’s taxi industry.

Seventh measure: Enhancing Card Acceptance Environment and Cash Services.

Coordinating with banking and payment institutions, we’re deploying POS terminals capable of accepting international cards in crucial areas like commercial hubs, tourist spots, resorts, cultural venues, transportation hubs, hotels, and hospitals. Additionally, we’re ensuring sufficient cash availability in bank branches and proactively offering RMB cash “change wallet” services. These efforts cater to the card payment and cash usage needs of overseas visitors in Hainan.

Explanation: Recognizing the inclination of foreign nationals in Hainan towards using bank cards and cash, provincial banking and financial institutions are focusing on optimizing services across seven key domains: dining, lodging, transportation, sightseeing, shopping, entertainment, and medical care. This involves improving the infrastructure for accepting bank cards and enhancing the capacity of major merchants to accommodate foreign bank cards.

Additionally, cash reserves will be bolstered at bank branches to cater to merchants’ requirements for exchanging small denominations. Standardized and varied “change wallets” will be distributed to merchants, effectively serving as a “cash reserve” to fulfil the payment requirements of the majority of foreign nationals in Hainan Province.

Eighth measure: Offering “short-term phone card” services.

Foreign nationals can now obtain phone cards with durations of 7, 15, or 30 days from designated service outlets. These cards will automatically expire once their validity period ends.

Explanation: In a bid to enhance the convenience of short-term stays for foreign nationals in Hainan, the Hainan Provincial Communication Administration has collaborated with China Telecom Hainan Branch to introduce the “short-term phone card” service. Under this new policy, foreign nationals can acquire phone cards with durations of 7, 15, or 30 days from designated China Telecom service outlets across 18 cities and counties in Hainan. These cards will be automatically deactivated once their validity period expires, and they can be obtained using either foreign passports or foreign permanent residence identity cards.

Ninth measure: Offering online tax services.

Foreign nationals can now access their personal income tax payment records in Hainan Province by logging into the official website of the Hainan Provincial Taxation Bureau, (at the time of writing, it is not in English)

Explanation: To best accommodate the varied needs of non-resident individuals from different countries regarding tax exemption certificates, the Hainan Provincial Taxation Bureau, under the guidance of the State Administration of Taxation, has initiated a pilot program for “institutional facilitation measures for non-resident individual taxpayers.” This endeavour introduces online self-service capabilities for querying and obtaining tax payment records for non-resident individuals.

Additionally, it enables the retrieval, download, and printing of declaration forms in both languages. This measure addresses the previous challenge faced by non-resident individuals in obtaining a “hall registration code” by requiring a visit to the office and fills the void in online self-service tax filing for non-resident individuals.

Tenth measure: Offering online social security services for foreign corporate entities.

Foreign corporate entities can now access the “Hainan Social Security and Medical Insurance Public Service Platform” through three authentication methods: CA certification, supervisor SMS verification, and electronic business license, to manage social security matters for their foreign employees.

Explanation: To enhance the ease of handling social insurance for foreign employees by foreign corporate entities, the Hainan Provincial Social Insurance Service Centre is providing convenient services for social security management, further streamlining the processes and enhancing the quality of life for foreign nationals in Hainan.

Eleventh measure: Establishing international clinics to facilitate medical care for foreign nationals.

Foreign nationals can schedule appointments through various channels such as phone, online, or on-site reservations at 31 medical institutions with international clinics spread across 18 cities and counties in the province.

List of Hospitals with International Clinics: Hainan Provincial People’s Hospital, Second Affiliated Hospital of Hainan Medical University, Hainan Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Hainan Provincial Children’s Hospital, Hainan Provincial Fifth People’s Hospital, Hainan Provincial Anning Hospital, Hainan Eye Hospital, Haikou People’s Hospital, Haikou Orthopedics and Diabetes Hospital, Hainan Chengmei Hospital, Hainan Stomatological Hospital, Sanya People’s Hospital, Sanya Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, Hainan Western Center Hospital, Wenchang People’s Hospital, Wanning People’s Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine Affiliated Ruijin Hospital Hainan Hospital, Qionghai People’s Hospital, Boao Super Hospital, Chengmai County People’s Hospital, Ledong Li Autonomous County Second People’s Hospital, Dongfang People’s Hospital, Lingshui Li Autonomous County People’s Hospital, Ding’an County People’s Hospital, Tunchang County People’s Hospital, Qiongzhong Li Autonomous County People’s Hospital, Baisha Li Autonomous County People’s Hospital, Baoting Li and Miao Autonomous County People’s Hospital, Hainan Second People’s Hospital, Changjiang Li Autonomous County People’s Hospital, Lingshui County People’s Hospital.

Explanation: International clinics serve as vital channels for medical institutions to offer healthcare services to foreign nationals. They amalgamate premium resources, relying on top services, refined techniques, advanced equipment, and cutting-edge management to furnish diverse and personalized medical care for both local and international patients.

Since October 2019, nine medical institutions in Hainan Province have progressively initiated pilot international clinics. In August 2023, the Provincial Health Commission issued the “Guidelines for the Management of International Clinics (2023 Edition),” mandating all eligible medical institutions in the province to establish international clinics.

It’s advisable for foreign nationals seeking medical assistance in Hainan to prioritize medical institutions with international clinics. Moving forward, the Provincial Health Commission will continue guiding other medical institutions to establish international clinics in accordance with the Guidelines, intensify supervision of international clinic operations, and promote the establishment of international medical departments in major hospitals across the province to further enhance the province’s international medical service system.

Twelfth measure: Opening up access to foreign professional qualifications to foster favourable conditions for foreign professionals to work and establish businesses in the Hainan Free Trade Port.

Foreign individuals possessing professional qualification certificates listed in the “Catalogue of Recognized Overseas Professional Qualifications for the Hainan Free Trade Port,” and endorsed (registered) by the relevant industry regulatory authorities in Hainan Province, are authorized to offer professional services to enterprises and residents of the Hainan Free Trade Port within the designated scope and timeframe.

Explanation: The Hainan Provincial Government issued the “Interim Measures for the Administration of Overseas Personnel Practice in the Hainan Free Trade Port,” which specifies that overseas individuals who comply with Chinese laws and regulations, possess full civil capacity, maintain good professional ethics, hold valid work permits issued by relevant departments in Hainan Province, and possess professional qualification certificates within the ambit of the “Catalogue of Recognized Overseas Professional Qualifications for the Hainan Free Trade Port,” are eligible to undergo skills assessments conducted by industry regulatory authorities.

Overseas individuals who obtain accredited certificates enjoy equal rights to domestic professionals within the stipulated scope and duration of professional services.

Foreign nationals can access the official website of the Hainan Provincial Department of Justice (also not in English at the time of writing) to view the roster of lawyers in the province with expertise in foreign-related legal matters, catering to their need for legal advice or services during their time in Hainan Province.

Explanation: To effectively bolster the development of legal services for foreign-related matters and address the legal needs of foreign nationals during their stay in Hainan Province, the Provincial Department of Justice has curated a group of 122 skilled foreign-related lawyers.

This talent pool, known as the Foreign-related Lawyers in Hainan Province (2024 Edition), is publicly accessible on the Provincial Department of Justice’s official website. These lawyers will utilize their specialized knowledge to offer legal assistance in various areas such as international economic cooperation, global trade, maritime and commercial affairs, cross-border investment, civil and commercial litigation, and arbitration for foreign nationals.

Fourteenth measure: Establishment of an English-language International Service Zone on the Haiyiban (海易办) mobile app.

Consolidating various matters concerning foreigners, the zone offers guidance on government services and appointments, consultations on policies related to the Hainan Free Trade Port, guides for local affairs and living in Hainan, and other services to assist foreigners and foreign-related enterprises in managing their affairs.

Explanation: To further streamline the process for investment, work, and daily life matters of foreigners in Hainan, the Provincial Department of Business Environment Construction, in collaboration with the Provincial Big Data Management Bureau, has introduced the International Service Zone on the Haiyiban (海易办) mobile app.

This zone provides guidance on government services and appointments, consultations on policies related to the Hainan Free Trade Port, local affairs guidance, and living essentials in Hainan. Additionally, users can access and refer to the “Service Manual for Foreigners in Hainan” within the app.

Fifteenth measure: Dissemination of the “Service Manual for Foreigners in Hainan,” offering comprehensive and practical service information and guidance.

Foreign nationals can access the manual online through platforms such as the Hainan Foreign Affairs WeChat public account, Hainan International Communication Network, hihainan WeChat public account, Facebook and Twitter accounts of the Hainan International Communication Centre, and other overseas social media platforms.

Additionally, the manual can be obtained offline at locations frequented by foreign nationals, such as immigration service windows, airports, ports, hotels, etc. It includes essential information and useful tips for working and living in Hainan.

Explanation: The Hainan Provincial Foreign Affairs Office has compiled the “Service Manual for Foreigners in Hainan” to assist newly arrived foreign nationals in quickly understanding the necessary service information for their work and life in Hainan, helping them integrate into the local community more efficiently.

Focused on the fundamental needs of foreign nationals within their first three months in Hainan, this manual combines practical insights from long-term foreign residents, offering a comprehensive resource of practical service information and guidance in one convenient document.

Sixteenth measure: Launching the “Enterprise Navigate Free Trade Port – Invest Hainan” service platform.

This platform offers interfaces in both Chinese and English and is staffed with service agents proficient in languages such as English, Russian, German, French, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, and others. Foreign nationals can utilize this platform to access information about the policies of the Hainan Free Trade Port, details about municipal and county-level parks, specialized buildings, and seek services from legal, tax, financial, and other professional institutions.

The platform is designed to cater to the diverse needs of enterprises investing in Hainan, providing assistance with policy consultation, government services, and professional services, thereby facilitating the investment and business activities of foreign nationals in Hainan.

Explanation: The establishment of the “Enterprise Navigate Free Trade Port – Invest Hainan” service platform by the Hainan International Economic Development Bureau aims to enhance the ease of investment and business activities for foreign nationals in Hainan.

Related article: Keep up to date with all the latest Expats in Haikou News

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