At a Glance

  • Highly-skilled foreign nationals who seek to work for qualifying companies in Shanghai can now apply for and obtain a work permit and residence permit simultaneously under the recently-introduced 'Single Window' system.
  • Both permits will be processed in seven business days, instead of the five business days it took to obtain a work permit plus the seven additional business days it took to obtain a residence permit under the previous system.

The situation

Foreign nationals who qualify for Category A (highly-skilled workers) of the unified work permit system applicants and who are seeking employment with a company in Shanghai registered with the Expert Bureau in the municipal talent center of MeiYuan Road can now apply for a work permit and residence permit simultaneously under the "Single Window" system.

A closer look

  • Shorter processing time. The Shanghai Foreign Experts Bureau and Shanghai Public Security office are adjudicating work permit and residence permit applications under the Single Window system within seven business days.
  • Qualifying work permit applications. This new policy is currently only available for initial work permit applications and applications transferring a work permit from one company to another in Shanghai.
  • Previous practice. Before the Single Window system, Category A foreign nationals had to file their work permit application at the Shanghai Foreign Experts Bureau (which took five business days to adjudicate) and then file their residence permit application at the Shanghai Public Security Bureau, which took an additional seven business days to adjudicate.


By consolidating these two steps, the Shanghai government is seeking to streamline the work authorization process for highly-skilled foreign nationals, who are in demand in Shanghai.

This particular Expert Bureau was chosen to be the first to implement this consolidated process since it is the original application center that existed before other centers were opened in other districts in Shanghai starting 2017.

Looking ahead

This rule demonstrates the government's intention to provide more convenient and faster service to foreign nationals. Fragomen foresees that this policy will likely extend to other location in China.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.