According to Chinese regulations, foreigners who reside or stay in domiciles other than hotels must register their domicile within 24 hours of arrival. This registration is done at the local police station of the domicile and may be done by the foreigner themselves or the persons who accommodate them.


If you stay in a hotel, this registration will be handled at the time of check-in at the hotel reception.


Failure to register brings with it some pretty stiff fines. Since last year, police have been more frequently stopping foreigners and asking them to show proof that they have registered. As of August 2017, the fines are as follows:


  • For first-time offenders: a warning, no fine;
  • Second offense: 500rmb fine;
  • Third offense: 2000rmb.



UPDATE: February 2019 - There are now four service centers throughout Nanshan to assist over 17,000 expats with their registrations. Click here for service areas and details.

UPDATE: May 2018 - According to the new website launched by the Shenzhen Municipal Public Security Bureau; which allows you to complete your registration online, registering immediately will be a key factor in all future visa applications.



Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: If a friend is visiting for a short period of time, do they have to register?
A: Yes. If they are staying for more than 24 hours, they need to register.


Q: If I've registered my domicile already and travel to another city do I have to register as well?
A: Yes. If you are staying in a hotel, the hotel will handle your registration. If you are not staying in a hotel, you or the persons accommodating you, will need to register if you are staying more than 24 hours.


Q: Do I need to register my newborn child?

A: Yes. For birth registration of Foreign Infants born in Shenzhen, see this link:


Q: What documents do I need to register?

A: If it's your first time registering at a specific domicile you will need the following:

  • Passport (original and photocopy of passport photo page, current visa and latest entry stamp)
  • One photo (2 inch)
  • Lease contract (original and photocopy)
  • Others if any (eg. Work certificate, birth certificate for foreign infants born in Shenzhen)


If you are renewing your registration, you only need the following:

  • Passport (if information is on 2 or more different passports, please bring all);
  • Related files to support the renewal (eg. new lease contract for changing address)


NOTE: The information above is based on the procedure of the Shekou Police Station. Other police stations' requirements may differ, please check with their local staff.


Q: How long does the registration last? Does it expire?

A: Yes, the registration does expire. The length of the validity of the registration will depend on the type of visa that you have. When you register, the "Visa expiry date" will be shown on your registration form.


China Visa Expiry Date on Foreigner Accommodation Registration Form


Q:  How often/when do I need to renew or re-register? Do I need to do this every time I come back into China; even if I'm just taking a day trip to Hong Kong?

A: You only need to renew or re-register under the following conditions:

  • If you get a new passport, a new visa, or a new residence permit; or if any changes have been made to these;
  • If your place of residence has changed;
  • Before the date of your "Visa Expiry Date."


Q: How is the Visa Expiry Date calculated?

A: For residence permits, the date is the expiry date of residence permit. For other visas, the is typically the entry date plus the maximum duration allowed by the visa for each stay. For example, if you hold an L visa and the duration for each stay is 30 days, when you enter on Aug 2nd, the Visa Expiry Date will be Sep 1st. If you have multiple entries, every 30 days you will need to exit and reenter to get new duration, then you need to renew the registration.


Q: Do I need to carry my passport and proof of registration with me at all times to avoid the fine?
A: According to Chinese law, all foreigners over the age of 16 must always carry their passports with them. If you have your passport, officers can look up your registration; however, it is recommended to also carry your proof of registration to avoid delays during these stops. Areas under the management of the Shekou Subdistrict Office have advised that they do not require to see your passport if you can show them the registration form; however, these requirements vary in other areas so it's best to check with your local police station. If you do not have your passport with you when asked by police you may be detained and taken to the local police station while they confirm your details. This process may also result in the fines stated above.


Q: What area is under the management of the Shekou Subdistrict Office?

A: This map includes the areas under the management of the Shekou Subdistrict Office:

Areas under the management of the Shekou Subdistrict Office


Q: I heard there is a Management and Service Center for Expats to help us with these types of issues. Can I do my registration there?

A: People who live in the area of the police subdivision of Shekou Police Station (like Coastal Rose Garden, Peninsula, etc… see map below) can use the Management and Service Center for Expats to file their registration. If you are not sure where you should go, you can ask your landlord, your property management office or our center. 

Map of the Management and Service Center for Expats and their area of management



This article is part of the Laws & Regulations Section of ShekouDaily. It is meant to serve as a guide to help foreigners understand their responsibilities and rights in China in regards to the laws. It is important to understand that there is often a difference between what the law is and how it is enforced. The information provided in this section relates to what the laws are and how they are enforced in most parts of Shekou. For more details please contact a lawyer or the Management and Service Center for Expats.


Shenzhen Management and Service Center for Expats

Author and Source:

The information in this post is provided by the Shenzhen Management and Service Center for Expats (MSCE) and has been edited and compiled by Gary Isse of ShekouDaily. Copying and or redistributing any of this content is prohibited without the expressed written consent by ShekouDaily. The MSCE is located at the corner of Nanshui Road and Shiyun Road in Shekou. The nearest bus station is Shekou Theater and the nearest Metro station is Dongjiaotou Station, Exit A. Their opening hours are from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, you can call 0755-2667-8381

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