PU letter is an invitation letter issued by Provincial Foreign Affairs Office of where the applicant’s Chinese inviting company is located in China, which should be applied by the applicant’s Chinese inviting company from their local government administration.

Who will be affected?

Working expats who need to apply for entry visa for China including work visa: Z visa or business travel visa: M visa application and expat’s accompanying family members who need to apply for S1 visa.


PU letter has been introduced by Chinese authorities since Mar., 2020 as a measurement to contain the spread of COVID-19 by strictly controlling the number of foreigners into China.

According to Chinese authority, only those foreigners who are considered by the Chinese authority to play an important role in the business of the inviting company in China and need to come to China urgently will be issued the PU Letter.

Currently, there is no announced details on the criterion of PU Letter issuance, and local authorities evaluate the application on case-by-case basis in terms of many considerations such as the qualification of the Chinese inviting company, the applicant’s role and responsibilities in the company, the nature of the work of the applicant, the impact on the company’s business without the physical presence of the applicant in China etc. etc.

It has been a common challenge for the Chinese inviting companies to apply for PU letter for expat and their accompanying family members, which on average may take up to 2-3 months for working expat and around 3-4 months for the expat’s accompanying family members. Moreover, a certain percentage of rejection of the PU letter issuance has been seen and some companies are not considered qualified for PU Letter application per some local authorities.

This has greatly prolonged the immigration process for expat who needs to relocate to China, which now may take up to 6-8 months from the kick-off the China immigration process to the onboarding date of the expat.


In order to assist client to facilitate this PU letter application, Santa Fe has been offering PU Letter Application Assistance Service, which involves researches on the application process with local authority, advice to client on application documents preparation, coordination on communication between authority and client, application documents vetting etc.

Santa Fe Analysis

Due to the COVID-19 situation is still quite severe and not yet under control in most of the countries around the world, Santa Fe expect this PU Letter requirement from Chinese authority for entry visa application will not be revoked in short term, but may be lifted at phases with the improvement of the control of the COVID-19 spread.

Should you have any questions, please contact the following:

Connie Wang
Relocation and Immigration Services Manager 
Santa Fe Relocation
D: (86-21) 6233 9700 ext. 247
M: +13585759255
E: connie.wang@santaferelo.com

Robert Day
Group Head of Immigration Operations
Santa Fe Relocation
London, UK
D: +44 7990 021125
E: robert.day@santaferelo.com

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