Guide to Applying for a China Police Clearance in Shanghai

Signature building in Shanghai

There are more foreigners living in Shanghai than any other city in China. Correspondingly, the city has seen a high demand for police clearance certificates (PCC). In this article, I will discuss how people who are not a citizen of China apply for China police clearance certificates in Shanghai.

Where to Apply

Unlike many other cities where local public security agencies issue police clearance, foreigners in Shanghai must apply to a local notary office. In 2016, Shanghai Notary Association issued “Notice on Launching the Online Information Look-Up System Connecting Shanghai Notary Association and Shanghai High People’s Court”. This Notice authorizes notary offices to issue police clearance certificates to foreigners. Instead of checking with police, notary offices issue the certificates based on search results of the court database. 

Shanghai has a total of 20 notary offices, but most applicants apply to the central notary office–Shanghai Oriental Notary Office. The reason is that most of the other offices are unfamiliar with the application.

You can contact Shanghai Oriental Notary Office at:

#1 Tel.: +86 (021) 6215 4848.
#2 Tel.: 4008214848
Address: Jing’an District, Fengyang Lu 598 Hao, Shanghai. (In Chinese: 上海市静安区凤 阳路598号)

( #1 telephone is the number of the front desk employee who is not a notary officer and does not answer questions about applications. If you’d like to talk to a real officer, dial #2 telephone and then dial extension “3” “12” and “0”.)

Basic Requirements

A foreigner who applies for a police clearance in Shanghai must be a long-term resident in Shanghai.

Shanghai only issues police clearance to long-term foreign residents. To be considered as a long-term resident, you must have lived in the city for 6 months or more evidenced by China residence permits, Temporary Residence Registration Form(s), property ownership certificate(s) and/or tenancy agreement(s).

In June 2019, we were told it is no longer required that your residence permits must be issued in Shanghai. For example, you can apply for a police certificate in Shanghai even if you held residence permits issued from Hangzhou so long as you have other acceptable proof of your residence in Shanghai.

What is a residence permit? A residence permit is a visa-like stamp in a passport, allowing a foreigner to reside in China for a fixed period. Foreigners who enter China with the following category of visas may need to apply for a residence permit: Z (work), X (study) or S (visiting family).

Sample China Residence Permit

Police clearance issued in Shanghai only covers periods after 2008.

Each China police clearance specifies the periods during which an applicant has no criminal record. Typically, such periods may extend as long as the duration of time when an applicant lived in China. However, in Shanghai, no certificates can be issued to cover periods earlier than January 1, 2008. If you lived in Shanghai before 2008, you won’t be able to get a police clearance in Shanghai.

Required Documents

General documents applicable for all applicants

All applicants must provide the following documents to Shanghai Oriental Notary Office:

  • Current passport
  • Any prior passport that contains pages with China entry and exit stamps and residence permit.
  • Temporary residence registration form(s) (TRRF).
  • A power of attorney if a third-party representative makes the application on your behalf.


Is a passport copy acceptable?
Yes. Please make sure that the copy is complete, meaning that it includes all blank pages and the front and back covers.

I have been issued multiple TRRFs. Do I need to provide all of them?
Not necessary. Just one TRRF will suffice.

Is a TRRF copy acceptable?
No. It must be the original.

My TRRFs are lost. What can I do?
You or a third-party representative may request the local police stations to re-print your TRRFs. Make sure that the documents come with the police’s official stamp.

My prior passport is lost and I don’t have a copy. What can I do?
There’s nothing you can do, because the notary will not issue you a certificate for any periods when you used the lost passport. If you need the certificate immigration purposes, you should prepare a statement explaining why you cannot get a China police clearance certificate.

The other required documents vary by the category of residence permits held by an applicant.

In addition to the general document, Shanghai Oriental Notary Office requires applicants to provide documents specifically applicable to the category of residence permits they held. In particular, the notary divides applicants into 3 categories: (1) applicants with residence permits for study; (2) applicants with residence permits for work; and (3) applicants with residence permits for private affairs or family reunion. I will discuss below the required documents for each category.

Applicants with residence permits for work

An applicant who held residence permits for work must provide the following original documents:


Are copies of these documents acceptable?
No. All of them must be the originals.

My employer refuses to provide a letter confirming no conviction. What can I do.
There’s nothing you can do, because the notary will not issue you a certificate if you don’t provide the employer letter. If you need the certificate for immigration purposes, you should prepare a statement explaining why you cannot get a China police clearance certificate.

I believe my employer has filed the tax for me, but the employer never gave to me the tax completion certificates. What should I do?
If you currently live outside of China, you can send a representative to the local tax bureau to request the certificates on your behalf.

I only have a copy of my China work permit, not the original document. What can I do?
If you currently live outside of China, you can send a representative to Shanghai Talents Tower (in Chinese 上海人才大厦) to request an official letter stating the information of your work permit. The notary will accept such a letter as an alternative to your work permit.

Applicants with residence permits for study

An applicant who held residence permits for study must provide the following original documents:

Applicants with residence permits for private affairs or family reunion

An applicant who held residence permits for private affairs or family reunion must provide the following original documents:

  • If you visited a family member who worked in Shanghai, you must provide a letter issued by his or her employer confirming YOU have no criminal conviction. In addition, you must provide the following original documents held by the same family member:
    • China work permit
    • Labor contract
  • Also, you must prove your relationship with the person you visited by providing an official document such as a marriage certificate or birth certificate. If the document is issued by a foreign authority, it must be authenticated by a China consulate.

Processing Time & Application Fee

The processing time at the notary is about 15 to 25 days, depending on the office’s workload. Following the acceptance of your application, the notary will provide you with an acceptance notice which states the pick-up date and the fees incurred. See a sample acceptance notice below.

Sample Shanghai notary accpetance notice
Sample Shanghai notary acceptance notice

Our service

We are specialized in obtaining China police certificates or preparing statements explaining why a certificate is unobtainable. Our service in Shanghai may offer some advantages over filing an application on your own. If you are interested in hiring us, please click the below button to fill in a quote request form.

20 thoughts on “Guide to Applying for a China Police Clearance in Shanghai”

  1. What is TRRF exactly? Is it the residence permit pasted in the passport or police registration for accommodation?
    I was living in the dormitory and never register to police for accommodation. How should I get it if it needs?
    Looking forward to your quick reply.

  2. What happen if the school doesn’t want to give me the “School letter confirming no criminal conviction”? because they say they cannot because they are not allowed to do it. Can i proof going to the police station?

  3. Hi Pete Zhang,

    I need a Police Check from the Shanghai Oriental Notary Office for my time in Shanghai from 2013-2015, but I no longer have my prior passport from that time. Can you confirm that I really won’t be able to receive one from them as far as you are aware?

    Thank you,


    • Hi Jaspar. Based on my understanding of the local rules of Shanghai, no PCC can be issued if you don’t have a complete COPY of your prior passport.

  4. I need Police Clearance Certificate from August 30,2014 to November 28,2017 for my USA visa application.
    I had STUDENT VISA during my whole stay in Shanghai, China. I was enrolled in a language school.

    My questions are:

    1. Do I need Certificate of completion for all the school I went? Each school they give me 6 months.
    2. I stay in different apartment in Shanghai. Do I need all the TRRF’s for each apartment/address?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Marie. Here are my answers to your questions.

      1. If you no longer have the Certificate of Completion from one of the schools you attended, it may be alright to provide other proof of your study at this school, such as student ID, transcript or school letter confirming your enrolment.
      2. No, you are not required to provide the TRRFs for each address. A single TRRF associated with any of your addresses will suffice.

    • Hi Henry. All you need is your passport(s).

      When you are at the tax bureau, you can also ask for a “registration code”. With this code, you can register an account at the official website of the Shanghai Electronic Tax Bureau at On this website, you can print out records of your tax payments online. Note that you or a representative has to request a “registration code” in person at a tax bureau.

      • Hi Pete Zhang,

        Is it okay if I provide my salary details that has proof of my tax record instead of an Individual Income Tax Completion Certificate?

        • Hi Baverly. Typically, for purposes of applying for a police clearance, you must provide proof of tax completion issued by local tax authorities. If your “salary details” are issued by your employer instead of a government authority, then they are probably not acceptable.

  5. Do the original documents ie passport and work permits need to be left with the office during processing or are they only viewed then returned
    I am an airline pilot working for a Chinese carrier and need to carry passport and documents for employment cannot be without them for 15 days.

    • Hi Joe. The notary will NOT keep the original documents of your passport or work permit. These documents will be returned to you immediately following a notary officer’s review on the spot. Copies of these documents will be kept though.

  6. Being dependant on your employer for that is nonsense! It puts the employee in a unecessary vulnerable position. What if they do not cooperate, practically, you sue them?

    • Thanks for your comment. I am with you on that it shouldn’t involve employers for issuing police certificates. If you have problems with getting the employer letter and hiring an agency to obtain your police certificate is an option you would consider, please fill in a quote request form at our website. We may be able to help you resolve the issue.

    • Hi Sarah. Yes, you can have someone else pick up the completed notarial certificate if you submit a power of attorney upon filing the application with the notary.

  7. I m currently stuck in my home country due to COVID. Is it possible for me to apply for the clearance certificate from my home country?
    If so, how?

    • Hi Nivedha. It is always possible to apply for a China police certificate from outside of China. Typically, you can appoint a third-party to file the application on your behalf.


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