The last logistical bit of relocation bureaucracy is complete, our air shipments were delivered today at our apartment in Beijing. I’ll review a few details and things that I understand better now.
Here is a tour of our Apartment
I wrote the about the process of getting permits and visas, but after having gone through it I understand it a little better. When applying to work in China the first thing you get is a Z-Visa, this is single entry visa good for 30 days and allows you to enter the country and apply for the residency visa. Your family also has their own Z-visas in their passports. The first thing you do when you arrive in country is you get your temporary residency permit; if your staying in a hotel or furnished apartment typically the will apply on your behalf. This is required within 24 hours of your arrival at a new address. This is a registration at the police station that just registers where you are living. No matter what visa type you have, when you move to a new address you always register at the police station and you receive a temporary residency permit. This is a small piece of paper that you are to keep with your passport at all times. Moving addresses and having to change your temporary residency permit during the process of applying for your other permits can invalidate the process so its good to stay put for those first 30 days.
Next you apply for a work permit. This is good for one year and is a separate purple booklet that allows you to work in China. After you have this document then you apply for a residency permit. This is a visa in your passport, that you apply for with the immigration branch of the Public Security Bureau. This is good for one year and allows you to live in China and enter and exit the country. Despite you having this, you still need a temporary residency permit with the Police for the actual address where you live. Its confused me at first, because I couldn’t understand why after I had my “permanent” residency permit (visa) I still needed a temporary residency permit. They are two different permits with two different agencies for two different purposes.
These documents and processes were all handled by the immigration lawyers in China in conjunction with the work. After you have your work permit and your residency permit, which takes around 28 days, then you can actually get your goods through customs and into China. Our stuff was coming on a plane so until our paper work was finished the boxes just sat in a warehouse in the US; upon completion of the permits and visas they shipped our goods via air to China. Then a local freight company came and got my passport and work permit via courier as well as some customs forms I had to sign and fill out and they handled the processing of clearing our goods through customs. Once they cleared they delivered to our house and unpacked everything.
The Last Bits
The logistics coordinator told me that he thought our goods wouldn’t be available until next Wednesday, then suddenly on Friday I got an email and said they would clear that afternoon and they could deliver on Saturday! Deliver happened in the midst of a 9 hour ordeal getting Sofi’s hair braided. I left here there for a few hours and rushed home to meet the movers at 11:30 at our place. They were waiting for me on our floor outside the door. Since we only had two small air containers it only took them about 30 minutes to bring all the boxes and air crates inside. Remove everything from the boxes, place all the stuff on the floor, bed, counter top or couches and cart all the boxes away and be gone! We had to put everything away, which will take us a couple of days. The apartment complex management (which are so helpful, especially Miss Zhang) arranged for some workers to come hang photos on the walls. The logistics company had contacted a 3rd party who had quoted them 700 rmb, but these guys were only 400rmb. The measured and drilled and hung around 15-20 of our photos, paintings and art work on the wall. This was a lot of what our shipment was in fact, (besides a 100 lbs of camping gear) the photos really helped to make things feel like home.
I’ll post a video of the place and some more photos once we get everything put away.