Visa processes for China are notoriously difficult to navigate. Immigration procedures are further complicated by the fact that they are largely carried out at a local level and each locality has its own unique structure. This means the visa requirements will vary according to where an expat will be based. For this reason, most expats consult a qualified immigration practitioner.
Foreign nationals are required to apply for the relevant visa before arriving in China. Because immigration regulations in China are subject to change at short notice, expats should consult their local Chinese embassy for the most recent list of requirements for each type of visa.