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What is an ‘overseas Chinese’ person?

In articles about Chinese law, you may occasionally come across the phrase ‘overseas Chinese’; this refers to Chinese mainland citizens who settle overseas for a certain period. ‘Settling overseas’ means that the Chinese citizen has obtained the right of permanent residency within another country, and has been living there for at least two years, spending at least 18 months in that country. Thsi person is then deemed as being an ‘overseas Chinese’.

Additionally, ‘overseas Chinese’ can be applied to mainland Chinese citizens who haven’t obtained the right of permanent residency within another country yet, but have already legally stayed there over a period of at least five years, spending at least 30 months in that country.

Chinese mainland citizens who go abroad to study or work are not immediately deemed overseas Chinese. Neither are Chinese mainland citizens who renounce their citizenship and become citizens of another country.


Useful Chinese words and phrases

华侨 huáqiáo Overseas Chinese
外籍华人 wàijí huárén Expatriate Chinese
定居 dìngjū Settle
永久居留权 yǒngjiǔ jūliú quán Right of Permanent Residency


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