Immigration Policies on ‘Foreign Brides’ in China


Immigration Policies on ‘Foreign Brides’ in China

Room 920
185 Pelham Street


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T: 03 8344 6847

In China ‘foreign bride’ refers to a woman who is a national of a neighbouring country and living in China, who either applies for marriage registration or is in an informal cohabitation with a Chinese male citizen. The term refers especially to women from the Greater Mekong Sub-region countries and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). In recent years, due to economic and social factors and increase in cross-border immigration, the number and distribution of foreign brides in China has increased exponentially. In China only foreign brides who are legally married to a Chinese national can obtain permanent residence or a visa. Many foreign brides have entered China illegally and cohabit in China without marriage registration; many such women have children with the Chinese ‘husband’ but do not have a legal status in China. The issue of ‘foreign brides’ has caused many new problems for administration, social management and provision of services. It has been linked to cross-border human trafficking.

This presentation will analyse the requirements under Chinese law for legal entry and exit, for marriage registration and stay, permanent residence and naturalisation of foreign brides, and discuss challenges faced in the management and regulation of immigration of foreign brides. It will suggest ways in which policies for immigration and the status of foreign brides might be improved in China.


  • Professor Guofu Liu
    Professor Guofu Liu, Beijing Institution of Technology