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April 23, 2017

How Can My Organization Operate under the New Foreign NGO Law?

How can my organization operate under the new Foreign NGO Law?

Qualifications for foreign NGOs:

All organizations seeking to register as a foreign NGO in China must meet certain requirements to be considered legitimate foreign NGOs by the Chinese government. These include being legally established outside mainland China and having been active for at least two years. A full list of these requirements can be found here.

Determine the type of registration that best suits the organization’s goals and programming:

The Foreign NGO Law allows for two types of registration in China: a “representative office” registration for those seeking a permanent presence in mainland China, and a “temporary activities” permit for those seeking to carry out one-off or irregular programming activities. More information about the different types of registration can be found here.

To register a representative office in China:

  • Identify an appropriate “Professional Supervisory Unit” (PSU, also referred to as an “organization in charge of operations”) to partner with in China. (Additional information about PSUs can be found here.) Apply directly to the PSU to request official sponsorship for establishing a presence in mainland China. Required application materials vary from PSU to PSU; the relevant PSU itself can provide further information about what materials it requires.
  • Upon receiving approval from the PSU, submit registration forms to the appropriate public security office (also referred to in the law as the “registration management organ”). Depending on the location and nature of an organization’s work, it will register either with the Foreign NGO Management Office, which is part of the central-level Ministry of Public Security (MPS), or with a corresponding office in a provincial-level public security bureau. (Contact information for all provinces’ foreign NGO management offices can be found here.) Approved organizations will be issued a registration certificate.
  • The MPS-issued registration certificate will allow for tax registration, the creation of an official chop or seal for use issuing official documents, and the establishment of a bank account in mainland China. Organizations are then required to submit copies of the tax registration certificate, seal, and bank account number to the registration management organ (public security) where the application was initially approved.

To obtain a permit for a “temporary activity” in China:

  • Identify a “Chinese Partner Unit” to work with for the duration of the temporary activity. (Further information about what it means to be a Chinese Partner Unit can be found here.)
  • The Chinese Partner Unit will be responsible for filing paperwork with the appropriate public security office at least 15 days before the activity begins. (Note: This time restriction is waived in cases of emergency relief services.) This includes documentation of the foreign organization’s legal establishment, the agreement between the foreign organization and the partner unit, and additional information related to expenses and funding. (The required forms can be found here.)
  • Within 30 days of the activity’s conclusion, the Chinese Partner Unit will also send a written report to the same public security office detailing the activity’s outcome and use of funds. (The required forms can be found here.)

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