Categories concerning the length of residence of foreigners in China
According to Regulations of the People's Republic of China on Administration of the Entry and Exit of Foreigners, foreigners staying in China can be classified according to three categories - those in the country for a short stay, those here for a long stay, and permanent residents.
A short stay concerns foreigners who come to China to travel, visit relatives or conduct business in the country. Foreigners staying in China for a short stay usually get a visa for less than one year.
A long stay mainly refers to foreigners who study, work or invest in China. These foreigners are granted a 1-5 year multiple entry visa and residence document.