How to apply for a bank card as a foreigner in China

How to apply for a bank card as a foreigner in China

China is a fascinating country that attracts many foreigners who want to experience its unique culture, rich history, and bustling cities. If you are planning to live or work in China, one of the essential things you need to do is apply for a bank card.

In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of applying for a bank card in China as a foreigner.

Choose the right bank

The first step in applying for a bank card in China is to choose the right bank. There are many banks in China, but not all of them accept foreign applicants.

Some of the most popular banks that accept foreign applicants are:

  • Bank of China (BoC)
  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC)
  • China CITIC Bank
  • China Construction Bank (CCB)
  • China Merchants Bank (CMB)
  • Agricultural Bank of China (ABC)

You should research the different banks and their requirements to find the best fit for your needs.

Prepare the necessary documents

To apply for a bank card in China, you will need to prepare several documents, including:

  • Your passport or China Green Card (if you are a permanent resident)
  • Your work permit or residence permit (not required for China Green Card holders)
  • Proof of address (e.g., police registration, a rental contract, utility bill)
  • A letter from your employer or school indicating respectively employment or study
  • A China Mainland mobile number (a certificate from your mobile provider might be required)

Make sure you have all the necessary documents before you visit the bank.

Visit the bank

Once you have chosen the right bank and prepared the necessary documents, it’s time to visit the bank in person. You should bring all the documents with you and be prepared to fill out an application form.

When you arrive at the bank, go to the customer service desk and let them know that you want to apply for a bank card. They will give you an application form to fill out, and you should provide all the required information. If you have any questions or need help, don’t hesitate to ask the bank staff.

Wait for approval

After you submit your application, the bank will review your documents and information. If everything is in order, they will approve your application and issue a bank card. The approval process can take several days, so be patient and wait for the bank to contact you.

Activate your bank card

Once you receive your bank card, you need to activate it before you can use it. You can activate your bank card by visiting the ATM or the bank branch. Follow the instructions on the screen and enter your PIN code to activate your card.


Applying for a bank card in China as a foreigner may seem daunting, but it’s a straightforward process if you have the right documents and choose the right bank.

By following these simple steps, you can apply for a bank card in China and start using it for your daily transactions.