Hukou application made easier

A one-stop service and a reduction in the amount of material required for household registration are announced by the city's human resources and social security bureau.

A one-stop service for hukou, or permanent residence, is to be launched on Thursday on the website of the Shanghai Human Resources and Social Security Bureau.

As data is now shared among government departments, it said, employers and employees need not submit material such as business licenses, certificates for high-tech enterprises, records of social insurance payments and education information of applicants’ children. For example, those who apply via talent introduction programs need only submit four documents rather than the current 16 to 18. People returning from abroad need only five documents compared with the current 22 to 25 items.

All applicants will be able to submit applications on the same website and service windows. Previously, there were four separate websites and four kinds of service windows to serve applicants in talent introduction programs, returned Chinese who finished overseas study, wives or husbands of those already with residency and those who have accumulated enough points in their temporary residency permits.

Processing will also be optimized. Applicants can submit digital versions of documents online first for assessment so they only have to go to physical application centers once throughout the whole process to submit the necessary material on paper. When an application is approved, the approval will be delivered to the applicant, who then can go to the public security bureau for household registration.

Applicants can make reservations for visits to physical application centers so as to reduce their waiting time. They can also check the process on the website.

Employers welcomed the new system.

“We had to prepare a lot of materials, such as photocopies of business licenses, recommendation letters, while the employees also needed to provide social insurance payment records and tax lists, among others. It’s a heavy burden as we have about 50,000 employees and 100 to 200 apply for residency each year,” said Wu Jiang, from Shanghai Electric.

“With the new system, we can submit all the material related to the company once for all, which will reduce much of our burden in application material preparation. The online service to review all the material before submission of paper ones is also helpful as we don’t have to visit the physical service window again and again, which is really unpleasant in scorching summer.”

Liu Juan, from Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, agreed. The academy is in suburban Minhang District, and it takes at least an hour to get to the application center downtown, which was troublesome when more than one visit was needed if there was a problem with the material submitted.

The official also pointed out that previously, even after employees got approval from the application center, they still needed to visit it again to get certificates before heading to the public security authority for household registration. From Thursday, this step is no longer needed as the human resources and social security bureau shares information with the public security department.

Chen Chunyan, from news app Jinri Toutiao, said the new procedures were very convenient. 

“Previously, we had to register on different websites and go to different service windows, which was really troublesome,” she said. “The new system enables applicants to check the processing progress and sends messages to them at every step, which is also helpful to ease their anxiety.”

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