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Is it possible to intern as a software engineer in China?

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December 30, 2017

Are there foreign companies within China that offer internships/domestic companies that will provide visas for foreigners to come intern? Any help or information is appreciated!

2 Answers

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Team Pengyou has provided the correct information with regards to interning on a student visa and I wanted to add some more details. A software engineer is a job and not an internship. Besides getting your student visa marked to allow an internship, the government mandates the maximum number of hours per week, as well as, the maximum value of certain categories you could receive a stipend for, such as housing or transportation, etc.

One piece of information that is incorrect from the Team Pengyou message is regarding internship placement firms. Many people overseas go through such internship placement organizations for reasons that Team Pengyou did not mention. Students and young adults choose this way because they do not intend on studying in China, they just intend on participating in an internship. If you choose this option, you have to be careful because many of these firms obtain other visas for interns. There is no internship visa and the only legally allowable way is for student visas that are specifically marked for it, but you would still have to maintain the requirements of your studies. The onus is on you to be legal for the purpose of your visit. It is widely known that many of these firms do not obtain the correct visas for their interns.

I have written articles with regards to visas, law, and doing business in China, as well as, I am involved in related WeChat groups, and can add you if you have specific further questions.

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Hi John,

According to our sources, currently, the only legal way to be an intern in China is to be accepted as a student at a Chinese University first and then after obtaining your internship (which would surely also require interviews, references, etc.) you need to request permission from your Chinese host university to apply for a special stamp on your visa. After receiving permission from both university and internship host organization, you would then need to visit the entry and exit bureau with some paperwork from both the school and the internship host organization to get an ‘internship annotation’ stamp.

Because this process is long and tedious and receiving the correct permissions and paperwork from all parties in a timely matter is next to impossible, most students choose to go through internship or study abroad organizations. A few that we have worked with in the past and would recommend are the UCEAP program, The Beijing Center, and the Chinese Internship Grant.

We hope this is helpful as a start! Feel free to respond here or reach out to us directly with any questions you may have at nihao@projectpengyou.org

Best,

-Team Pengyou