IEM Guardianship Guidelines for Families

Based on the governmental guardianship requirements[1], Duke Kunshan University (“DKU”) has developed this guideline in support of international families who have a student under the age of 18 upon their matriculation at DKU in China (considered a “Minor Student”) and whose parents or legal guardians in their home countries are not living in China and will not come to China and live with them. In accordance with Chinese laws and regulations, DKU cannot be responsible for legal custody of a Minor Student. Therefore, prior to the arrival in China of a Minor Student, it is a requirement for parents/legal guardians to authorize in writing a temporary guardianship to either a Chinese citizen or foreigner who is currently living in China and will be living in China for the tenure of their guardianship. This person will act as the “Temporary Guardian” for the Minor Student.


Please refer to the Duke Kunshan Guardianship Guidance document for formal details.


[1] Decree No. 42 jointly issued by the Chinese Ministry of Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Public Security effective July 1st , 2017

The Role of a Temporary Guardian

The Temporary Guardian assumes responsibility for the Minor Student while they are in China. There is no requirement for the location of the guardian in China. Furthermore, one person can serve as guardian for multiple students with no maximum limit. Guardianship is no longer needed and legal obligations automatically expire once the student turns the age of 18.


The Temporary Guardian will be required to provide the appropriate paperwork to establish guardianship (see next section for details). The extent of their relationship with the Minor Student depends upon the length of time they will serve as the guardian and the actions of the student. Officially, the Temporary Guardian is responsible for the Minor Student’s behavior; if the Minor Student fails to follow Chinese laws and regulations, the Temporary Guardian may be contacted and may be held responsible. Generally speaking, a Temporary Guardian will need to be available if the need arises. The Minor Student and Temporary Guardian will mutually agree on how much communication and interaction is necessary.

Actions for International Families to Take

Check the dates. Verify the student will be under 18 at the time of arrival on campus by checking the academic calendar. For incoming first year students, refer to the start of orientation and take note of the number of days the student will be a Minor Student (until the date of their 18th birthdate).


Research options for Temporary Guardianship. Consider who you know living in China who may be willing to act as a temporary guardian. This may be a family member, friend, or a service provider. They must be a Chinese citizen or have a Chinese residence permit.


*While students are recommended to identify a legal guardian through their personal network, it’s understandable it may be challenging. As an additional option, DKU will have current DKU Chinese parents who can serve as volunteer temporary guardians for minor DKU international students. After the commitment deadline (May 1) we’ll have a separate call/session with all students (and their parents) for who this applies to walk through what is required. The guardianship is a formality and the student, the temporary guardian, parents and DKU will work in close partnership if needs arise.


Secure a Temporary Guardian. Once the Minor Student has accepted the offer of admission and prior to the issuance of the student visa invitation letter, the parent/guardian should come to an agreement with a Temporary Guardian. 



Provide the documentation to DKU International Student Services. The student must submit the completed form and the citizenship verification documents to the DKU International Student Services (ISS) department.

Searching for a Service Provider

If a family does not have a personal connection to someone in China who can act as a Temporary Guardian, they could employ a professional service provider to act as a Temporary Guardian. Please note, DKU does not specifically endorse any service provider for the role of Temporary Guardian for its Minor Students. A search online using the keywords “Chinese university application service”, “Chinese university Admission service”, or “Study in China service” could be a good place to start. Things to consider when securing a service provider are: the ability to communicate in English (if that is a requirement for the family), the timeliness of communication responses, the fee and method of payment, and references from past clients.

Contacts at DKU

If you have questions concerning this governmental requirement, please contact the International Enrollment Management office via email at



For questions related to visa processing and the related guardianship documentation, please contact the DKU International Student Services office via email at