China Travel Restrictions: When will China Reopen Borders, Who Can Come, What to Prepare

 (Updated: June 15th, 2021)

 

 Good News! Chinese Version of “International Travel Health Certificate” Officially Launched

On March 7th 2021, the Chinese state counselor announced that an “International Travel Health Certificate” would roll out through the mini program of the mobile app WeChat, first for Chinese citizens and later might for international visitors, to facilitate their cross-country travel. Recording a user’s information about the covid-19 like nucleic acid test result, serology IgM antibody test result, and vaccination, the Certificate acts like the Covid Vaccine Passport promoted by some countries. Read more.


 

When will China reopen its borders to foreigners?


In view of the spread of COVID-19 worldwide, China has temporarily suspended the entry by foreign nationals holding valid visas issued before March 28th 2020. At present, most foreigners are still not allowed to enter, including those with 10-year multiple entry visas. The latest entry rules adjusted on September 28th 2020 only applied to a small number of foreign Chinese and foreigners living in China for a long time.
 
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Immigration Administration of China, the present measure is temporary but necessary, and China will gradually and orderly resume personnel exchanges with other countries on the premise of ensuring epidemic prevention and security.
 
For ordinary travelers to China, or foreigners visiting China for various other purposes, like business, work, study, or transit, it still needs a long time to wait.
 
♦ Prediction: When the epidemic control measures take effect worldwide in the second half of 2021, we could expect another adjustment to the entry rules to China. However, the full resumption of normal entry of foreigners may require herd immunity to be established when the global vaccination coverage against covid-19 reaches 70-80% in the second half of 2022.
 
 
 
 

Latest Entry Policy: China Travel Restrictions Due to Covid-19


On the entry of foreigners into China, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Immigration Administration of China had issued two announcements, respectively on March 26th 2020 (still valid), and September 23rd 2020 (latest supplement).

 

Announcement on Entry by Foreign Nationals Holding Valid Chinese Residence Permits of Three Categories

By Ministry of Foreign Affairs & National Immigration Administration of the People’s Republic of China, on September 23rd 2020
 
From 0:00 am on September 28th 2020, foreigners holding valid Chinese residence permits for work, private affairs and reunion are allowed to enter China without applying for new visas. If the above three types of residence permits held by foreigners expired after 0:00 am on March 28th 2020, the holders can apply for corresponding visas to Chinese embassies or consulates with the expired residence permits and relevant documents under the condition that the purpose of coming to China remains unchanged. The above-mentioned personnel should strictly abide by China's regulations on epidemic prevention and management.
 
Other measures in the Announcement issued on March 26th 2020 will continue to be implemented.

 

Announcement on the Temporary Suspension of Entry by Foreign Nationals Holding Valid Chinese Visas or Residence Permits

By Ministry of Foreign Affairs & National Immigration Administration of the People’s Republic of China, on March 26th 2020
 
From 0:00 am on March 28th 2020, foreigners holding current valid Chinese visas and residence permits will be temporarily suspended from entering China. Suspend entry of foreigners with APEC Business Travel Cards. Entry by port visas, 24/72/144-hour visa-free transit, Hainan 30-day visa-free policy, 15-day visa-free entry for cruise group tour through Shanghai Port, Guangdong 144-hour visa-free policy for foreign tour groups from Hong Kong or Macau, and Guangxi 15-day visa-free entry for tour groups of ASEAN countries will also be temporarily suspended.
 
Entry with diplomatic, service (official), courtesy, or C visas will not be affected. Foreigners may apply for visas to Chinese embassies or consulates if they are coming to China for necessary economic, trade, scientific and technological activities, or out of emergency humanitarian needs. Entry of foreigners holding visas issued after the announcement will not be affected.

 
♦ Summary: Who can enter China now? 3 Groups
1. Foreigners with Chinese diplomatic, service (official), courtesy, or C visas;
2. Foreigners holding Chinese visas issued on or after March 28th 2020;
3. Foreigners holding one of the three categories of valid Chinese residence permits, for work, private affairs, or reunion; if a foreigner’s Chinese residence permit for work, private affairs, or reunion expired after March 28th 2020, he / she can apply for a new visa to enter China with the same purpose as his / her last entry.
 
♦ Special Note: Residence permits are different from visas!
Residence permits can be applied by foreigners to China Exit-Entry Administration in 30 days after entering China with their relevant visas, for a longer stay and multiple entries and exits. See Example A. The “Purpose for Residence” represents the type. Those marked with “work”, “private affairs”, or “reunion” in line with the announcement on September 23rd 2020 are the three types allowed to enter into China now. Read more about Chinese Residence Permit.
 
Visas are issued by Chinese embassies and consulates abroad. See Example B. Read more about China Visa.
Residence Permit of China
Example A: Foreigner Residence Permit
China Visa Sample
Example B: China Visa
 

How to Enter China Now & What to Prepare (Updated: June 15th, 2021)


Foreigners who meet the requirements in the latest entry policy of China stated above, including two official announcements on September 23rd and March 26th 2020, can enter China in accordance with China's epidemic prevention regulations, which include but are not limited to the declaration of health status, the body temperature measurement on board the plane, the epidemic prevention inspection after entry, and the centralized or home quarantine at entry ports.
 

Documents and Conditions Required for Entry (5 Items)

 
1. Valid Passport
 
2. Valid Residence Permit or Visa in Accordance with Latest Entry Policy
(Any of the following 3 types)
 
A: Chinese diplomatic, service (official), courtesy, or C visas;
B: Chinese visas issued on or after March 28th 2020;
C: Chinese residence permits, for work, private affairs, or reunion.
 
3. Exit/Entry Health Declaration Form of the People's Republic of China
Where to get the form: 2 ways
 
A: Paper form: issued on international flights to China or at the China customs (English version available);
B: Online form: on the official website of the General Administration of Customs of P.R. China (English version available); or through WeChat mini program “海关旅客指尖服务” (only Chinese version).
 
♦ Please fill this form truthfully and completely, including the traveler’s personal information, exit/entry information, contact number and address, countries or regions visited during the past 14 days, contact history with confirmed, suspected, or symptomless cases of covid-19 during the past 14 days, symptoms and medication, and covid-19 test and vaccination during the past 14 days. One will take the legal responsibility in case of false declaration.
 
4. Health Declaration Certificate (HDC)
Health Declaration Certificate (HDC)Since November 2020, all Chinese and foreign passengers taking flights from abroad to China must complete the sampling and tests of covid-19 nucleic acid and covid-19 serology IgM antibody within 48 hours before boarding. The negative proof of the two tests and other materials required by the local Chinese embassy or consulate must be timely uploaded, through the English edition of “epidemic prevention health code international edition” for foreign passengers while through WeChat mini program of “epidemic prevention health code international edition” for Chinese passengers, to apply for an HDC code (foreign passengers) or HS code (Chinese passengers). Qualified passengers will be given a digital green health code by Chinese embassy or consulate. This code and the paper proof of the test results will be checked by the airline when you board the flight.
 
♦ Explanations on HDC:
① The covid-19 nucleic acid test and covid-19 serology IgM antibody test should be taken at the designated institutions announced by Chinese embassy or consulate at your departure country. Results from other testing institutions will not be accepted. Both of the two tests must be negative. If you have been injected with the covid-19 vaccine, you still need to take the above two tests, and please upload the certificate of vaccination together with the negative results of the two tests, to apply for the health code online.
 
② 48 hours: If your flight time is 7:00 am on August 10th Beijing Time, you need the test results between 7:00 am on August 8th and 10th to apply for an HDC. It is suggested to take samples in the morning of August 8th, upload and apply immediately after getting the results, and leave enough time for review. There might be a sampling date, issuing date, printing date, etc. on the test certificate. Please count from the sampling time of the earlier one of the two tests. Within 48 hours after that time, the HDC you have obtained will be valid for boarding.
 
③ Other materials required by the local Chinese embassy or consulate include residence permit, itinerary information, and proof of covid-19 vaccination (if already vaccinated).
 
④ Colors of health code: A green code with HDC or HS is valid, red is unqualified and invalid, while grey means out of time. The countdown above the green code shows the valid time. Please make sure your boarding time is before this.
 
⑤ About connecting flights: NOT recommended! Another two tests of covid-19 nucleic acid and covid-19 serology IgM antibody must be done at the transit country, and you need to apply for a second HDC to board the next flight to China. Some transit airports do not have designated test institutions, and some Chinese embassies and consulates do not accept the HS or HDC code applications of passengers from a third country to China. Therefore, in order to reduce the risk of infection during the journey and avoid being stranded, remember to choose a direct flight to China.
 
5. Good Health Condition by Boarding
Your body temperature will be measured for several times at the airport and on boarding the plane. Passengers with fever will not be allowed to board.

 
 

Quarantine after Entry: 14+7+7 (Updated: June 15th, 2021)


Centralized Quarantine in Designated Hotel♦ 14 days centralized quarantine: Stay at a designated hotel and not able to go out.
♦ 7 days home quarantine: Stay at home and not able to go out. If you don’t have a residence in your entry city, a 7-day centralized quarantine will be continued.
♦ 7 days health monitoring: You can go out, leave the entry city and move to other cities in China, but avoid joining group activities. Measure your body temperature every day and report immediately if you feel unwell.

Each city's quarantine time requirements for passengers entering China are slightly different, e.g. Xi 'an requires 21 days centralized quarantine, 7 days home quarantine, and 14 days health monitoring.
 

Centralized Quarantine

1. All passengers entering China from abroad are required to be quarantined for 14 days for medical observation at a designated site.
2. Quarantine place: You will be directly transferred by a special vehicle from the airport to the hotel designated by the government. You can’t choose a hotel by yourself.
3. Two covid-19 nucleic acid tests will be taken at the beginning of the quarantine.
4. Your body temperature will be measured twice a day. Please cooperate with the medical personnel to collect samples or carry out other examinations.
5. Self-health monitoring: In case of fever, cough, fatigue, dyspnea, diarrhea, vomiting, red and sore eyes and other symptoms, please report in the first time for inspection, transfer and treatment.
Use WeChat to scan to check risk areas6. If you're traveling with family or friends, you could request to be quarantined in the same hotel, but not guaranteed to be in the same room. Some hotels require each person to live in a single room. You are not allowed to visit each other or go out of the hotel.
7. The medical expenses of confirmed, suspected, or symptomless cases of covid-19 imported from overseas with basic medical insurance or commercial insurance shall be paid in accordance with relevant regulations or contracts. Without insurance, the medical expenses shall be paid by the patients themselves.
8. The cost of accommodation and food during the quarantine shall be paid by oneself, about CNY 400 to 600 a day.
 

Quarantine policy for inter-city travel within the country will change according to case reports and risk levels. Generally, people from medium and high risk areas are requested for longer quarantine time, plus nucleic acid test.
 

 At present, 2 areas in Guangzhou are in high risk, and 12 areas in Guangzhou, Foshan, and Zhanjiang of Guangdong Province are in medium risk, while other places in China are in low risk, so the inter-city travel is generally easy after the above entry quarantine. Please read the next section on how to travel around after quarantine.
 
 

Travel Restrictions after Quarantine: What do you need during your visit?


When the quarantine ends, and all your physical indicators are normal, you will get a quarantine certificate and a negative nucleic acid test result. Now you can travel, work, and live just like ordinary Chinese people.
 

4 Things You Need

1

Passport

2

Mask

3

Local Health Code

Local Health Code
4

Big Data Travel Card

Communications Big Data Travel Card
♦ Explanations:
1. Mask:
Wear a mask when going to public places such as scenic spots, airports, train stations, and some closed and crowded places. Cooperate with staff to measure temperature, register, and comply with other epidemic prevention regulations.
 
2. Local Health Code: 
China's provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities have their own QR code systems for epidemic prevention. When traveling to different cities, you need to use the mobile app WeChat to scan the QR code to get your own health code and show it to the security staff.
? Green codes allow normal pass.
? Yellow codes for restricted access: Yellow codes are given to people with fever, cough, fatigue, dyspnea, diarrhea, conjunctival congestion and other symptoms, people from medium-risk areas, and possible contacts with confirmed, suspected, or symptomless cases of covid-19 during the past 14 days.
? Red code holders are not allowed into public places: Red codes are given to confirmed, suspected, and symptomless cases of covid-19,close contacts of those cases, people from high-risk areas, or people who are under centralized quarantine.
 
Click here to scan and get the health codes of different places in China. It is expected that by the second half of 2021, all parts of China will implement the national recognition of unified health code.
 
3. Communications Big Data Travel Card:
The Big Data Travel Card is a service provided by China Telecom, China Mobile, and China Unicom for free, for their users to search and get certificates of the countries (regions) and domestic cities they have visited in the past 14 days. Use mobile apps WeChat or Alipay to scan the code to access the query page, enter the phone number and click to obtain the verification code, enter the verification code to confirm the query and get the result. The result and the color of the card are for reference, and not compulsive for traveling, so if you do not have a Chinese mobile number, don’t worry. Please prepare well other of your identification and certificates for possible checking.
 
4. Other non-essential documents can be brought with you if you have, including the negative results of covid-19 nucleic acid test and covid-19 serology IgM antibody test, certificate of covid-19 vaccination, etc.
 

Travel Tips

1. Make sure that your mobile phone has enough power and good network, for scanning and displaying the health code any time in public places.
2. Pay attention to the limit of tourist flow of the scenic areas and make an online reservation if necessary. Buy tickets and pay online to reduce human contact.
3. Keep hands clean: Wash hands frequently or use waterless hand sanitizer. Do not touch eyes, mouth and nose with uncleaned hands.
4. Maintain a social distance of more than 1 meter and avoid participating in gathering activities.
5. If you have fever, cough and other uncomfortable feelings during the journey, you should immediately wear a mask and try to avoid taking public transportation. Go to the fever clinic of the nearest medical institution in time and inform the doctor of your travel history.

 
 

Why do you need to book a trip with us? Save all the troubles above!


Our Travel ConsultantWhen you meet all the above requirements and get a chance to enter into China, it is still a great difficulty if you travel independently. Welcome to contact us to enjoy a worry-free guided tour!
 
1. How can you enter and where are the safest places to visit in China? We will help you understand the latest entry and quarantine policies and China travel restrictions. Our travel experts are offering 24*7 service to assist you, helping you prepare the entry documents, get the Health Declaration Certificate (HDC), and plan a reasonable itinerary with right low-risk destinations to avoid the impact of the covid-19 on your trip. You can rest assured in case of an outbreak, for we will assist you with safety protection and immediate transfer.
 
2. Our professional customer service staff can book the hotels, air tickets, train tickets, and scenic spots for you, saving you a lot of troubles. Many hotels in China do not accept foreigners. We can help you select well-located brand hotels, with quality facilities and service, and the most importantly, with good disinfection and sanitary environment. Some scenic spots require real-name reservation, and some limit visitor flow. If you book a guided tour with us, you do not need to worry about these. We will arrange all things well for you.
 
3. Strict anti-epidemic measures during travel: We have health and temperature monitoring for our staff, to ensure all of the guides and drivers you contact are safe and sound. We will also measure your body temperature, and provide you with masks and hand sanitizer for free use. In addition, our vehicles are cleaned and disinfected every day. The restaurants we choose for you are strictly selected, with clean and hygienic environment.
 
4. We feature tailor-made tour service! No matter you are traveling from abroad or living in China for a long time, whether you are seeking a long expedition or a weekend getaway, a study tour or a business trip, we have senior travel consultants with more than 10 years’ experience to customize tour plans to meet every of your specific needs.
 
5. Worry-free cancellation and change: Due to the uncertainty of epidemic prevention and control, you should be prepared to make changes to your travel plan. If you decide to cancel or reschedule the trip due to an outbreak or other force majeure, we would fully respect your decision and cooperate with you to process the refund or rescheduling as soon as possible.
 
6. Book in advance to enjoy an early bird bonus: After the epidemic, there would be a booking peak. It is wise to book now with us and get a discount. For guided tours in 2021 to China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Mongolia, India, Nepal, Egypt or any other countries served by us, 10% discount will be available if you book 60 days in advance and 5% off if you book 30 days in advance.
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- Last modified on Jun. 15, 2021 -