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China Travel Restrictions

Traveler's COVID-19 vaccination status

Traveling from the United States to China

Open for vaccinated visitors

COVID-19 testing

Not required

Not required for vaccinated visitors

Restaurants

Recommended on public transportation.

China entry details and exceptions

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Can I travel to China from the United States?

Most visitors from the United States, regardless of vaccination status, can enter China.

Can I travel to China if I am vaccinated?

Fully vaccinated visitors from the United States can enter China without restrictions.

Can I travel to China without being vaccinated?

Unvaccinated visitors from the United States can enter China without restrictions.

Do I need a COVID test to enter China?

Visitors from the United States are not required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test or antigen result upon entering China.

Can I travel to China without quarantine?

Travelers from the United States are not required to quarantine.

Do I need to wear a mask in China?

Mask usage in China is recommended on public transportation.

Are the restaurants and bars open in China?

Restaurants in China are open. Bars in China are .

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China Travel Restrictions 2021/2022: An Explainer (Updated)

This article was originally posted on December 30, 2021, and last updated on December 16, 2022, to reflect the latest China travel restrictions.

From Zero-COVID to Living with COVID:  China has shifted from its zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19 to dismantling the majority of its prevention measures in a matter of weeks. While these long-awaited changes are welcomed by many, they also pose new challenges and risks for businesses and the economy. Businesses in China must take the necessary steps now to mitigate the potential impact of labor shortages and supply chain strain that may come with a surge in cases. Read our article here  to see the latest updates to China’s COVID policy and how businesses can prepare in the coming months.

UPDATE (December 13, 2022): Hong Kong lifts all COVID-19 curbs on inbound travelers. At a press briefing on Tuesday, December 13, Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee announced two new changes to the region’s COVID-19 prevention system that will effectively nullify the “0+3” self-isolation requirement for inbound travelers. The first adjustment is the scrapping of QR codes on the “Leave Home Safe” app before entering various premises. However, the government will maintain the vaccine pass, and proof of three inoculations with a COVID-19 vaccine will still be required to enter certain premises, such as restaurants. The second adjustment is the scrapping of the “amber code”, a code issued to all arrivals in Hong Kong that restricts people from entering public premises for a period of three days. Instead, everyone who tests negative for COVID-19 will be issued with a blue code in their vaccine pass which will give them free access to public places. The government had previously removed the requirement for travelers to take a PCR test upon arrival, and from Tuesday, December 13 onward only need to take a rapid antigen test (RAT). The new adjustments to the QR and amber codes will be effective from Wednesday, December 14 onwards.

UPDATE (December 12, 2022): Hong Kong further loosens quarantine requirements. According to a notice posted on the Hong Kong government website, from Friday, December 9 onwards, the quarantine period for people infected with COVID-19 has been reduced from seven days to just five days. People that have tested positive for COVID-19 can now be released from quarantine if they test negative on a rapid antigen test (RAT) on days 4 and 5 after being placed into quarantine. Close contacts of infected people can now also be discharged on day 5 if they test negative on a RAT every day for the duration of the quarantine period. In addition, people arriving from Taiwan or overseas will now only be required to take RATs after arrival in Hong Kong, rather than a nucleic acid test. Previously, overseas arrivals were required to take nucleic acid tests on the first two days after arrival. The new requirements are effective from December 9 onward and apply retroactively to people who arrived in Hong Kong prior to this date and are still in self-isolation as of December 9. 

UPDATE (December 12, 2022): China’s travel code to go offline from December 13. Chinese media have reported that the travel code (通信行程卡), which was used to track whether people had traveled to areas with COVID-19 cases, will officially go offline from December 13 onward. All of the travel codes services, including text messages, web pages, the standalone app, and the Alipay and WeChat mini-programs, will no longer be accessible from this date. The retiring of the travel code marks the latest move to dismantle China’s COVID-19 prevention and control infrastructure.

UPDATE (December 7, 2022): China abandons the health code and centralized quarantine, along with new relaxed measures.

As of December 7, 2022, the National Health Commission held a press conference to release further optimization of COVID-19 measures. The adjusted regulations read as below:

  • Risk areas confined to building and specific floors: Moving forward, risk areas will only be identified by the specific apartment, building, unit, or floor. Authorities are not allowed to arbitrarily classify a whole residential community, neighborhood, district, etc. in a high-risk region.
  • Health Code and COVID-19 tests requirements: PCR tests will still be required in high-risk areas. However, other venues, establishments, or public places—aside from nursing homes, medical facilities, kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, etc.—will no longer require testing or performing health code checks. Additionally, people traveling to China Additionally, if you travel to China, will no longer be asked to check their health code upon arrival if the COVID-19 test results are negative.
  • Infected people can now isolate at home:  Infected people, including those who are asymptomatic or have “minor” symptoms, can isolate at home or in a dedicated facility. After six-to-seven days of home isolation, if double COVID-19 test results are negative, the patient will be released from isolation. Close contacts will also be able to conduct home quarantine for five days or can choose to isolate in a dedicated facility.
  • Put “Quickly Lockdown, Quickly Release” into practice: After five days in a row with no new reported cases, high-risk areas (now only specified to particular floors and rooms in buildings)
  • Make sure that everyone has access to health care: All pharmacies should be open for business and should not be forced to close. Online and offline sales of over-the-counter medications shouldn’t be prohibited.
  • Vaccinate senior citizens: To increase the immunization rate for those between the ages of 60 and 79 as well as those 80 and older, all communities should adhere to the maxim “do everything feasible.”
  • Improve population health status: Family physicians and neighborhood clinics would be granted complete authority as the “gatekeepers of health.”
  • Make sure society runs normally and that basic medical services are available: Personnel mobility must not be restricted, and labor, manufacturing, or business operations must not be stopped in low-risk locations.
  • Implement security: To guarantee that individuals may leave to go to a doctor for medical treatment and emergency refuge, it is completely prohibited to block fire routes, unit doors, and community doors in a variety of ways.
  • Improve prevention and control measures in education: Nationwide criteria for accurate prevention and control should be firmly implemented in schools. Schools that are not affected by the virus should continue their regular offline instruction, and on-campus stores, canteens, stadiums, and libraries should operate normally.

UPDATE (December 4, 2022):  Major cities in China ease COVID-19 requirements to access public transport and places.

Several cities in China have declared that negative COVID-19 test results will no longer be required to ride public transport according to the optimization of control measures. Most cities also removed the negative test requirement to enter public spaces such as bars, restaurants, museums, and other establishments (apart from healthcare, educational, and certain other institutions). The list of municipalities and cities that announced changes includes: Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shijiazhuang, Tianjin, Harbin, Luoyang, Zhengzhou, Dalian, Jinzhou, Shenyang, Taiyuan, Xi’an, Shanghai , and Chengdu.

UPDATE (November 29, 2022): China announces progress in COVID-19 vaccination and encourages booster shots for elderly groups.

  In a press conference held on November 29, 2022, the National Health Commission (NHC) disclosed that as of November 28, 2022,  the number of people over the age of 60 who were vaccinated and fully vaccinated reached 239.4 million and 228.165 million, accounting for 90.68 percent and 86.42 percent of the elderly population, respectively. The number of people over the age of 60 who have received booster shots reached 181.511 million. A total of 23.5663 million people over the age of 80 were fully vaccinated, accounting for 65.8 percent of the age group, a significant increase from 40 percent on November 11, 2022. The number of people over the age of 80 who have received booster shots reached 14.456 million. However, the vaccination rate for older people in China is generally below that of the US and Singapore. The NHC recommended that people without contraindications who are eligible for vaccination, especially the elderly, should be vaccinated as soon as possible, and those eligible for booster shots should be vaccinated as soon as possible.

UPDATE (NOVEMBER 11, 2022):  China further shortens mandatory hotel quarantine period for international arrivals, cancels the circuit breaker mechanism for inbound flights, and requires only one negative PCR test within 48 hours before boarding.  

According to a  circular  released by the National Health Commission (NHC) on Friday, November 11, 2022, China will ease some of its COVID-19 rules to better balance COVID-19 prevention and control with economic and social development. Among others, the below adjustments have been introduced:

  • For close contacts and inbound travelers, the quarantine requirement will change from “7 days centralized quarantine + 3 days home health monitoring” to “5 days centralized quarantine + 3 days home quarantine”. Upon the completion of the quarantine at the first point of entry, the quarantine at the destination will not be repeated for inbound travelers.
  • Secondary close contacts will no longer be traced.
  • For people passing through high-risk areas, the quarantine requirement will change from “7 days centralized quarantine” to “7 days home quarantine”.
  • The three categories of “high-risk areas, medium-risk areas, low-risk areas” will be simplified to two categories—”high-risk areas and low-risk areas”.
  • Areas that are not experiencing outbreaks are discouraged from mass testing.
  • The circuit breaker mechanism for inbound flights will be abolished, and the requirement of “two negative nucleic acid tests within 48 hours before boarding” will be adjusted to “one negative nucleic acid test within 48 hours before boarding”.
  • Important inbound business personnel, sports groups, and other groups will be exempted from quarantine by staying within a “closed-loop bubble” throughout the duration of their stay in China, which means “point-to-point” transfer to the isolation-free closed-loop management area.
  • China will intensify efforts to address the “one-size-fits-all” problem of COVID-19 prevention measures. It is strictly prohibited to arbitrarily close schools and classes, suspend production, block traffic without approval, arbitrarily adopt “static management”, arbitrarily impose lockdowns, and so on.
  • During a COVID-19 outbreak, China shall make every effort to ensure the smooth flow of logistics. It is prohibited to arbitrarily ask key enterprises that are engaged in the overall industrial chain or provide services or products that affect people’s livelihoods to suspend production.
  • China Briefing continues its coverage of updates on China travel restrictions on foreign nationals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In this article, we provide an overview of the latest China travel restrictions, including the latest regulations on flights to China, how to obtain a Chinese visa, China entry requirements during COVID, and current China quarantine rules.
  • For regular COVID-19 updates, you can check our COVID-19 tracker , which is updated every weekday.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020, China has imposed a strict “zero Covid” policy to prevent the spread of the virus and keep cases as close to zero as possible.

This policy has been largely successful, with the highest number of COVID-19 cases in 2021 numbering in the low thousands, far below that of many other countries.

Despite high hopes at the beginning of 2021 that China would begin to relax its rules and entry requirements, the recent Delta and Omicron outbreaks have only impelled the government to double down on prevention measures, including reducing the number of international flight routes, increasing the length of quarantines on arrival, and amping up domestic prevention measures.

In this article, we explain how foreigners can enter China – from booking a flight to obtaining a visa to undergoing pre- and post-flight testing and quarantine – and offer an overview of China’s domestic COVID-19 prevention measures and policies.

Flights to China

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) is responsible for approving direct international flight routes to and from China, as well as the airlines approved to operate on these routes. To see the dates of currently scheduled flights approved by the CAAC, look up the departure city and destination on the CAAC website’s flight search (Chinese only).

The CAAC recently announced an increase in the number of weekly flights for the winter and spring seasons. According to a notice published on the central government website, in the period from October 30, 2022, to March 25, 2023, foreign and domestic airlines can operate a total of 840 passenger flights a week, an increase of 105.9 percent from the same period in 2021 and 2022. In addition, a total of 6,148 weekly cargo flights can be operated, an increase of 6.7 percent from the same period the year before.

In response to the announcement, several Chinese airlines, including Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, and Xiamen Airlines have announced new international flight routes starting from the week of November 1, 2022. China Airlines’ new flight routes include Beijing to Johannesburg, Chongqing to Budapest, and Chongqing to Ho Chi Minh City, according to a report from The Global Times .

In order to implement the State Council’s requirements for an orderly increase of international passenger flights as soon as possible, several airline companies in China have announced the resumption or increase in the number of international routes. Among them:

  • China Eastern Airlines plans to increase its weekly international routes to 42 and flights to 108 flights from October 30, 2022, up from 25 routes and 54 flights in mid-October.
  • In November, China Eastern Airlines will continue to resume and increase its international routes with Manila and Ho Chi Minh.
  • China Southern Airlines announced that it would increase its weekly international flights from 71 to 86.
  • Hainan Airlines plans to increase international flights between Chongqing and Rome to two a week from November 6, 2022.
  • The official WeChat account of Air China announced that it would resume several international routes.
  • Spring Airlines said on its official WeChat account on October 13 that it would start operating multiple routes with Hong Kong and Macao and other international routes from October 14, 2022.
  • Juneyao Airlines has resumed and added some international routes in October with Seoul and Osaka.

These moves are mostly to answer the demand for business travel and don’t mean that China will resume large-scale international travel soon, according to a Caixin report. China has gradually eased COVID-19 prevention measures for international travelers over the past few months. Nevertheless, the number of daily cross-border flights is only five percent of that in 2019. 

As of November 11, 2022, China has abolished the “circuit breaker” mechanism for controlling the number of inbound flights, which would see flight routes suspended if passengers tested positive for COVID-19 after arrival in China. This is a major step toward increasing the number of flights to China and will reduce the number of flight cancelations and delays.

China travel restrictions

China has imposed strict travel restrictions on international arrivals since March 2020 to stop the introduction of COVID-19 cases from abroad. Since then, the restrictions have successively been loosened and tightened again in response to the changing situation of the pandemic worldwide.

In addition to the reduced frequency of international passenger flights, restrictions include limited visa availability (including a suspension of tourist visas) and strict COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements before and after arrival in China.

Overview of past China travel restrictions

China has been adjusting its travel/entry policies from time to time based on the global pandemic situation, and so far, it has implemented four major phases of travel restrictions.

Phase I: China first imposed travel restrictions on March 28, 2020. At this time, foreigners from all countries were prohibited from entering China on most types of visas. Exceptions were given to those who held diplomatic, service, courtesy, or C visas; those traveling to China for necessary economic, trade, scientific, or technological activities; or out of emergency humanitarian needs. New visas issued after March 28, 2020 were not affected.

Phase II: The Phase I restrictions were temporarily lifted in September 2020, when foreigners  with valid residence permits for work, personal matters, and reunion, would be allowed to  enter the country without needing to re-apply for new visas.

Those whose visas or residence permits had expired in the meantime could re-apply for relevant visas by presenting the expired residence permits, without requiring a new invitation letter. The re-application had to be on the condition that the purpose of the visa or permit holders’ visit to China  remained unchanged.

Phase III:   On November 3, 2020, due to the worsening pandemic in several areas of the world, China re-imposed the initial rules set out in March of 2020 for foreign nationals from the following countries: the UK, France, Italy, Belgium, Russia, Ukraine, Philippines, Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Uzbekistan, and South Africa.

Under this policy,  foreigners from these countries will need to fully follow the entry rules set during Phase I restrictions. New visas issued after November 3, 2020 were not affected.

Phase IV: In early March 2021, China   announced that travelers who have received Chinese COVID-19 vaccines and obtained the vaccination certificate can enjoy streamlined visa applications from March 15, 2021. We discuss this in more detail below.

Obtaining a visa to China

At present, foreigners are permitted to enter China if they have a valid residence permit or a corresponding visa obtained after March 28, 2020 (except for foreign nationals from the countries exempted in Phase III). Foreign nationals from the countries listed in Phase III are only permitted entry if they have obtained a visa or residence permit after November 3, 2020, when the Phase III restrictions were imposed.

Below is an overview of the types of visas that are currently being issued by Chinese visa offices.

In addition to the above scenarios, foreign nationals who have been inoculated with a Chinese COVID-19 vaccine can enjoy an easier visa application procedure with looser requirements, although they are still limited to the above visa types. The applicants will be required to provide the vaccination certificate along with the other application documents.

The loosened application requirements are:

  • Standard application procedure – the same as before the COVID-19 pandemic – for foreign nationals and their family members who travel to China for purposes of “resuming work and production”.
  • A looser definition of ‘emergency need’ for application to a humanitarian visa. The definition can be expanded to include reuniting with family in China, elderly care, and visiting relatives.
  • APEC business travel card holders can apply for a business visa (M visa) by presenting the original valid APEC business travel card and an invitation letter issued by the inviting party in mainland China.

The below visa types are currently not being issued:

  • Tourist visa (L visa)
  • Student visa (X1 and X2 visa) (except for South Korean nationals)

The following visa-free policies are also currently suspended:

  • 24/72/144-hour visa-free transit policy
  • Hainan 30-day visa-free policy
  • 15-day visa-free policy for foreign cruise group tours through Shanghai Port
  • Guangdong 144-hour visa-free policy for foreign group tours from Hong Kong or Macao SAR
  • Guangxi 15-day visa-free policy for foreign tour groups of ASEAN countries

In early June, China waived the requirement for a PU letter (a government-issued invitation letter) for work visas (Z visas) and visas for dependent family members (Q visa).

The following types of foreign travelers will no longer be required to apply for a PU Letter, and they will be able to apply for a Chinese work visa/Z-visa to the relevant Chinese authorities abroad by presenting their Notification Letter of Foreigner’s Work Permit or proof of family relationship:

  • Foreigners who have been approved by the competent authorities to work in China and hold a valid Notification Letter of Foreigner’s Work Permit.
  • Foreign dependents whose spouse has been approved to work in China (including those who are already in the country), and their children under the age of 18 years.

Visa application waiver for APEC card holders and students with residence permits

Effective from August 24, 2022, foreigners who hold a valid APEC card to conduct business in China and foreign students with a valid residence permit for study purposes can enter China without applying for a new visa, as per the announcement of the Chinese embassies in various countries. In addition, China will also resume accepting Study X1-Visa applications from foreigners applying to study in China for more than 180 days. Please consult the respective embassy website of  Myanmar , Thailand , Singapore , Malaysia , Indonesia , Nepal , Kazakhstan , Palestine , Bahrain , Kyrgyzstan , Pakistan , Tajikistan , Qatar , Italy , Ireland , the United Kingdom , Sweden , Montenegro , Malta , Algeria , South Africa , Rwanda , Liberia , Zambia , Tanzania , Mexico , Canada , Cuba , Brazil for further clarification. The Chinese embassy in India has also updated the “Application Procedures and Material Requirements of China Visa” , to be implemented starting August 24, 2022.

Possible return of tourism to China

China has begun to consider reopening its border to some foreign tourists. On September 16, 2022, China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism released an exposure draft of the  Measures for Border Tourism Administration for public comment until September 29, 2022. According to the exposure draft, China will encourage its border areas to create distinctive border tourism destinations, specify that border tourism groups can flexibly choose entry and exit ports, and remove preconditions, such as border travel approval and some entry and exit document requirements. Some analysts  believe it’s a positive sign that China will make it easier for foreigners to enter the country, though only foreign tourists as part of tour groups would be allowed to visit specific border tourism sites. More details are yet to be released regarding issues, such as whether such tourists need to follow China’s quarantine requirements for inbound travelers.

Pre-flight requirements

Since July 20, 2020, the CAAC has required both foreign and Chinese passengers flying into China to obtain COVID-19 negative certificates, known as green Health Declaration Certificate (HDC) codes, before boarding if they are flying from or transiting in any of these countries .

Pre-flight COVID-19 testing

As of November 11, 2022, passengers traveling to China are only required to take one nucleic acid (PCR) COVID-19 test within 48 hours of traveling to mainland China. This is a reduction from the previous requirement of two tests prior to the flight. If the passenger has to transit in a third city or country to travel to China, the test can now also be done in either the initial place of departure or the transit city, provided the test is done within 48 hours of boarding the flight to mainland China. Previously, passengers had to take the test in both the initial departure city and the transit city.

The COVID-19 tests must be done at facilities designated or recognized by Chinese embassies in the host country. The Chinese embassies will carefully assess the testing capacity of host countries and formulate travel procedures when testing conditions are met. Check the local Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) website for lists of designated testing facilities in the country of departure.

Applying for a green HS/HDC code

After having taken the requisite COVID-19 test, passengers must apply for a green HS code (for Chinese nationals) or a green HDC code (for foreign nationals). Foreign nationals can apply for HDC codes by registering on the MOFA website and Chinese nationals can apply for HS codes on the WeChat mini program “防疫健康码国际版”.

The following documents are required when applying for the HDC code:

  • Negative COVID-19 test results
  • Flight itinerary
  • Other (check the local MOFA website for a detailed list of required documents as each departure city may have different requirements).

The HDC and HS codes are valid for two days from the date of the COVID-19 test.

The green HDC code can now be obtained from the consulate or embassy in the place where the test was conducted. Passengers no longer need to obtain the code in the city from which the direct flight to China departs, unless that is also the place where the test is issued.

Travelers are advised to check the guidance of the airline they are flying with for information on airport COVID-19 testing facilities and for any other COVID-19 restrictions or requirements of the origin or transit countries that could interfere with travel plans.

China quarantine rules

China has further reduced the period of mandatory quarantine and self-isolation for international arrivals to just five days of centralized hotel quarantine plus three days of self-isolation in a hotel or at home (the “5+3” policy). The cost of the quarantine hotel must be covered by the passenger, and generally ranges between RMB 350 (US$55) and RMB 600 (US$94) per day, depending on the quality of the hotel. The passenger generally cannot choose which hotel they will be quarantined in, although sometimes they will be given the option to choose between different price points.

During this time, you will not be permitted to leave your hotel room for any reason. Travelers are generally required to quarantine in separate hotel rooms, but children under the age of 14 are permitted to quarantine in the same room as a parent. You will also be required to take regular COVID-19 tests throughout the duration of your stay at the quarantine hotel.

Some people can apply for an exemption to centralized quarantine and get permission to quarantine at home for all or part of the five days. Those people include those who are:

  • Older than 70
  • Younger than 14
  • With an underlying medical condition

After being released from centralized quarantine, you must undergo three days of self-isolation, which can be done either at home or in another hotel if you do not have a home to go to. During this period, you must refrain from social gatherings and take a nucleic acid test on days 1 and 3.

Some cities may have additional self-isolation and/or testing requirements for people that arrive from abroad, even if they have completed the hotel quarantine and self-isolation in another mainland city. Health monitoring restrictions vary between districts and cities but may involve home quarantine (if you are a resident of the arrival city), restricted movement (such as only within the community where your house or hotel is situated), and regular COVID-19 tests and temperature checks.

China provincial travel restrictions

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 across provinces and cities in China, there are several domestic prevention measures in place for domestic travelers. The most common is the requirement to show a green health and travel code either before taking a train, plane, or bus to a different city or upon arrival.

Some cities will also require travelers to show a negative COVID-19 test taken in the last 48 hours, either before boarding the chosen mode of transport or upon arrival at the destination (or both).

Note that many hotels have temporarily stopped accepting foreign guests due to COVID-19 restrictions. Some that do accept foreign guests may also require them to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within the last 48 hours, even if the city itself does not impose this requirement.

If you are staying in any other specialized or restricted area, such as a school, university campus, or government facility, you may also be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test to enter even if there is no city-wide requirement. It is therefore advised to call ahead to ensure that the hotel or other accommodation can accept foreign guests and to confirm which documents are required to stay there.

Quarantine requirements for domestic arrivals depend on whether the traveler has been to a high-risk area (keep reading below for more details on China’s risk tier system).

All arrivals from high-risk areas within China are now required to undergo seven days of home quarantine and health monitoring, rather than seven days of the centralized hotel quarantine. During this period,  travelers must take a nucleic acid test on days 1, 3, 5, and 7.

Travelers can search the latest local travel requirements by entering the departure and destination city in the travel policy search tool on the State Council app or WeChat mini program. This service is currently only available in Chinese. To find the tool in WeChat, search “疫情服务” ( yìqíng fúwù – pandemic services) and then choose “出行防疫政策查询” ( chūxíng fángyì zhèngcè cháxún – travel pandemic prevention policy search) under the “tools” section (实用工具 – shíyòng gōngjù ).

In general, if you are traveling from a low-risk area, you will not be required to quarantine, although negative COVID-19 tests may be required.

Measures to reduce the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on service sector

On February 18, 2022, the country’s main economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), along with other government bodies, issued a list of supportive policies for the service sector, which, among other things, bans local governments from implementing lockdowns and travel restrictions without approval from the central government. Specifically, the policy list outlines several “must nots” for local authorities, which include:

  • Must not stop people from low-risk areas from returning to their hometowns;
  • Must not arbitrarily expand the scope of medium and high-risk areas;
  • Must not subject people from low-risk areas to measures such as centralized quarantine without authorization or arbitrarily extend the period of centralized quarantine;
  • Must not lock down cities or districts in breach of epidemic prevention regulations or unnecessarily interrupt public transport without approval;
  • Must not shut down or extend shutdowns of restaurants, supermarkets, scenic spots, movie theaters, and other service providers without a policy basis.

The policy measures will hopefully make it easier for people to travel between different regions in China, in particular those living in areas with medium and high-risk areas, and help boost domestic consumption.

China’s COVID-19 risk level system

China has previously imposed a three-tiered system for determining the risk level of a given jurisdiction in China, with the risk level divided into low-risk, medium-risk, and high-risk. However, On November 11, 2022, the NHC stated that the medium-risk designation would be abolished. Now, all of China is designated as “low risk” by default, and areas that have recorded a positive COVID-19 case in the last five days are classed as “high risk”. Check our COVID-19 tracker for the latest numbers of high-risk areas.

China’s National Health Commission also launched a WeChat mini program for citizens to check out the infection risk level of a certain area and for frontline workers to check the countries and cities visited by a traveler in the past 14 days. A ‘visit’ to a given city or region constitutes a stay of over four hours in total.

The program also allows users to check if they have taken the same public transport as a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.

China health code

As part of the domestic COVID-19 prevention measures, citizens are required to present a green health or travel code to enter public places and travel between cities in China.

There are two main health codes required for traveling within China: The Health Code (健康吗/随身吗) and the Travel Code (行程卡). Both health codes are embedded into the popular messaging app WeChat, operated by Tencent, and the payment app Alipay, operated by Alibaba. The travel code can also be downloaded as a standalone app.

To obtain the codes, residents must input information, including an ID number, home address, health status, contact history, and residence history, into the apps. The apps will then generate a green, yellow, or red QR code depending on their travel and contact history.

The health code tracks the holder’s health status based on location services and the information they have provided. Most cities use the same health code, which will update automatically to the local version based on the phone’s location services (see image below). However, some cities, such as Beijing (which uses a mini-program called the “Health Kit” (健康宝)), have their own standalone apps or mini-programs. You may therefore have to register for a separate local health code when traveling to certain cities.

China travel restrictions - Alipay health code

The travel code, meanwhile, tracks and lists all the cities you have traveled to in the last 14 days. It will turn yellow if you have traveled to a medium-risk area or red if you have traveled to a high-risk area in the last 14 days.

The significance of holding a green, yellow, or red health code differs in different cities and regions. A green health code generally means citizens can freely move around and travel to different cities, although some cities and regions will still require inbound travelers to quarantine or self-isolate upon arrival. The yellow or red code may subject the holder to seven and 14 days of quarantine respectively, at home or at a designated hotel.

Generally speaking, as long as you are traveling from a low-risk area, the green color in your health code system won’t change. But if you are from medium or high-risk areas, your travel to other Chinese provinces and cities will probably be restricted and you will be required to quarantine upon arrival.

Fast-track channels with foreign countries

China has set up fast-track channels with various countries that will make it easier for those traveling for essential business or official visits to travel to and from China. So far, China has signed fast-track agreements with Germany , France, South Korea , the UK , Japan , and Singapore .

In addition to the above, in November 2021, the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Shanghai announced that it had reached an agreement with the local Foreign Affairs Offices (FAO) to implement a US-China fast-track program in early 2022. Details of the fast-track program have yet to be released.

To qualify, applicants must get a letter from the local Chinese embassy granting approval for the fast lane program. Fast-track travelers are required to undergo COVID-19 testing before departure and after arrival in China. Those who test negative after arrival in China are not required to undergo centralized quarantine but must adhere to a strictly monitored itinerary for the first 14 days and take regular tests.

According to the European Chamber of China , supporting measures to facilitate the return of foreign nationals to China for urgent or necessary purposes are being conducted at a local level, including in Beijing, Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shandong, Shanghai, and Tianjin.

In Shanghai, the MOFA and the Shanghai Municipality Government have issued two channels – a normal channel and a fast track channel – to facilitate the entry into China of employees essential for business operations.

The fast-track channel is only applied to employees of companies whose country of origin has signed a fast-track agreement with China.

Employees entering Shanghai following the fast-track procedure will be allowed to start work within 48 hours after arrival, subject to negative COVID-19 test results. Those entering Shanghai following the normal procedure will be subject to a 14-day quarantine at a designated central facility. Please see our article here to understand the detailed application procedures.

For South Korea, in addition to the other fast-track privileges, China has also resumed issuing visas to South Korean students, employees hired to work in China, and those with residence permits.

China recognition of foreign vaccines

In April 2021, China confirmed it would accept US travelers inoculated with American-made vaccines. The Chinese Embassy in the United States issued a notice on April 21, 2021, allowing US passengers vaccinated with American-made non-inactivated vaccines to depart from Dallas and enter the Chinese mainland. The accepted American-made non-inactivated vaccines include vaccines made by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. The Notice required that passengers must get all the required shots before their trip to China. China-bound passengers are still required to provide positive IgM antibody test results as well as negative PCR test results.

Will China travel restrictions be loosened in 2022?

China has already loosened travel restrictions several times in 2022, but many restrictions still remain. Loosened restrictions include shortened mandatory hotel quarantine for inbound travelers from 14 days to just five, the removal of centralized hotel quarantine for domestic travelers from high-risk areas, shortened time period in which an area or district is designated as “high-risk”, and the abolishing secondary close contact tracking, among others.

These developments will make it considerably easier for people to travel to and around China and reduce the risk of lockdowns and closures for businesses and individuals.

However, the road toward the complete lifting of all restrictions and a change to “living with COVID” is still unclear. The EU Chamber of Commerce in China has stated in its European Business in China Position Paper 2022/2023 (Position Paper) that it does not anticipate a full reopening of the Chinese border until H2 2023.

Meanwhile, Chinese officials have repeatedly shot down speculation that China will abolish its “zero COVID”, or “dynamic clearing” policy, stating that the need for COVID-19 prevention measures has not gone away.   In an  interview  with CCTV on October 13, 2022, the Head of the National Health Commission’s expert group on epidemic control Liang Wannian reiterated the need to maintain zero-COVID in China because at present, China “cannot achieve a complete balance between the resistance of our health system and viral diseases” and that lifting of restrictions “will lead to a large number of infections, severe illness, and death” which would “lead to a run on the medical system, which in turn will further aggravate people’s fears and have a greater impact on society and the economy”. When asked about a possible timeline for return to normal life, he said that “from a scientific point of view, it is difficult to clearly delineate a specific time period”.

China’s zero-Covid policy has proven, thus far, to be extremely effective at preventing the spread of the virus through the population, even with the arrival of the more infectious Delta and Omicron variants. As of November 14, 2022, the official death toll is only 5,226, and the total number of confirmed infections is 268,753 – far below that of other countries.

Although the prevention measures would be considered drastic in other parts of the world, they largely have the support of the wider Chinese population. This is helped by the fact that due to the highly targeted nature of the lockdowns and travel restrictions, only a very small proportion of the population is affected at one time – usually only those living in the district or housing community in which a case was detected – thereby allowing the majority of the population to live life as normal.

In addition, the recent spread of the Omicron variant has given even more credence to China’s prevention strategy and has only led it to double down on its current policies. This is compounded by the fact that China’s domestic booster vaccines (which have been used to administer 1.27 billion doses as of November 4, 2022), appear to be weaker against the new Omicron variant than previous strains.

Apart from genuine concern for the health and well-being of the population and the stability of the healthcare system, China also has political and economic reasons for remaining unwavering in its zero-Covid stance.

During the first wave of COVID-19 in Wuhan in early 2020, the government found itself the subject of a rare bout of criticism from the general population as case numbers and the death toll rose. The government has since worked hard to regain the confidence of the people, and one way to do this is to ensure the basic livelihoods of the people – by providing fiscal stimulus and support, but above all else, by ensuring that COVID-19 is not permitted to spread as it did in early 2020.

On the other hand, the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on China was devastating – as it was in most of the world – and yet the country has succeeded in mostly bouncing back without reopening to foreign travel. One of the major contributors to the post-COVID recovery was domestic consumption, which has been greatly boosted by low COVID-19 numbers allowing a return to normal work and productivity.

In short, the economic impact of keeping borders closed is far lower than the impact of COVID-19 spreading through the population.

Going into 2023, what we may see instead, and what is suggested by the recent developments, is not necessarily a complete reopening, but instead further gradual steps toward relaxation, as well as a more flexible approach to allow local jurisdictions to adapt restrictions to local needs and conditions. The central government has previously admonished local governments for implementing a “one-size-fits-all” strategy for COVID-19 prevention, which has led to excessively strict or ineffective measures. The November 11 notice from the NHC explicitly calls for reining in excessive COVID-19 prevention measures, which cause significant disruption to business operations and the daily lives of individuals.

There are, of course, also some situations that could help convince authorities to further ease restrictions. One is the roll-out of a highly effective vaccine. China is developing its own mRNA vaccine, which may be approved for use soon . In addition to a domestic vaccine, the mRNA vaccine developed by Germany’s BioNTech has recently been approved for expats living in China, and the company has previously also reached an agreement with Shanghai Fosun Pharma to set up a 50-50 joint venture to produce and sell mRNA vaccines in China. Mean while, the Shanghai-based biopharma firm Everest Medicine has signed a license agreement with the Canadian biotech company Providence Therapeutics to produce and sell its potential mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in China. Everest Medicine hopes to complete their China factory by the end of the year.

In addition to an effective vaccine, an effective drug to treat COVID-19 could also mark a significant step toward reopening. On December 8, 2021, China’s top medicine regulator, the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) approved a neutralizing antibody combination therapy against COVID-19, which can be used for adults and adolescents with mild to moderate symptoms who are at risk of developing more severe symptoms. Clinical trials show a significant reduction in hospitalization and death, and the drug has already been used on patients in China.

As it currently stands, however, China is not ready to fully reopen quarantine-free travel, and restrictions are expected to persist. The next best thing may be further relaxing of travel restrictions, shortening of quarantines and lockdown periods, and potential “closed-loop” tourist areas in border regions.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates . The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done so since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at [email protected] .

Dezan Shira & Associates has offices in Vietnam , Indonesia , Singapore , United States , Germany , Italy , India , and Russia , in addition to our trade research facilities along the Belt & Road Initiative . We also have partner firms assisting foreign investors in The Philippines , Malaysia , Thailand , Bangladesh .

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  I.Visa Types and  Required Documents

  Annex 1  Important Tips for online COVA visa form filling

(1) Please carefully read the prompts and requirements of the COVA form system, and complete the entries of the visa application COVA online form step by step, making sure that the information is true, accurate and complete. Please note: Once the application form has been submitted, it cannot be modified in any way.

(2) The " location " option  for submitting the visa application should be in line with the consular jurisdiction.

(3) Basic personal information. Surname, given names, gender, date of birth, nationality, passport number, passport type, etc. must be exactly the same as those on the passport information page, otherwise your visa application will be returned.

(4) If you were born in China (including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan), please note:

1. Application form 1.1D The Chinese name (if applicable) must be entered in Chinese with the Chinese character input method, please do not fill in "Chinese", "Chinese", etc.

2. In the application form 1.6G, select "Yes" for "former nationality", and then select the nationality information.

3. Item 1.6H of the application form is required. If the applicant is applying for a Chinese visa for the first time, this entry will be automatically generated during the form filling process; but if the applicant has previously applied for a Chinese visa, this entry will not be displayed when filling in the online form, and the form must be printed out and supplemented by hand-written Chinese name and other information. This Item cannot be empty.

(5) Fill in the work experience and educational background

1. Please fill in the work experience in the past 5 years.

2. The “position” and “duty” of the application form 3.2D and 3.2E must be filled in completely.

3. Please fill in the highest diploma/degree in 4.1 , and the diploma/degree and major in 4.1B and 4.1C must be completed.

(6) Completely fill in each address

The address of the spouse in 5.5A of the application form must fill in the address of the current location, not the address of the place of birth. The address must be filled in completely, including street, city, state, and country.

(7) If you choose "not applicable" for any entry in the form, you need to state the reason for “not applicable”.

(8) Printing and signing. After completing the COVA online form filling, you must print out a full set of application forms, including the "Confirmation of Online Visa application" and "Visa Application Form of the People's Republic of China" (depending on the individual filling situation, a total of 8 to 9 pages will be generated). All the pages of the forms must be printed to turn in, the signature and date on the Confirmation Page and the 8th page of Visa Application Form of the People's Republic of China must be handwritten by the applicant him/herself. Visa applicant under the age of 18 is signed by their guardian, and meanwhile add a handwritten signature in the "For person filling in the application on the applicant’s behalf".

  Annex 2  Contents of S1, S2, Q1, Q2 Visa Invitation Letter

Inviter’s name XX, gender X, date of birth: XX, Chinese ID number XXX (or foreign passport number XX, Chinese permanent residence card number XX), current address in China is XX, contact phone number XX, email XX.

I hereby invite the following relatives to visit China for a short-term visit/long-term residence. He/She plans to go to China on XX, and stay in China for XX days.

Invitee information: name XX, gender X, date of birth XX, nationality XX, passport number XX, and the relative relationship with the inviter is XX.

Inviter's signature:        Date:

  Annex 3  Cont ents of M, F and L Visa Invitation Letter

(1) Personal information of the invitee: name, gender, date of birth, passport number, etc.

(2) Information about the invitee’s visit to China: reason for coming to China, date of arrival and departure, place of visit, relationship with the inviting unit or inviter, who will pay for the travel, etc.

(3) Inviting party information: inviting party name, address, tel e phone number, official seal, legal representative or inviter’s signature, date, etc. (the information must be included in the text of the invitation letter)

  Annex 4    Where You Stay Form  ( Download )

Please note: According to the v isa application requirements, if the applicant is not in the United States, he cannot apply for a visa to the Chinese Embassy or Consulate-General in the United States.)

II.Process of Visa Application

The  consular jurisdiction   of the Embassy  of the People ’ s Republic of China   includes : Washington D . C . , Delaware, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, Puerto Rico.. Please confirm that the applicant lives in the above-mentioned states before submitting the visa application.

(1)Visa applicants   need to   log on   to   the website   “ China Online Visa Application (COVA) ”   to fill in the COVA   forms .

After completing the COVA forms as required, please   make sure to  print the full set of COVA forms (8-9 pages)  and  sign   on the Confirmation Page and the 8 th   page .   If the COVA forms   are   not prepared   as guided, the application will not be accepted.

(2)   The physical application documents   can be submitted to the Visa Office within the office hours   by the visa applicant or by an agent .

(3)  In addition to the printed   and   signed   COVA forms, visa applicants also need to prepare the physical   Required Documents (include   "A.Basic Documents"   and   "B.General Documents")    to   submit   on-site   to   the   Visa   Office. If the physical documents   do not meet the requirements   or not sufficient, the application may be returned, and the applicant   may need to fill in the COVA forms  again .

(4) Please check all the information on the visa is correct when picking up. If there is any inaccuracy, please tell the staff immediate ly in case inconvenience brought by the incorrect information. Credit card (Master or Visa card only), money order or cashier's check are accepted for on-site pick-up. 

III.  Processing Time and Fees

Regular service:  4 business days

Express service:  3 business days (urgent situation)

Note:  The above processing time is average and for reference only. Some applications may require longer processing time that a pick-up date cannot be confirmed until notified by the Visa Office.

For visa processing fees, please  click   here .  

IV.Address and Contact Information of the Visa office

Address of the Visa Office :

2201 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite110, Washington, D.C. 20007 U.S.A.

Office Hours:

9:30-14:30 (Monday to Friday, closed on weekends and holidays)

Email address: [email protected]

Phone number:

001-202-855-1555 (12:30-16:30, Monday to Friday, except for holidays)

Face mask is required upon entry.

Travel to China is heavily restricted, but not impossible: How to get there during COVID

  • There are many steps if you want to travel to China, the first being that you need to obtain permission to enter.
  • You'll need to prepare your physical application to mail to the consulate.
  • Research feasible flights to China, considering your timeline and budget.

With the persistence of COVID-19, China has continued to enforce strict travel policies for United States visitors. The entire process, from obtaining a visa to PCR testing, can feel complicated. To navigate regulations and restrictions, here is a step-by-step guide of the experience traveling to China for humanitarian needs. 

Keep in mind: while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention categorized China as low-level of COVID-19 cases , the federal agency is continuing to urge travelers to remain up to date with vaccinations.

First, you need to obtain permission to enter China. In my case, my grandmother was hospitalized under critical health conditions.

You can apply for a visa by searching for and emailing your local consulate (such as one in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., etc). For me, the New York consulate’s email address is [email protected] . You'll need to specify your reason for travel, such as needing to attend to a severely ill family member. 

apply for a health code here

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Depending on your situation, necessary documents can include proof of kinship to the invitee in China such as a birth certificate or marriage certificate, and hospital diagnosis documents such as an official seal from the hospital or a letter from a doctor. If there is no missing information and the details you provided are verified as true, another email will be sent in a couple of days for you to complete.

Second, prepare your physical application to mail to the consulate. To receive your visa, refer and adhere to the information requested in your communication with the consulate office. Be prepared to package these items in an envelope:

  • An original passport with six months validity and at least one blank visa page
  • One copy of the passport data page
  • A visa application form and confirmation page
  • Passport photo with these requirements
  • Proof of residency, such as a copy of your driver’s license, or water or electricity bills
  • Supplemental material requested by the consulate such as an invitation letter from your relative in China, hospital records and vaccination history
  • A return envelope to mail the visa and passport back to you
  • The envelope must be a U.S. Postal Service priority mail express envelope and prepaid with your name, address, and telephone number

The total visa fee will be around $150 for each passport holder and must be paid to the Chinese consulate by money order or check.

Ensure your application materials are prepared in order and adhere to the consulate's guidelines. The address of each consulate varies based on your location. It is essential to meet the criterion above to ensure the speed and potential of receiving your visa.

Third, wait five to ten days for your visa to arrive in the mail. In my experience, the process took a week. Research feasible flights to China, considering your timeline and budget. Sites like flychina.com list possible travel options. Keep in mind that transfer flights are unallowed – all flights must directly land in China. 

If you are fully vaccinated with non-inactivated vaccines including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, partially vaccinated, or unvaccinated, follow the following guidelines set out by the Chinese consulate before boarding the plane:

  • Take your first PCR test at your flight departure city up to seven days before boarding
  • Starting from the date of your first nucleic test and remain in your departure city and monitor your health for seven days with a personal health monitoring form .
  • Within 48 hours before departure, take a second PCR test and an antibody test at a designated facility in the departure city
  • Submit all your test reports, monitoring forms, and letter of commitment on COVID-19 vaccination on the China Health Declaration Certificate website

For more details, visit the embassy site . The consulate will approve your report within 12 hours based on your test results.

At the airport, you will complete an online customer form. Along with your health declaration and other documents, you can board the plane and begin the flight to China. 

The stress of returning to a sick loved one can be distracting and frightening. But if you pay attention to the necessary steps outlined by the consulate, the process can be completed with ease. 

Michelle Liu is a writer based in Providence, Rhode Island. You can follow her on Twitter  @michelleliu83 .

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China Entry and Exit Requirements and Procedures 2024

Until December 31, 2025 , ordinary passport holders of France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Malaysia can enjoy a 15-day visa-free entry to China .  

You can start planning your trip to China now! We will provide you with a flexible, tailor-made private tour of China . 

China opened its borders to tourists on March 15, 2023. If you are planning to visit China, it's important to understand the entry and exit requirements and procedures that apply to international travelers.

Now, inbound and outbound travelers no longer need to complete the China Health Declaration Form or provide a negative COVID-19 test result, either.

China Entry Requirements

To enter China, you must have a valid passport and a China visa unless you are eligible for a visa-free entry or a visa-on-arrival.

Note: Though you are not required to complete the China Health Declaration Card and provide the COVID-19 test result before entering China Mainland, you still need to inform the customs and cooperate for health checks if you have symptoms like fever, cough, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, or if you've been diagnosed with a contagious disease.

Customs Procedures

China's custom channels are divided into two types: the red channel (also called the tax channel) and the green channel (also called a free channel).

Red Channel

Foreign travelers usually enter China through the red channel. They must declare first to customs after filling in the passenger baggage declaration form and can enter after the registration at customs.

The completed customs declaration form must be presented again when leaving China. The form must be filled in truthfully and accurately, and those who provide false information or fail to declare items will be subject to legal action by customs once identified.

The items exceeding the maximum limit listed in the document table should be processed according to other relevant provisions.

Green Channel

Foreign personnel who have been granted a diplomatic visa-passport or courtesy visa-passport by the Chinese authorities or granted free-of-examination courtesy can choose the green channel. But they have to show their credentials to the customs and the declaration document table filled according to the requirements.

Hygiene Quarantine Requirements for Entering China

Foreigners entering China must truthfully fill in health declaration forms as requested by border quarantine departments. Failure to report infectious diseases may result in punishment for evading quarantine and prevention from entering China upon identification. Those who have entered China without reporting an infectious disease may be ordered to leave in advance.

Infectious patients from affected areas must present a valid certificate of immunization-related diseases (commonly known as the "yellow book"). If they do not have a valid certificate, the Frontier Health and Quarantine infected organs will run a test for six days from the day they leave the infected environment.

Commodities from areas that may have been contaminated by infectious diseases or become media articles of epidemic diseases are subject to health and sanitation inspection and quarantine treatment.

People Forbidden from entering China

The following individuals are not allowed to enter China:

A. Those who have been deported from China are under the regulated age.

B. Those who are considered possible terrorists or may undertake violence and subversive activities after entering.

C. Those who are suspected of possible smuggling, drug trafficking, and prostitution activities.

D. Those who have mental illnesses or have leprosy, AIDS, venereal diseases, open tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases.

E. Those who cannot afford what is needed in China.

F. Those who are considered to possibly engage in activities that endanger the security and interests of China after entering.

The frontier checkpoint has the right to prevent the following individuals from entering:

A. Those who have no valid passports, certificates, or visas.

B. Those who have forged, defaced, or other people's passports or certificates.

C. Those who refuse to be inspected.

D. Those who are forbidden to enter by the Ministry of Public Security and the National Security Ministry.

Exiting China

Foreign tourists must leave China within the allowed time limit of their visa from the allocated port. They must present effective passports or other effective certificates to the port border checkpoint.

People Forbidden to Leave China

A. Defendants in a criminal case or criminal suspects identified by the people's procuratorates, public security organs, or court.

B. Individuals are not allowed to leave the country due to unsettled civil cases according to the People's Court notice.

C. Others whose behaviors have violated China's laws and have been identified by competent authorities as needing pursuit.

The border authorities have the right to prevent the following individuals from leaving China:

A. Those who hold invalid certificates.

B. Those who have forged, defaced, or other people's passports or certificates.

C. Those who refuse to be inspected.

More Articles on How to Enter China

  • How to Apply for a Visa to China
  • Shanghai 144 Hours Visa-free Transit

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Warnings and insurance

This travel advice covers mainland China. See travel advice for the Special Administrative Regions, Hong Kong and Macao .

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office ( FCDO ) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice .

Before you travel 

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide as well as support for British nationals abroad which includes: 

  • advice on preparing for travel abroad and reducing risks 
  • information for women, LGBT+ and disabled travellers 

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter , Facebook and Instagram . You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

Travel insurance 

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance . Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency. 

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China Customs Regulations: What to Declare and How

China customs regulations let you know what items you are not allowed to bring in or out of China, and the things you must declare and pay duty on.

Prohibited Items

If you find you are carrying any of the following you must declare them, according to Chinese Law. They will probably be confiscated and an investigation held. Consequences are worse if found in possession once you have passed through customs.

Prohibited for bringing into or taking out of China:

  • Arms, ammunition, and explosives of all kinds
  • Radio transmitters-receives and principal parts
  • Over 20,000 yuan RMB in cash
  • Manuscripts, printed matter, films, photographs, gramophone records, cinematographic films, loaded recording tapes and videotapes, etc. which are detrimental to China's politics, economy, culture, and ethnics

Prohibited for bringing into China:

  • Poisonous drugs, habit-forming drugs, opium, morphine, heroin, etc.
  • Animals, plants and products thereof infected with or carrying germs and insects
  • Unsanitary foodstuffs and germ-carrying foodstuffs from infected areas
  • Other articles the import of which is prohibited by state regulations

Prohibited for taking out of China:

  • Illegally obtained foreign currency or drafts
  • Rare and precious copies of books about Chinese revolution, history, culture and art that are not for sale
  • Valuable animals, plants, and seeds
  • Precious metals, pearls, and jewels (things declared to the customs are exempted)
  • Other articles the export of which is prohibited by state regulations

Entering China: What to Declare and How

If you have anything to declare (see the list below), you must fill out a baggage declaration form (in duplicate) and hand it in to customs, retaining the carbon copy to show upon exit.

Personal possessions, gifts for relatives or friends in China, or articles carried on behalf of another, must be declared if duty is required to be paid, or if they fall under one of the categories below.

  • Those resident in China may bring in duty-free articles for personal use worth up to a total of RMB 5,000. Customs shall levy duty (20%) on the portion of the article(s) whose value exceeds the duty-free limit.
  • Non-resident visitors may bring in duty-free items, which will remain in China, with a total worth of RMB 2,000. Those exceeding the duty-free limit shall be released subject to payment of Customs duty.
  • Passengers may bring duty-free into the country 1,500 ml. of alcoholic drinks (with alcohol content of 12% or above) and 400 individual cigarettes, or 100 individual cigars, or 500 grams of smoking tobacco .
  • Those items designated for personal use, which exceed the duty-free limit, shall be released subject to payment of Customs duty.

Passengers carrying over RMB 20,000 in cash or foreign currencies with a conversion rate exceeding US $5,000 shall be processed by Customs in accordance with the current regulations.

Passengers carrying foreign currencies exceeding US $5,000, which will be taken out of the country at the end of their stay, shall complete a Customs Declaration Form in duplicate. One copy of this form, endorsed by Customs, shall be returned to the passenger for relevant procedures at the time of their exit.

Other Items

  • Passengers carrying animals, plants and/or products made of or from them, microorganisms, biological products, human tissue, blood and blood products, shall be processed by Customs in accordance with the current regulations.
  • Passengers carrying radio transmitters and/or receivers or communication security devices shall be processed by Customs in accordance with the current regulations.
  • Passengers carrying articles which are restricted or prohibited from entry into the country according to the laws of the People's Republic of China shall be processed by Customs in accordance with the current regulations.
  • Passengers carrying goods, samples or articles for advertisement shall be processed by Customs in accordance with the current regulations.
  • Passengers who declare unaccompanied luggage , which is to be transported separately, shall be processed by Customs in accordance with the current regulations.

What is Exempted

Personal belongings will be admitted duty free , including food, two bottles of liquor and two cartons of cigarettes. Wristwatches, radios, tape recorders, cameras, movie cameras, and similar items may be brought in for personal use, but cannot be sold or transferred to others and must be used up or brought out of China.

Visitors can bring in up to 20,000 yuan in foreign currency and/or Chinese yuan (RMB) and/or traveler's checks, and the unspent portion can be taken out.

Leaving China: What to Declare and How

On leaving China, you must submit any baggage declaration forms with declarable items for customs inspection (the second copy). Those traveling by ship are exempted.

Items purchased in China with RMB converted from foreign currencies may be taken out or mailed out of the country after receipts are presented for customs inspection. In cities where a Customs Office does not exit, this can be arranged through the local Friendship Store.

High-Value Items

Passengers carrying items for personal use, such as cameras, camcorders and laptops valued in excess of RMB 5,000 each, and which will be brought back from overseas, should complete Declaration Forms in duplicate.

One copy of this form, endorsed by Customs, will be returned to the passenger for relevant Customs procedures at the time of their re-entry.

Passengers carrying over RMB 20,000 in cash or foreign currencies with a conversion rate in excess of US $5,000 shall be processed by Customs in accordance with the current regulations.

  • Passengers carrying precious metals such as gold and silver etc. shall be processed by Customs in accordance with the current regulations.
  • Passengers carrying antiques, endangered animals, plants and/or products made of or from them or any biological species, shall be processed by Customs in accordance with the current regulations.
  • Passengers carrying other articles, which are restricted or prohibited to be removed from the country according to the laws of the People's Republic of China, shall be processed by Customs in accordance with the current regulations.
  • Passengers who carry goods, samples or articles for advertisement shall be processed by Customs in accordance with the current regulations.

The 20 Commodities Not Exempt from Duty:

TVs, video cameras, VCRs, video players, sound equipment, air-conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, cameras, duplicators, program-controlled telephone exchanges, microcomputers and peripherals, telephones, radio paging systems, facsimile printers, electronic calculators, type-writers and word processors, furniture, illuminating apparatus, and food materials.

Our Shopping in China guide includes a section on what not to buy in China for customs and other reasons.

Drugs, Food, and Health Care Products

Whether you can consign or carry drugs, food, and health care products depends on whether they comply with the ingredients and type restrictions and quantity-related restrictions.

  • It is prohibited to consign or carry abroad items listed by Table of Articles Prohibited to Enter or Leave the People's Republic of China, for example, toxicants, narcotic drugs, endangered and precious animals, plants and its seeds or progenitive materials. Narcotic drugs include addictive psychotropic drugs listed by the government.
  • Chinese herbal medicines and Chinese patent drugs whose export is prohibited by the government include musk, dried toad venom, tiger bone, rhinoceros horn, and calculus bovis.
  • Chinese patent drugs which contain trace amounts of musk or dried toad venom, for example musk paste or six spirits pills (liushenwan) are not included. Drugs containing trace amount of rhinoceros horn, tiger bone are included. Other Chinese herbal medicines and Chinese patent drugs are permitted abroad in specified amounts.

Quantity-Related Restrictions

The quantity consigned or carried must be within a reasonable amount for personal use. According to Administrative Regulations of the People's Republic of China Concerning Consignment and Carrying of Chinese Herbal Medicines and Chinese Patent Drugs Abroad , the total quantity of Chinese herbal medicines and Chinese patent drugs should be limited to under 150 RMB for Hong Kong and Macau, and limited to under 300 RMB for abroad.

As regards consignment , the total quantity of Chinese herbal medicines and Chinese patent drugs should be limited to under 100 RMB for Hong Kong and Macau, and limited to under 200 RMB for abroad.

High-End Foods

Quantity of consignment should be within a reasonable amount for personal use and should not exceed the limited quantity. The amount should be within 1,000 RMB.

If the ration you consign exceeds the limitation but is still for personal use, you must pay the duty (the following are for reference only):

  • The tax rate on dried abalone is 10% at 5,000 RMB per kilogram.
  • The tax rate on fresh abalone is 10% at 1, 000 RMB per kilogram.
  • The tax rate on dried sea cucumber is 10% at 1, 500 RMB per kilogram.
  • The tax rate on cubilose is 10%, but the price of cubilose ranges from 5, 000 RMB per kilogram to 15, 000 RMB per kilogram.

Gifts of these products received from friends or family members can be listed as personal effects. But relative formalities are required. Or else it will be declared as cargo.

  • The quantity of medicine foreign short-stay tourists are permitted to carry should be within a " reasonable amount for personal use ".
  • The quantity should be within a 7-day ration. Any exceeding the 7-day amount should be declared as cargo.

Tourists must provide written documentation from a medical institution to prove the necessity of the medicine. Customs will verify the amount of medicine the tourists needs according to the original prescription. A copy of the prescription will be kept as documentary evidence of the inspection of the tourist. A prescription can only be used for one customs inspection.

High-Value Items (over 5,000 RMB)

Under the principle of personal use and reasonable amount, travelers should refer to the portal website of China Customs - Guidelines - Information Related to Travelers' Belongings.

  • Used laptop computers, etc. ratified by customs are free of duty.
  • Staff of oversea diplomatic agencies, overseas students, visiting scholars, overseas contracted workers, foreign aid personnel who have stayed abroad for 180 days, and seafarers who have stayed abroad for 120 days are permitted to bring one item duty-free.
  • Other travelers are allowed to bring one item duty-free each year .

Items carried by tourists which are not listed in the Table of Classification (valued higher than 5,000 RMB) will not be regarded as personal belongings. These items can be cleared after paying a tax (20% on the excess). The result of an inspection by customs shall be final.

  • If you bring a high-value item abroad, and pay duty, you need to fill in two declaration forms, one of which is kept to prove the laptop computer should be duty free when you come back.

Consigning Paintings, Pearls, Jewelry, etc.

Under the principle of personal use and reasonable number, the value of personal postal articles should be under 1,000 RMB. Exception will be made for singular articles or indivisible articles which have been confirmed to be for personal uses and undergone required formalities.

Senders who consign items for transport abroad must fill in a customs declaration form with the name of articles, quantity, and value and file the declaration to the accredited postal office. After clearance by customs, the article will be sent. Gifts of these products received from friends or family members can be listed as personal effects, but relative formalities are required, or else they will be declared as cargo.

According to Notice on the Implementation of Regulations Concerning Entry of Pet Dogs and Pet Cats by the Ministry of Agriculture and General Administration of Customs, o ne traveler can bring only one pet dog or cat cross the border.

1. After receiving the declaration of a pet dog or pet cat filed by a traveler, customs should inspect the certificate of quarantine and certificate of rabies vaccination issued by an official of the exporting country (or region).

2a. Customs should inform the port Animal and Plant Quarantine Office to quarantine the pet dog or pet cat. The port Animal and Plant Quarantine Office should provide certification of quarantine to the traveler. The validity of the certificate lasts for 30 days.

2b. If a traveler can not provide sufficient certification or exceeds the limited number, customs should inform the port Animal and Plant Quarantine Office to take temporary custody of the pets.

3. Tourists should handle the procedure of withdrawing the pets within the stipulated time . Pets will be considered unclaimed if tourists do not proceed with the formalities or do not declare the waiver of the pets. Under such circumstance, pets will be processed with quarantine treatment by port Animal and Plant Quarantine Office.

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China Exit Regulations

Outward passengers will go through three procedures when leaving China: Choose Channels – Customs Declaration – Customs Examination

Choose Channels

If outward passengers have nothing to declare, choose “Nothing to Declare Channel” (Green Channel), and they have carried articles which need to be declared, choose “Goods to Declare Channel” (Red Channel). Passengers can ask the Customs officers for or just choose the Red Channel if they are not certain about how to choose the right channels.

Custom Declaration

Outward passengers carrying out the following articles shall choose “Goods to Declare Channel”.

1.Camera, video camera, laptop computer or other trip necessities valued each at over RMB 5,000.

2.RMB 20,000 cash or above, or any other foreign currencies in cash equivalent to US $5,000 or above.

3.Cultural relics, endangered animals and plants and their products, biological species resource, gold, silver and other precious metals.

4.Goods of commercial value, samples, advertisements.

5.Radio transmitters, radio receivers, communication security equipment.

6.Other articles which are prohibited or restricted to bring out China in accordance with the law.

(1). Personal articles shall be limited to PERSONAL USE only and subject to RESONALBLE QUANTITY control. “Personal Use” means private use or as gifts to relatives or friends, but not for selling or lending. “Reasonable Quantity” means the normal quantities based on the travel purpose and the length of residing time.

(2). The above items will be dealt in accordance with the current regulations.

Customs Examination

The Customs will examine the personal articles carried by outward passengers and verify whether the Declaration Form is accurate or not, and if there are any prohibited goods. Then, according to the examination results and related regulations, the Customs will determine the levy, duty free, detention, withdrawal or release of the baggage.

Prohibited and Restricted Articles

In accordance with the law of China, the following articles are prohibited to bring out of China:

1.All articles enumerated as articles prohibited from importation. See details here.

2.Manuscripts, printed matter, films, photographs, gramophone records, cinematographic films, loaded recording tapes and video-tapes, compacts discs (video and audio), storage media for computers and other articles which involve state secrets.

3.Valuable cultural relics and other relics prohibited from Exportation.

4.Endangered and precious rare animals and plants (including their specimens), their seeds and reproducing materials.

In accordance with the law of China, the following articles are restricted bring out from China:

(1). Gold, silver and other precious metals and their products.

(2). National currencies.

(3). Foreign currencies and negotiable securities of foreign currency.

(4). Radio transceiver and communication security machines.

(5). Precious Chinese herbal medicines.

(6). General cultural relics.

(7). Other articles restricted bring out by the Customs.

Important Notice:

1. In the Customs control area of entry and exit ports, cellphone, camera, video camera and video equipment shall not be used.

2. Chinese Medicine

For Chinese herbal medicines and Chinese patent medicines, for each passenger, the value of the medicine shall be limited to RMB150 for those who travel to Hong Kong and Macao; for those who travel to the foreign countries, the value of the medicine shall be limited to RMB300. Remember: musk and toad are prohibited to bring out of China.

3. Endangered Animals & Plants

In addition to the above regulation about endangered animals and plants,

No individual can bring rhino horn and tiger bone out of China. Products which have the words of Rhino Horn and Tiger Bone marked on the packaging shall be treated as rhino horn and tiger bone.

It’s prohibited for individual to bring Asian ivory and its products out of China.

Chinese Medicine

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Notice for Passengers Traveling to the United States

According to the requirements of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in addition to paying attention to and abiding by relevant regulations, passengers traveling to the United States must also complete a second security check in front of the departure lounge 90 minutes before boarding. 

Entry Quarantine Requirements for Animals, Plants, and Related Products Carried by Passengers from China (PDF)

According to DHS requirements, the Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) requires key items such as the country of residence, passport expiration date, and address in the United States (unnecessary for U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and transfer passengers who are staying for less than eight hours). For details, please contact the customer service center of a large travel agency or China Airlines.

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According to the requirements of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), all non-U.S. airline flights to and from the United States shall comply with this Act's relevant regulations effective from May 13, 2009. Passengers can obtain content about this Act in the following ways:

  • Dial the toll free number within the United States (Toll-Free Hotline for Air Travelers with Disabilities): 1-800-778-4838 (voice) or1-800-455-9880 (TTY);
  • Dial the number of the Aviation Consumer Protection Division: 202-366-2220 (voice) or 202-366-0511 (TTY); 
  • Send a letter to the Air Consumer Protection Division: C-75, U.S. Department of Transportation; 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE., West Building, Room W96-432; Washington, DC 20590; 
  • Visit the website of the Aviation Consumer Protection Division:

To enhance and maintain flight safety, the following control measures regarding liquid, gel, and spray articles carried by outgoing, transfer, and transit passengers riding international flights (including chartered international flights) from Taiwan shall be applied according to regulations on flights to the United States

  • The volume of a passenger's individual carry-on liquid, gel, and spray article containers cannot exceed 100 ml.
  • All liquid, gel, and spray article containers must be put into a transparent, re-sealable plastic bag, the volume of which cannot exceed 1 liter. After all containers have been put into the plastic bag, the plastic bag must be completely sealed in accordance with the regulations. 
  • A passenger can carry only one plastic bag and the security staff shall visually check the plastic bag. 
  • Necessary articles, including baby milk (milk), baby food, medicine, and liquid, gel, and spray articles required for diabetic or medical care which are carried by passengers and do not conform to the aforementioned regulations regarding volume may be carried on without restrictions after being reported to and approved by the security staff.
  • If the aforementioned articles are purchased or obtained in the control area or in the cabin of the last voyage via outgoing or transit (transfer) passengers, then they can be personally carried onto the airplane after being put into signed and sealed plastic bags with valid proof of purchase.
  • To ensure effective X-ray inspection, the foregoing plastic bags shall be checked separately from other hand-carry bags, coats, or laptops.

Transit and Transfer Passengers in Taiwan

  • Due to the rising tension of international terrorism, countries all over the world are enhancing their controls on passengers’ personal liquid, gel, and spray articles (hereinafter referred to as "LAGs"). The Civil Aviation Authority invited relevant units such as airlines, duty-free shops, Aviation Police Office, and air stations to meet together and discuss control measures on LAGs carried by outgoing and transit passengers (including transfer passengers) on April 29, 1997. Through negotiation and by using measures taken by the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand as a reference, they implemented the following measure to enhance and maintain flight safety: LAGs carried by transit and transfer passengers who take international flights in Taiwan cannot be personally carried to the airplane if the LAGs do not conform to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulations. (The volume of a single container may not exceed 100 ml.) This measure began on a trial basis on May 16, 1997 and was formally implemented on June 1, 1997. 
  • The volume of the liquid, gel, and spray article containers personally carried by passengers cannot exceed 100 ml (100c.c.). 
  • All liquid, gel, and spray article containers shall be put into a re-sealable transparent plastic bag (no larger than 1 liter, with width: 20 cm; length: 20 cm). When all containers are put into the plastic bag, the plastic bag must be completely sealed.
  • A passenger can carry only one of the aforementioned plastic bags. When going through the security check, the passenger must take the plastic bag out of the carry-on baggage and put it into the basket for visual and X-ray inspection by the security staff. 
  • After being reported to the security staff and approved, necessary articles, including baby milk/food, medicine, and liquid, gel, and spray articles required for medical care which are carried by passengers and do not conform to the foregoing regulations on volume, can be carried without restrictions .

European Union’s Security Check

Effective from November 6, 2006, with the exception of the following articles, liquid, gel, and spray articles are not allowed to be carried personally or put into carry-on baggage by outgoing or transfer passengers from the European Union member states:

  • Each container of liquid, gel, and spray articles must be equal to or less than 100 ml and put into a re-sealable transparent 1 liter plastic bag and pass X-ray inspection. Each passenger can carry only one plastic bag. 
  • Passengers shall report necessary carry-on articles to the security staff, such as baby food, medicine, or special food. 
  • As for duty-free goods purchased on European airline flights or after passengers go through the boarding pass checkpoints in the airports of European Union member states, these goods shall be packed in a transparent plastic bag sealed and signed by the seller, with the sale certificate attached for the security staff’s visual inspection.

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Exploring The Travel Restrictions: Is China Currently Open For Travel?

  • Last updated May 09, 2024
  • Difficulty Intemediate

Jose Ramos

  • Category Travel

is china closed for travel

As the world begins to recover from the global pandemic, travel restrictions have become a hot topic of discussion. One country that has been closely watched is China, with its rich history, vibrant culture, and booming economy. Many travelers have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to explore this fascinating country, but the question remains: is China currently open for travel? In this article, we will dive into the travel restrictions in China and explore the current state of travel in this captivating destination.

What You'll Learn

Current travel restrictions in china, impacts of covid-19 on chinese tourism, steps to reopen china for travel, future prospects for travelers planning a trip to china.

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As the world grapples with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, travel restrictions have become a common measure taken by governments to control the spread of the virus. China, as one of the first countries hit by the outbreak, implemented strict travel restrictions early on. While the situation is constantly evolving, it is important to stay informed about the current travel restrictions in China if you are planning a trip or have any travel-related concerns.

At the moment, China has implemented several travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These restrictions vary based on the country of origin and the purpose of travel. It is essential to check the latest updates from the Chinese authorities, such as the Chinese Embassy or consulate in your country, before planning any travel to China.

For international travelers, China currently has stringent entry requirements in place. All foreign nationals, including those with existing visas or residence permits, need to apply for a visa at the nearest Chinese embassy or consulate before traveling to China. The visa application process may require additional documentation, such as a negative COVID-19 test result.

China has also established a system of "green channels" for certain groups of individuals, including those traveling for emergency humanitarian needs, essential business purposes, and humanitarian assistance. These individuals may be exempt from some of the entry restrictions, but they still need to fulfill specific requirements and obtain the necessary documentation.

Additionally, China has temporarily suspended entry for most non-Chinese nationals holding valid visas or residence permits issued before March 28, 2020. This suspension also includes the visa-free transit policy and the issuance of port visas and VOA (Visa on Arrival).

For Chinese citizens and residents returning to China from abroad, strict quarantine and testing measures are in place. Depending on the city or province of arrival, individuals may be required to undergo a mandatory quarantine period for 14 or 21 days, often at their own expense. Health checks, including COVID-19 tests, will be conducted during the quarantine period.

In terms of domestic travel within China, it is generally permitted without major restrictions, although some regions may have specific entry requirements or quarantine measures in place. It is advisable to check with local authorities or travel agencies beforehand if you plan to visit specific regions or attractions within China.

Regarding international flights to and from China, the situation is gradually improving. Many airlines have resumed a limited number of flights to and from China, but schedules remain subject to change. It is important to check with the airlines or travel agents for the latest flight information and any specific requirements for boarding.

It is also worth noting that even if you meet all the travel requirements and are allowed to enter China, local restrictions and regulations may still apply in different regions. It is essential to follow the guidance of local authorities and stay updated on any changes that may affect your travel plans.

In conclusion, while China has implemented travel restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19, these restrictions may vary based on the country of origin and the purpose of travel. Foreign nationals planning to travel to China should check with the nearest Chinese embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information. Chinese citizens and residents returning from abroad also need to be prepared for quarantine and health checks upon arrival. It is crucial to stay informed and follow the guidance of local authorities for a safe and smooth travel experience.

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The outbreak of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the tourism industry worldwide, with China being particularly affected. As the epicenter of the virus, China has taken strict measures to control its spread within the country and has consequently closed its borders for travel.

One of the most visible impacts of COVID-19 on Chinese tourism is the closure of popular tourist destinations. Many famous landmarks and attractions, such as the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, and the Terracotta Army, have been temporarily closed to visitors. This closure not only affects local tourism but also international tourists who had planned trips to China.

Similarly, the closure of major airports and the suspension of international flights have added to the challenges faced by the tourism industry in China. The country has restricted entry for foreign nationals, and Chinese citizens are also required to have special authorization to travel internationally. These measures are aimed at preventing the importation of new cases of COVID-19 and protecting the health and safety of the population.

The closure of tourist sites and travel restrictions have also had a significant economic impact on the tourism industry. Numerous hotels, restaurants, and tour operators have been forced to close their doors or reduce their operations due to the lack of visitors. This has resulted in a loss of jobs and income for many individuals who rely on the tourism industry for their livelihood.

In addition to the direct impact on the tourism industry, there are also indirect consequences. With the closure of tourist sites and restrictions on travel, local businesses that cater to tourists, such as souvenir shops, transportation services, and local attractions, have also faced financial difficulties. This has led to a negative ripple effect on the overall economy of the areas dependent on tourism.

Furthermore, the closure of Chinese borders for travel has had a global impact on the tourism industry. Chinese tourists are known for their significant contribution to international tourism, with millions of Chinese travelers visiting countries all over the world each year. However, with travel restrictions in place, this flow of tourists has come to a halt, affecting economies in various countries that heavily rely on Chinese tourism.

In conclusion, the impacts of COVID-19 on Chinese tourism have been significant. The closure of tourist destinations, travel restrictions, and suspension of international flights have all contributed to the decline in the tourism industry in China. The economic repercussions are felt not only within the country but also globally, as the absence of Chinese tourists affects economies worldwide. As the situation continues to evolve, it remains uncertain when travel to and from China will fully resume, highlighting the need for ongoing efforts to control the spread of the virus and revive the tourism industry.

Traveling Outside the US with a U Visa: What You Need to Know

As the world slowly recovers from the global pandemic, countries are starting to reopen their borders and welcome back international travelers. China, a popular destination for tourists, is also considering reopening its doors to travelers. However, the process of reopening for travel may not be a straightforward one. Here are the steps that China could take to safely and efficiently reopen for travel.

  • Assess the COVID-19 situation: Before reopening for travel, China must carefully assess the COVID-19 situation within its borders. This includes monitoring the number of cases, the rate of transmission, and the capacity of healthcare systems. It is crucial to ensure that the virus is under control and that the necessary infrastructure is in place to handle any potential outbreaks.
  • Implement strict entry requirements: To prevent the importation of new cases, China could implement strict entry requirements for international travelers. This may include mandatory COVID-19 testing prior to departure, as well as proof of vaccination. Travelers may also be required to provide a negative PCR test result upon arrival and undergo quarantine or isolation measures, depending on the country of origin.
  • Establish travel corridors: China could consider establishing travel corridors with low-risk countries. These corridors would allow for international travel between select countries with similar COVID-19 containment measures in place. Travelers within these corridors would be subject to reduced restrictions and quarantine measures, making travel more accessible and convenient.
  • Gradually increase flight capacity: To accommodate the reopening of travel, China could gradually increase flight capacity. This could involve working closely with airlines to ensure that proper safety protocols are followed, such as mandatory mask-wearing, enhanced cleaning procedures, and social distancing measures. By gradually increasing flight capacity, China can effectively manage the influx of travelers and minimize the risk of overcrowding.
  • Strengthen border control measures: To further prevent the spread of COVID-19, China could strengthen its border control measures. This may include implementing temperature screenings, health questionnaires, and enhanced surveillance systems at airports and other points of entry. Stringent border control measures are essential to identify and isolate any potential cases of the virus to protect the health and safety of both travelers and the local population.
  • Promote domestic tourism: As international travel gradually resumes, China could also focus on promoting domestic tourism. Encouraging local travelers to explore their own country can help boost the tourism industry and provide a much-needed economic stimulus. By highlighting the unique attractions and destinations within China, the country can attract domestic tourists and generate revenue while international travel slowly recovers.
  • Monitor and adapt: Reopening for travel is an ongoing process that requires constant monitoring and adaptation. China must closely monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation both domestically and internationally and be prepared to adjust its travel policies and restrictions accordingly. This may involve implementing stricter measures if cases surge or easing restrictions if the situation improves.

Reopening for travel is a complex and challenging task, especially during a global pandemic. By following these steps and implementing strict safety protocols, China can gradually reopen its borders for travel while prioritizing the health and wellbeing of its citizens and visitors.

The Ultimate Guide to Travelling from the Philippines to China

If you are a traveler planning a trip to China in the near future, it is crucial to stay informed about the current travel restrictions and future prospects for travel to the country. As of now, China's borders are not completely closed, but there are significant restrictions in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

It is important to note that the situation can change rapidly, so it is vital to regularly check with official sources such as your local embassy and consulate for the most up-to-date information. Additionally, it is recommended to consult with travel agents or specialized companies that can assist you with the latest travel requirements and regulations.

At present, non-Chinese citizens are not permitted to enter China unless they meet certain criteria. These criteria generally include holding a valid and specific visa, such as a diplomatic visa, a courtesy visa, or a service visa. Other exceptions may apply for individuals holding valid residence permits for work, study, or family reunification.

Furthermore, even if you meet the criteria for entry, you will most likely be required to undergo a series of health screenings and quarantine measures upon arrival. These measures can vary depending on the specific region you are visiting, as different provinces and cities in China may have their own rules and regulations.

The Chinese government has implemented strict measures to control the spread of COVID-19. This includes requiring travelers to provide negative PCR and antibody test results, as well as undergoing a quarantine period of up to 14 days at a government-designated facility or hotel.

While the current situation may seem challenging for travelers, the future prospects for visiting China look promising. The Chinese government has made significant progress in controlling the spread of COVID-19 within the country and has successfully reopened many domestic travel destinations.

As the global vaccination rollout continues and the overall situation improves, it is expected that China will gradually ease travel restrictions and reopen its borders to international travelers. However, it is difficult to predict an exact timeline for when this will happen, as it depends on various factors such as the global vaccination rate and the containment of new COVID-19 variants.

In the meantime, if you are planning a trip to China in the future, it is advisable to closely monitor the situation and stay informed about any updates or changes in travel restrictions. It is also recommended to consult with travel professionals who can provide accurate and up-to-date information.

Additionally, it is crucial to ensure that you have comprehensive travel insurance that covers any unexpected changes or cancellations due to the ongoing pandemic. This will provide you with peace of mind in case your travel plans need to be altered.

In conclusion, while China's borders are currently restricted for non-Chinese citizens, the future prospects for travelers planning a trip to China are positive. It is important to remain informed about the current travel restrictions and to regularly check for updates from official sources. By staying prepared and flexible, you can ensure a smooth and successful trip to China once international travel resumes.

How Long Before My Visa Expires Can I Travel?

Frequently asked questions.

Yes, China has implemented restrictions on travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Entry into China is highly regulated, and there are tight controls on international flights and border crossings.

Currently, China has suspended most tourist visas and does not allow foreign nationals to enter the country for tourism. Only certain categories of travelers, including those with diplomatic, service, or humanitarian purposes, are permitted to enter.

Yes, all travelers entering China are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine, either at a designated facility or at home, depending on the local regulations. Additionally, travelers may be subject to health checks and testing upon arrival.

Transit options in China are limited at the moment. Some airports may allow transit passengers to stay in a designated area without passing through immigration, while others may require a visa and quarantine period, even for transit passengers.

China has made exceptions for certain individuals, such as foreign nationals holding valid residence permits, diplomats, and certain foreign nationals with work or family responsibilities in China. However, even for those exempted, strict entry requirements and quarantine measures still apply.

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china travel regulations

Travel Regulations Update

General preparations prior to travelling, cancellation of covid testing and health declaration.

Please check with national and local authorities for updates on related regulations and guidelines prior to your travel. Please also refer to the “ Travel and Security Information for China ” released by the German Federal Foreign Office.

Update in January 2024:

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on November 24, 2023 to launch a pilot visa-free policy for Germany :

China unilateral pilot visa-free policy for six countries ( CN / DE )

From December 1, 2023 , to November 30, 2024, German passport holders can enter China without a visa for business, sightseeing, visiting relatives and friends, and transit that does not exceed 15 days.

In addition, detailed questions in practical implementation were clarified by the Chinese Embassy in Germany.

Frequently Asked Questions regarding the visa free policy for German citizens by the Chinese Embassy in Germany ( CN / DE )

The FAQ clarified detailed questions in practical implementation, such as the policy allowing  multiple visits to China and there are no restrictions on the visit times or frequency , foreigners enjoying the policy can depart from any country (region) outside of China.

To facilitate foreigner’s visits to China, five measures were introduced by National Immigration Administration. The measures include a relaxation of port visa application requirements, 24-hour direct transit without undergoing border check procedures at nine major airports, easy apply for a visa extension or reissue, multiple-entry visas in cases of need for foreigners already in China and minimizes the types of the materials for visa applications.

Keywords : China travel, China visa, visa exemptions.

Update on October 31, 2023:

Cancellation of Digital Health Declaration Form

The General Administration of Customs released a notice on the cancellation of the health declaration when entering and exiting China. Starting from November 1 , 2023, travelers are no longer required to fill in a health declaration form. However, travelers with symptoms of infectious diseases are required to actively make a health declaration to Customs.

Keywords : China travel, COVID-19 testing, digital health declaration, China travel requirements.

Update on August 28, 2023:

As of August 30, 2023 , travelers to China will no longer be required to undergo COVID-19 testing (nucleic acid or antigen) upon entry. This update was announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China on August 28, 2023, and is part of China's ongoing efforts to ease travel restrictions. A notice (DE) has also been posted at the Chinese Embassy in Germany.

Inbound travelers are also no longer required to declare the results of COVID-19 tests within 48 hours when making a health declaration to the Customs, according to a notice by the General Administration of Customs of China.

The  situation remains dynamic , and local regulations can change according to international developments without notice. The German Embassy and the German Consulates have no influence on the quarantine measures, that are adopted in accordance with national infection control regulations in China.

You may reach the  German diplomatic missions in China  at  010-8532 9202  or at  telefonpool(at)peki.auswaertiges-amt.de .

For further information in German, please check the websites of the  German Embassy in Beijing  regularly, as well as the designated website of the  Federal Foreign Office .

If you are a German citizen, we recommend to sign up with the Federal Foreign Office’s crisis prevention list -  Elefand .

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china travel regulations

U.S. Soldier Arrested in Russia for Unauthorized Travel

U.S. Army soldier Gordon Black’s unauthorized trip to Vladivostok, Russia, via China has prompted significant concern.

The Pentagon disclosed that Black, a 34-year-old staff sergeant, flouted military regulations by going on this journey while on personal leave.

The excursion, motivated by Black’s pursuit of his Russian girlfriend, culminated in his arrest in Russia on suspicion of theft.

Black’s case underscores the complex diplomatic challenges facing the United States. His actions add to a series of high-profile detentions of U.S. citizens in Russia, including basketball player Brittney Griner and Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich.

The U.S. Army, already grappling with such issues, now faces another hurdle with Black’s arrest.

Departing from Camp Humphreys in South Korea, Black diverted from his intended return to Fort Cavazos in Texas.

Instead, he flew to Vladivostok, Russia, after transiting through China, a move that the Army confirmed was for personal reasons.

Despite concerns raised by his mother about the risks involved, Black proceeded with his plan, resulting in his apprehension by Russian authorities.

Black’s detention in Russia is of particular concern given the backdrop of strained relations between the two countries.

The incident has no apparent political dimension, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, yet it adds to the complexity of U.S.-Russia diplomatic interactions.

In South Korea, where Black met his girlfriend, their relationship soured, leading to an altercation and subsequent police involvement upon his arrival in Vladivostok.

The 32-year-old woman accused Black of stealing money, prompting his arrest at a hotel as he prepared to return home.

Amid ongoing diplomatic tensions, Black’s case serves as a reminder of the risks associated with unauthorized travel and the potential consequences for individuals and international relations.

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Soldier’s arrest underscores complexities facing U.S. Army abroad (Credits: AP Photo)

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Politics latest: MP defection 'cheap party political point-scoring'; UK and allies 'at a crossroads', Cameron argues

The fallout is continuing from the shock defection of MP Natalie Elphicke from the Conservatives over to Labour. She has now released a statement apologising for supporting her ex-husband, who was her predecessor as MP for Dover, after his sexual assault conviction.

Thursday 9 May 2024 22:50, UK

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

  • New Labour MP issues apology
  • Cameron says defection 'says more about Starmer'
  • Analysis: Public will see through 'cheap party political point-scoring' party switch
  • Rob Powell: Elphicke apology unlikely to change minds
  • Minister insists party 'not trying to chase Reform'
  • Ex-chancellor to stand down at election  | Every MP who's quitting
  • Live reporting by Ben Bloch and (earlier)  Faith Ridler

By  Faye Brown , political reporter

Labour will create a new Border Security Command to tackle people-smuggling gangs bringing migrants across the Channel, Sir Keir Starmer is set to announce.

The "elite" unit, to be part-funded by scrapping the Tories' Rwanda deportation scheme, will be led by a former police, military or intelligence chief and be granted new powers under the Counter Terrorism Act.

These powers will allow officers to conduct stop and searches at the border, carry out financial investigations and issue search and seizure warrants targeting organised immigration crime.

Sir Keir will outline the measures in a speech on the Kent coast on Friday, when he will vow to "replace gimmicks with graft" and draw on his experience as the former head of the Crown Prosecution Service.

Read extracts from Sir Keir's speech below:

The Sky News live poll tracker - collated and updated by our Data and Forensics team - aggregates various surveys to indicate how voters feel about the different political parties.

With the local elections complete, Labour is still sitting comfortably ahead, with the Tories trailing behind.

See the latest update below - and you can read more about the methodology behind the tracker  here .

Lord Cameron has just delivered his second speech of the day - this time at the Lord Mayor's banquet in central London.

Here are the key points of what he said (this post was updated live):

  • The foreign secretary opens by saying: "I thought my days of dressing up in white tie and speaking in halls like this were well and truly over, so I want to thank PM Rishi Sunak for bringing me out of retirement";
  • He says his six month as the UK's top diplomat "have been every bit a whirlwind as much as being prime minister" - but "not quite as exciting";
  • Lord Cameron argues that foreign policy cannot be divorced from economic performance;
  • He says movements to "pull up the drawbridge" and retreat into isolationism are "profoundly wrong" - but they cannot be ignored;
  • The current dangerous world is "in stark contrast to my first years in politics", he says, and argues we must "face up to that situation";
  • "My conviction is that we, with our partners, can choose to make a difference - we have agency. The question is whether we have the courage to use it, the courage to act";
  • He says the government is "hardening" defences against attacks on our infrastructure - both physical and cyber following recent attacks;
  • The foreign secretary reiterates his call for spending 2.5% of GDP on defence to be the standard NATO benchmark;
  • He calls on the allies to join the UK in committing funding to Ukraine until 2030;
  • On the Israel-Hamas war, Lord Cameron says he wants the fighting to end now and for the hostages released, but says: "Simply calling for an immediate ceasefire does not make it more likely", arguing that practical steps need to be taken;
  • He concludes by saying: "We are at a crossroads: if we make the right choices, if we act now, a bright future awaits, but if we hesitate, our adversaries will write our futures for us";

The foreign secretary is giving his second speech of the day.

Lord Cameron will be donning his white tie at Mansion House for a slightly shorter version of the speech he gave this morning on the UK's foreign policy and national security.

Follow live coverage here in the Politics Hub.

The government has triggered emergency plans to be able to hold prisoners due to a shortage of places in the system - and is blaming it on barristers taking industrial action.

Operation Safeguard triggers the availability of cells in police stations for prisoners sentenced by the courts when there is a critical shortage of normal spaces.

Sky News understands the Ministry of Justice has formally requested that a limited number of cells be made available.

The government insists that this is "not an unprecedented measure" and has been deployed over four periods since 2006 - and most recently in February and April this year.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said the emergency measure "is helping us respond to acute capacity pressures caused in part by barristers' industrial action and the aftermath of the pandemic, while we press ahead with delivering the biggest expansion of prison places in a century including six new jails".

On this episode, Niall Paterson speaks to one of the doctors who worked to restore the hearing of an 18-month-old girl – who was born deaf.

Medics at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge have used gene therapy to help a rare condition, auditory neuropathy. It's caused by the disruption of nerve impulses travelling from the inner ear to the brain.

Opal Sandy can now respond to her parents' voices and can communicate words such as "Dada" and "bye-bye".

Plus, Natalie Elphicke, the MP who defected from the Conservatives to Labour yesterday, apologises for comments she made after her ex-husband, and predecessor as MP for Dover, was convicted of sexual assault in 2020.

She said at the time that being "attractive" and "attracted to women" had made him an "easy target".

Niall talks to deputy political editor Sam Coates about the disquiet within Labour over Mrs Elphicke’s arrival.

👉  Listen above then tap here to follow the Sky News Daily wherever you get your podcasts  👈

In a short while, the foreign secretary is due to give his second speech of the day.

We will have live coverage here on the Politics Hub, so do follow along.

Above: The last time David Cameron addressed a Mansion House audience, just weeks before the Brexit vote and his resignation.

By Jennifer Scott , political reporter

In a dramatic move just moments before Prime Minister's Questions got under way this week, Natalie Elphicke joined Labour as her surprised Conservative colleagues looked on.

What exactly happens when an MP defects to another party?

Ms Elphicke  is far from the first MP to change sides between elections, but it was incredibly rare - until recently - for a member of the governing party to switch to the opposition.

She is the third Tory to do so in just over two years, following  Christian Wakeford in 2022  over the partygate scandal and  Dan Poulter just two weeks ago  over the Tories' handling of the NHS.

Before that, it hadn't happened since 1995, when Alan Howarth became the first ever Conservative to cross to Labour on the eve of his party conference, citing the "divisiveness" of policies under John Major's leadership.

Only three MPs in the past 25 years have gone the other way - from main opposition to government - all leaving the Conservatives to join Labour.

Defecting to smaller parties happens more often, such as moves  from both Conservative and Labour to Change UK  during the Brexit years, or  Douglas Carswell  and  Mark Reckless  heading over to UKIP ahead of the referendum.

By Jenness Mitchell, Scotland reporter

John Swinney has axed the post of minister for independence from his ministerial team.

The role, the first of its kind, was created last year by then first minister Humza Yousaf.

Jamie Hepburn, who previously held the Scottish government post, has now taken over from George Adam as minister for parliamentary business.

Earlier on Thursday, SNP MP Alyn Smith appeared to confirm during a radio interview that the role had been "subsumed" into Angus Robertson's constitution, external affairs and culture brief.

Mr Swinney was  legally sworn in as Scotland's seventh first minister   at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Wednesday morning.

Read more on the new Scottish cabinet here:

Over a year ago, Rishi Sunak made five pledges for voters to judge him on.

The prime minister met his promise to halve inflation by the end of 2023.

But with the general election approaching, how is Mr Sunak doing on delivering his other promises?

You can see the progress for yourself below:

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china travel regulations

COMMENTS

  1. Travel to China 2024/2025: Entry Requirements, Visas, Tours

    China Travel Restrictions & Travel Advisory (Updated April 25, 2024) Updates April 25th, 2024: If you book a trip with us, we can arrange a port visa for you to travel to China. China"s port visas are similar to the "visas on arrival" of some other countries. It enables a stay in China for up to 30 days. Contact us to book a trip.

  2. China International Travel Information

    Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution and Travel Advisories.

  3. COVID-19 Information

    Note that regulations in the PRC can change quickly, so please review the PRC-specific Travel Advisory when planning travel and again shortly before departure. U.S. citizens in the PRC should follow PRC and U.S. CDC guidance for prevention, signs and symptoms, and treatment of COVID-19 .

  4. Traveling to China 2023

    In March 2023, China announced that it had resumed issuing all types of visas, giving the official greenlight for foreign travelers and tourists to return to the country.This announcement followed months of gradual dismantling of COVID-19 travel restrictions, which saw the lifting of quarantines, vaccine and testing requirements, and travel codes.

  5. China Travel Restrictions

    China entry details and exceptions. Effective January 8, 2023 - Permitted travelers for business, work or study can enter China without quarantine. All you need is a negative PCR result within 48 hours before departure. You do not need to apply for a health code. Please note that though China has announced the quarantine-free policies for ...

  6. Guide on Epidemic Prevention and Control Measures For China-bound

    All China-bound travelers will need to take nucleic acid test for COVID-19 within 48 hours before boarding, and can only travel to China when your test result is negative or after it turns from positive to negative. Please always bring the proof of your negative COVID-19 test result with you for inspection. ll.Health Declaration to China Customs

  7. China Travel Restrictions 2021/2022: An Explainer (Updated)

    China Briefing continues its coverage of updates on China travel restrictions on foreign nationals during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this article, we provide an overview of the latest China travel restrictions, including the latest regulations on flights to China, how to obtain a Chinese visa, China entry requirements during COVID, and current China quarantine rules.

  8. China Travel Advisory

    Reconsider travel due to the arbitrary enforcement of local laws, including in relation to exit bans, and the risk of wrongful detentions.. Summary: The People's Republic of China (PRC) government arbitrarily enforces local laws, including issuing exit bans on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries, without fair and transparent process under the law.

  9. Can international tourists visit China? Everything you need to ...

    China alone contributed 51% of the travel and tourism GDP in the Asia-Pacific region in 2018, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. And Chinese travelers typically accounted for 30% ...

  10. Requirements and Procedures for Chinese Visa Application(Updated in

    Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United States of America 3505 International Place, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20008 U.S.A. Tel: +1-202-495-2266

  11. Entry requirements

    Visa requirements. You need a visa to visit mainland China. You can visit Hong Kong or Macao without a visa. See separate travel advice for Hong Kong and Macao . You can also visit the island of ...

  12. China travel requirements in 2022: Here's what you need to get there

    With the persistence of COVID-19, China has continued to enforce strict travel policies for United States visitors. The entire process, from obtaining a visa to PCR testing, can feel complicated.

  13. China Travel Restrictions

    China Travel Restrictions 2024. Written by Apple Updated Dec. 21, 2023. China has opened its borders to tourists from March 15, 2023. Foreigners can enter China normally with a valid China visa (any type). All types of visa applications are resumed. Visa-free transit policies are also reinstated. The good news is that as of August 30, 2023 ...

  14. China considers easing entry rules for some foreign tourists

    The Chinese government on Monday, September 19, issued draft regulations that aim to bolster tourism along its border and make it easier for some foreigners to enter China.

  15. China eases Covid restrictions on travel and production

    Chinese authorities announced Wednesday an easing of some Covid controls. People will no longer need to show negative virus tests or health codes in order to travel between different parts of the ...

  16. China Entry Regulation: Process, Custom Delaration, Examination

    1.In the Customs control area of entry and exit ports, cellphone, camera, video camera and video equipment shall not be used. 2.Printing Materials & Audiovisual Products. Printing materials less than 10 piece and audiovisual products less than 20 plates are free of duty each time for one passenger. 3.Cigarette & Alcohol.

  17. China Entry and Exit Requirements and Procedures 2024

    China Entry Requirements. To enter China, you must have a valid passport and a China visa unless you are eligible for a visa-free entry or a visa-on-arrival. Note: Though you are not required to complete the China Health Declaration Card and provide the COVID-19 test result before entering China Mainland, you still need to inform the customs ...

  18. China travel advice

    Latest update: Updated information on flooding ('Safety and security' page). This travel advice covers mainland China. See travel advice for the Special Administrative Regions, Hong Kong and ...

  19. China Customs Regulations: What to Declare and How

    Duty Free. Those resident in China may bring in duty-free articles for personal use worth up to a total of RMB 5,000. Customs shall levy duty (20%) on the portion of the article (s) whose value exceeds the duty-free limit. Non-resident visitors may bring in duty-free items, which will remain in China, with a total worth of RMB 2,000.

  20. China Exit Regulation: Custom Declaration, Items & Tips

    Outward passengers carrying out the following articles shall choose "Goods to Declare Channel". 1.Camera, video camera, laptop computer or other trip necessities valued each at over RMB 5,000. 2.RMB 20,000 cash or above, or any other foreign currencies in cash equivalent to US $5,000 or above. 3.Cultural relics, endangered animals and ...

  21. Chinese tourists are ready to travel abroad again. Here's why some

    Before the pandemic, China was the world's largest market for outbound travel, having skyrocketed from 4.5 million travelers in 2000 to 150 million in 2018. The country is also the world's ...

  22. Information for Travelers

    Passengers can obtain content about this Act in the following ways: Dial the toll free number within the United States (Toll-Free Hotline for Air Travelers with Disabilities): 1-800-778-4838 (voice) or1-800-455-9880 (TTY); Dial the number of the Aviation Consumer Protection Division: 202-366-2220 (voice) or 202-366-0511 (TTY);

  23. Exploring The Travel Restrictions: Is China Currently Open For Travel

    Discover the current travel restrictions in China and find out if the country is open for travel. Explore the latest updates and guidelines. 525 Main St, Worcester, MA 01608 ... It is also worth noting that even if you meet all the travel requirements and are allowed to enter China, local restrictions and regulations may still apply in ...

  24. Business Travel Regulations in China & Visa Requirements

    As of August 30, 2023, travelers to China will no longer be required to undergo COVID-19 testing (nucleic acid or antigen) upon entry. This update was announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China on August 28, 2023, and is part of China's ongoing efforts to ease travel restrictions. A notice (DE) has also been posted at the Chinese ...

  25. U.S. Soldier Arrested in Russia for Unauthorized Travel

    U.S. Army soldier Gordon Black's unauthorized trip to Vladivostok, Russia, via China has prompted significant concern. The Pentagon disclosed that Black, a 34-year-old staff sergeant, flouted ...

  26. Chinese Tourists Are Again Embracing International Travel

    The return of China's travelers has long been awaited in the travel industry, which is expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels this year by contributing $11.1 trillion to the global economy. The ...

  27. Politics latest: Senior Labour MP 'genuinely a bit hurt' as defection

    Right-wing Tory MP Natalie Elphicke has defected to Labour, hitting out at the "broken promises of Rishi Sunak's tired and chaotic government". The move has raised eyebrows across Westminster ...