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China Travel Restrictions — COVID-19 Situation Updates

2020-03-28 (updated 2020-11-06) 16 minute read China

Inside the BDIA Terminal - Beijing Daxing International Airport 北京大兴国际机场 (PKX)

Highlights

  • Our teams across China operate as usual, if your business require on-the-ground support or representation in China, simply enquire here.

Please note, due to the dynamic nature of the COVID-19 global pandemic situation, the information provided here is subject to change without notice. Always check with the Chinese Consulate, Embassy, or an official Chinese Visa centre.

Information provided here is for convenience only, while we attempt to be as accurate as possible we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy. Please enquire with your local Chinese Visa Application Service Center (CVASC), or with the Chinese Consulate or Embassy in your country.

Current situation for foreign visitors

On 4 November 2020, Embassy in the UK issued a notice on the temporary suspension of entry by non-Chinese nationals. Visas issued after 3 November are not affected. Furthermore, from 10 November, the Chinese Visa Application Service Centers in the UK have adjusted the opening hours.

As of October 2020, foreign visitors to China are still restricted to 3 categories of Chinese residence permits:

  • work
  • emergency visit / personal matters
  • reunion

Permitted travellers holding the appropriate residence permit will require certificate of negative result of nucleic acid and IgM anti-body tests for COVID-19 (PCR) before they can travel.

Visa applications for other visiting purposes are still being restricted at the moment.

Entry with diplomatic, service, courtesy, or C visas, as well as new visas issued by Chinese Embassies or Consulates post 28 March 2020, are not affected.

Developments briefing

Strict controls were imposed on midnight 28 March 2020, when China suspended the entry for most foreign nationals (announcement) as a temporary measure in response to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus disease across the world.

This has been relaxed in August, when several European embassies (Denmark, Netherlands, Germany) announced that eligible foreign nationals from 36 European countries will be able to apply for new Chinese visas at a Chinese embassy or consulate in their country.

For applicants based in the UK, the new rules apply also to applications processed by the Chinese Visa Application Service Centres in London, Manchester and Edinburgh starting from 18 August 2020. The Centres started reopening in June/July following their temporary closure on 27 March 2020.

The countries included in the announcement are (in alphabetical order): Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

Following the most recent announcement, with effect from midnight 28 September 2020, foreign nationals holding valid Chinese residence permits for work, personal matters, and reunion can now enter China without applying for new visas.

China domestic travel situation

Restrictions on domestic travel within China have been gradually lifted.

In general, in China the outbreaks are currently sporadic and limited to local clusters and most infections are linked to “imported” cases, there are no reports of wider community transmission. Although local outbreaks and lock-downs on a short notice are still inevitable the disruptions are currently relatively short-lived and manageable.

Domestic travel in other countries within the region varies but is mostly permitted, whilst travel between countries/regions is strictly controlled and some regions require certificate of negative result of nucleic acid tests for COVID-19 (PCR), quarantine on arrival requirement varies — check with the entry city or province for up-to-date information and further details.

Local support

If your business require on-the-ground support in China, including temporary representation at trade shows, simply enquire here, or contact your Account Manager. Our extensive network of representatives and agents in different regions and countries that we can engage with allows us to limit the travel requirements to minimum whilst ensuring their safety, continuing providing services and assisting our clients with business continuity.


List of key official announcements

Below are some of the key announcements related to visa and travel restrictions, provided here for convenience only.

2020/11/03 (Embassy in the UK)

Notice on the Temporary Suspension of Entry into China by Non-Chinese Nationals in the UK Holding Valid Chinese Visas or Residence Permits

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, China has decided to temporarily suspend entry into China by non-Chinese nationals in the UK holding visas or residence permits still valid at the time of this announcement. The Chinese Embassy and Consulates in the UK will no longer issue Certified Health Declaration Form for the above-mentioned personnel.

Entry by holders of diplomatic, service, courtesy or C visas will not be affected. Foreign nationals visiting China for emergency needs may apply for visas at Chinese Embassy or Consulates. Entry by non-Chinese nationals in the UK with visas issued after 3 November 2020 will not be affected.

The suspension is a temporary response necessitated by the current situation of Covid-19. The above-mentioned measures will be assessed in accordance with the evolving situation and any adjustment will be announced accordingly.

(via Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)

See also: Embassy’s Notice on Adjustment of Services of the Chinese Visa Application Service Center

2020/09/23 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The People’s Republic of China
National Immigration Administration of The People’s Republic of China

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

In view of the current COVID-19 situation and the need of epidemic prevention and control, adjustments are now made to the Announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Immigration Administration on the Temporary Suspension of Entry by Foreign Nationals Holding Valid Chinese Visas or Residence Permits issued on 26 March 2020.

Effective from 0 a.m., 28 September 2020, foreign nationals holding valid Chinese residence permits for work, personal matters and reunion are allowed to enter China with no need for applying for new visas. If the above three categories of residence permits held by foreign nationals expired after 0 a.m., 28 March 2020, the holders may apply for relevant visas by presenting the expired residence permits and relevant materials to the Chinese embassies or consulates on the condition that the purpose of the holders’ visit to China remains unchanged. The above-mentioned personnel shall strictly abide by the Chinese regulations on epidemic prevention and control.

Other measures in the Announcement issued on March 26 will continue to be implemented. While ensuring effective epidemic control, the Chinese government will continue resuming people-to-people exchanges in a step-by-step and orderly manner.

(via: MFA News)

2020/08/12 (Embassy in Germany)

Mitteilung über Visa-Erleichterungen für relevante Ausländer mit gültiger Aufenthaltserlaubnis für China

Angesichts der raschen Ausbreitung der Corona-Epidemie weltweit hat die chinesische Regierung seit dem 28. März die Einreise von Ausländern mit gültigen Visa und Aufenthaltsgenehmigungen nach China vorübergehend ausgesetzt, aber gleichzeitig gibt es weiterhin für Ausländer, die nach China kommen, um notwendige wirtschaftliche, Handels-, wissenschaftliche und technologische Aktivitäten zu unternehmen, sowie für diejenigen, die aus humanitären Notsituationen einreisen müssen, Erleichterungen bei den Visa. Im Zusammenhang mit der Normalisierung der Prävention und Bekämpfung Corona-Epidemie und um den Personalaustausch zwischen beiden Seiten weiter zu erleichtern, hat China beschlossen, dass Personen aus entsprechenden europäischen Ländern (siehe nachstehende Liste), die über gültige Aufenthaltsgenehmigungen (Aufenthaltsgenehmigung für Arbeit, Privatangelegenheiten, Angehörigenaufenthalt) verfügen, bei den chinesischen Auslandsvertretungen in diesen Ländern kostenlos und ohne Einladung ein Visum für China beantragen können. Die entsprechenden Personen müssen sich nach der Einreise an die Vorschriften der chinesischen Regierung zur Bekämpfung von Epidemien halten.

Besonders wird darauf hingewiesen, dass Ausländer, die über “Fast Track” nach China reisen, um Aktivitäten in den Bereichen Wirtschaft, Handel, Wissenschaft und Technologie, Kultur, Bildung, Sport usw. nachzugehen, weiterhin ein Einladungsschreiben der zuständigen chinesischen Provinzbehörde zur Beantragung eines Visums bei der chinesischen Auslandsvertretung in Deutschland vorlegen müssen. Wer durch “Fast Track” und mit einem Charterflug nach China reist, muss weiterhin im Voraus einen Nukleinsäuretest durchführen und mit einem negativen Testzertifikat an Bord des Flugzeugs gehen. Antragsteller füllen bitte das Antragsformular online über die Websites der entsprechenden chinesischen Visumantrags-Service-Center in Deutschland aus und vereinbaren im Voraus einen Termin per E-Mail mit dem jeweiligen Visum-Center.

Botschaft der Volksrepublik China

Berlin, den 12.August 2020

Liste der europäischen Länder:

Arbanien, Irland, Estland, Österreich, Bulgarien, Nordmazedonien, Belgien, Island, Bosnien und Herzegowina, Polen, Dänemark, Deutschland, Frankreich, Finnland, Niederlande, Montenegro, Tschechien, Kroatien, Lettland, Litauen, Luxemburg, Rumänien, Malta, Norwegen, Portugal, Schweden, Schweiz, Serbien, Zypern, Slowakei, Slowenien, Spanien, Griechenland, Ungarn, Italien, Großbritannien

(via Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Germany)

2020/08/11 (Embassy in Netherlands)

Notice of issuing visas to those holding valid Chinese residence permits

In order to facilitate personnel exchanges under the backdrop of ongoing epidemic prevention and control efforts, China decides that those citizens of the following European countries ( list attached below ) who hold valid Chinese residence permits ( only for work, family reunion or other private affairs ) can contact the Chinese Visa Application Service Center in the Hague to submit the visa application for free from August 13, 2020.

After entering China, all travellers must abide by the quarantine and management regulations regarding the COVID-19 implemented by Chinese local governments.

(via Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

2020/08/10 (Embassy in Denmark)

鉴于新冠肺炎疫情在全球范围快速蔓延,中国政府自3月28日起暂时停止外国人持当时有效来华签证和居留许可入境,但同时对来华从事必要经贸、科技等活动,以及出于紧急人道主义需要的外国人继续提供签证便利。

在新冠肺炎疫情防控常态化背景下,为进一步便利双方人员往来,中方决定,有关欧洲国家(名单见后)持中国相关有效居留许可(工作类、私人事务类、团聚类居留许可)人员,可向中国驻这些国家任何使领馆免费申办来华签证。相关人员入境后须遵守中国地方政府防疫管理规定。

中华人民共和国驻丹麦王国大使馆

2020年8月10日

适用欧洲国家名单:

阿尔巴尼亚、爱尔兰、爱沙尼亚、奥地利、保加利亚、北马其顿、比利时、冰岛、波黑、波兰、丹麦、德国、法国、芬兰、荷兰、黑山、捷克、克罗地亚、拉脱维亚、立陶宛、卢森堡、罗马尼亚、马耳他、挪威、葡萄牙、瑞典、瑞士、塞尔维亚、塞浦路斯、斯洛伐克、斯洛文尼亚、西班牙、希腊、匈牙利、意大利、英国

(via Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Kingdom of Denmark)

2020/03/26 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China
National Immigration Administration

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

In view of the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the world, China has decided to temporarily suspend the entry into China by foreign nationals holding visas or residence permits still valid to the time of this announcement, effective from 0 a.m., 28 march 2020. Entry by foreign nationals with APEC Business Travel Cards will be suspended as well. Policies including port visas, 24/72/144-hour visa-free transit policy, Hainan 30-day visa-free policy, 15-day visa-free policy specified for foreign cruise-group-tour through Shanghai Port, Guangdong 144-hour visa-free policy specified for foreign tour groups from Hong Kong or Macao SAR, and Guangxi 15-day visa-free policy specified for foreign tour groups of ASEAN countries will also be temporarily suspended. Entry with diplomatic, service, courtesy or C visas will not be affected. Foreign nationals coming to China for necessary economic, trade, scientific or technological activities or out of emergency humanitarian needs may apply for visas at Chinese embassies or consulates. Entry by foreign nationals with visas issued after this announcement will not be affected.

The suspension is a temporary measure that China is compelled to take in light of the outbreak situation and the practices of other countries. China will stay in close touch with all sides and properly handle personnel exchanges with the rest of the world under the special circumstances. The above-mentioned measures will be calibrated in light of the evolving situation and announced accordingly.

(via: MFA News)

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