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China Travel Restrictions & Travel Advisory (Updated November 11, 2022)

China Travel Restrictions & Travel Advisory (Updated November 11, 2022)

Written by Chris QuanUpdated Nov. 15, 2022
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November 11: China has updated the epidemic prevention and control measures. According to the latest notice, The previous "7+3" quarantine policy has been changed to "5+3" (5-day centralized quarantine and 3-day home quarantine). 

The policy of “circuit-breaker” for inbound international flights is also cancelled, which means the number of flights to China will be steady and will not be cancelled due to the pandemic. The previous requirement of two PCR-tests before boarding within 48 hours has been changed to only one test. 

China travel restrictions and bans continue to be lifted or increased as the domestic and foreign pandemic situation changes. Currently, foreign nationals may enter China for work, study, family reunion, or emergency humanitarian needs. 

There has been no official information on when China will open its borders.  We are all waiting.  However, whether 2023 is a good time or not, we are not sure yet. 2024 seems more possible.

For people who want to plan a trip to China, we would say China could be a good plan B for 2023. If not China, most of our clients choose Japan, Egypt, Morroco, or Cuba. Contact us to get some trip ideas on these destinations.

You can join our Facebook group to get our latest information.

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Who Can Go to China — China's Current Entry Policy

China still maintains strict entry restrictions. Inbound tourism to China is still not feasible. Now there are three ways for foreigners to enter China:

  • Holding a valid Chinese residence permit for work, personal matters, or reunion
  • Holding a diplomatic, service, courtesy, or C visa
  • Applying for a new China visa (the previous visa will not be cancelled) — Z-, M-, R-, X1, Q-, and S-visas now are possible.

FAQs about Traveling to China

1. If I hold a (long-term) L or 10-year, can I enter China now?

No. Those holding certain visas (L or 10-year visas) issued before March 28th, 2020 may not enter China (even if vaccinated).

2. My family members (wife/husband, fiancée/fiancé...) are Chinese citizens and now in China. Can I enter China to visit them?

Probably yes. From June 20, Chinese embassies begin to accept Q and S visas' applications. You can check the latest and detailed information with the Chinese embassy of your country.

3. Can international students return to China yet?

Yes. International students can now return to China. 

4. I am from the USA/UK, and I have already been inoculated with a Chinese vaccine and hold a valid residence permit. I need to go back to the USA/UK and return to China. Is that ok?

Normally yes. But we strongly suggest double checking with the Chinese embassy of the country you are returning to. You are required to quarantine when you return to China.

Policies change quickly. Please double check with the Chinese consulate/visa center to ensure your trip.

Hong Kong / Macau Travel Restrictions

Hong Kong / Macau cannot be used to transit into Chinese Mainland.

Who can enter Hong Kong?

  • Hong Kong residents
  • Non-HKRs who now reside in the Chinese mainland or Macau
  • Non-HKRs from overseas 

Non-Hong-Kong-residents from overseas can enter Hong Kong from May 1. From September 26, travelers entering Hong Kong only need to undergo 3-day home quarantine. 

Can foreign nationals in Hong Kong enter Chinese Mainland?

Yes, but only those who are returning to work or who are in humanitarian need can apply for a visa to enter Chinese Mainland. See below for application requirements.

Quarantine is required whether you are coming from Hong Kong to Chinese Mainland or vice versa.

Who can enter Macau?

  • Macau residents
  • Residents of Chinese Mainland, Hong Kong, and Taiwan
  • Foreigners who have been in Chinese Mainland for the purpose of family reunification, work, study, important business events, or academic/professional activities
  • Non-Macau-residents from overseas

More detailed official information please check out here

Can foreign nationals in Macau enter Chinese Mainland?

Yes, foreigners in Macau can enter Chinese Mainland by applying for a visa for business, work, travel, a family visit, etc. Quarantine is required.

China Visa Restrictions


Any new visa may only be valid for a month or 3 months. Upon arrival, it may only have a 30-day validity, during which time you need to apply for a residence permit.

The information we list below is for reference only. Because visa application requirements may change quickly and vary. As a travel agent, we only operate sightseeing tours in China. As for detailed visa information and application service, please contact your consulate/embassy/VAC. 

You may apply for a new visa (your current visa will not be canceled) at your nearest Chinese consulate/embassy/VAC (Visa Application Center) to enter China for the following purposes:

1. For Work (Z Visa)

Applying for a work visa is by far the most popular way to come to China (currently). Dependents (spouse and children under the age of 18) may come on the same visa.

To apply for a Z visa, you will need:

  • A "Foreigners Work Permit" (is handled by your company/organization in China) + a WHO-approved vaccination certificate

Some WHO-approved vaccines include:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (2 doses)
  • Moderna (mRNA-1273) COVID-19 Vaccine (2 doses)
  • J&J COVID-19 vaccine (1 doses)
  • Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine (2 doses)
  • Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine (2 doses)
  • Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine (2 doses)

2. For Family Reunion (S or Q Visa)

This applies to family members of Chinese citizens and family members of foreign people who are going to work in China (or already working in China).

To apply for an S or Q visa, you will need:

  • Relationship certification + WHO-approved vaccination certificate

3. For Business

Method one: applying an M visa

To apply an M visa, you will need:

  • A company invitation letter (to be handled by your business partner) + WHO-approved vaccination certificate

Method two: by APEC cards

If you hold a valid APEC business travel card, you can enter China with the card directly without applying a new visa.

4. For Study (X1 Visa)

  • For 2022 school year student: JW201 or JW202 form + admission notice + vaccination certificate
  • For 2020-2021 school year student: JW201 or JW202 form + admission notice + return school certificate + vaccination certificate
  • For 2019 or before school year student: return school certificate + vaccination certificate
  • If you hold a valid student residence permit, you can enter China without applying a new visa.

What Are the Restrictions in 2022?

Updated November 11: China has released the latest entry requirements. The previous requirement of two PCR tests before departure within 48 hours has been changed to one PCR test.

From November 12, 2022, for all travelers, whether you are vaccinated or not, or whether you are vaccinated with inactivated or non-inactivated vaccines, you will only need to take one PCR test within 48 hours before departure and apply for a health code by uploading your negtive nucleic acid result.

If you transfer through a third country to China, you also only need to take one PCR test at the city of departure OR at your transfer airport/city and apply for a health code.  You just need to make sure the health code is still valid when you board at the transfer airport if you get it in your departure point. 

4 Steps to Enter China:

1. Make sure you have permission to enter China (valid permit, visa, or ID card).

2. Book a flight to China (taking direct flights or transfering to China is allowed).

3. Do one PCR test and upload the test result to get a health code for boarding. Under normal circumstances, the consulate will complete test report verification and issue a health code within 12 hours.

4. Board the plane. Prepare your ID card or passport with permit/visa, health code, hard copies of negative nucleic acid test results, and certificate of vaccination if you are vaccinated. (While it's not mandatory to get vaccinated, it may make the process easier.)

China Quarantine Rules

Passengers (whether vaccinated or not) are required to quarantine at a designated site. 

China has announced the latest quarantine policy. The quarantine period will be reduced to 8 days ("5+3": 5-day centralized quarantine and 3-day home quarantine). Those who do not meet the conditions for home quarantine  continue may carry out 3-day home quarantine at a designated hotel.

When you finished the centralized quarantine at the first city of entry, you don't need to take more centralized quarantines at other destinations.

  • Centralized quarantine means staying at in a designated hotel and not going out.
  • Home quarantine means staying at home and not going out.
  • Community health monitoring means you can go out to work and other essential activities, but not to join in parties and other group activities.
Entry City/Province Local Quarantine Policy
Beijing "5+3" (5 days' centralized quarantine + 3 days' home quarantine)
Shanghai "5+3" (5 days' centralized quarantine + 3 days' home quarantine)
Guangzhou "5+3" (5 days' centralized quarantine + 3 days' home quarantine)
Shenzhen "5+3" (5 days' centralized quarantine + 3 days' home quarantine)
Hangzhou "5+3" (5 days' centralized quarantine + 3 days' home quarantine)
Chengdu "5+3" (5 days' centralized quarantine + 3 days' home quarantine)
Tianjin "5+3" (5 days' centralized quarantine + 3 days' home quarantine)
Xiamen "5+3" (5 days' centralized quarantine + 3 days' home quarantine)

What if the City I Enter Is Not My Final Destination?

Passengers are required to be quarantined in their entry city. Generally, you can head to your final destination after a centralized quarantine (if your quarantine test results are normal) at your first city of entry.

Usually, you wouldn't need to do a centralized quarantine again when you arrive at your final destination, but a  home quarantine or health monitoring may be required.

Here is an example. If you land in Shanghai and your final destination is Chengdu, you will first do a 5-day centralized quarantine in Shanghai. After that, you can head to Chengdu. When arriving in Chengdu, you need to report to the community where you live. The community staff will tell you what to do next, usually a  home quarantine. 

Quarantine Tips:

  • The expenses during the quarantine period are normally about CN¥400–600 (for board and lodging) per day in the hotel, which you must pay.
  • Quarantine hotels are assigned by the government. In general, you can't choose from among the designated quarantine hotels.
  • Normally, each person stays in a single room. Children under the age of 14 can be quarantined with a parent.

If you have other needs, you can ask the staff for help. The information we provide is for reference only. You can only know the specific requirements when you arrive at the hotel.

International Flights to China

China adjusted the restrictions on international flights to China. Passengers can take direct flights or transfer to China. Multiple-transit flights are allowed. There are no requirements for the transfer route. Passengers can make their own choices according to their own situation and flight situation.

Where Can I Fly to China?

Flights are available to China from Los Angeles, New York, London, Vancouver, Paris, Frankfurt, Sydney, and over 20 other cities, but they are very limited, for example:

  • New York has flights to Beijing and Shanghai from October.
  • Los Angeles has flights to Beijing and Shenzhen from September and to Guangzhou from August.
  • San Francisco has flights to Shanghai from July.
  • Dallas has flights to Shanghai from June.
  • Seattle has flights to Shanghai  from June.
  • Detroit has flights to Shanghai from July.
  • London has flights to Shanghai from July.
  • Vancouver has flights to Shanghai, Beijing, Xiamen, and Chengdu from April, and to Guangzhou from May.
  • Toronto has flights to Xiamen and Chengdu from April, and to Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou from May.
  • Paris has flights to Shanghai from September.
  • Milan has flights to Tianjin from July.
  • Frankfurt has flights to Jinan in August and to Shanghai from September.
  • Sydney has flights to Shanghai from August and to Guangzhou from September.
  • Amsterdam has flights to Xiamen, Guangzhou, and  Shanghai from July.
  • Helsinki has flights to Shanghai from August.
  • Kuala Lumpur has flights to Guangzhou from June.
  • Singapore has flights to to Xiamen in April and May, to Guangzhou from June, and to Shanghai from September.

The above information is for reference only. Flights may change depending on updated policies of the various countries and airlines.

You can find more information about flights to China and book tickets on the websites of China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Air China, United Airlines, British Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Air France, or other relevant airlines.

Transfers in a Third Country

Tranferring in one or more countries is allowed. 

For transfer passengers, you will only need to do one PRC test at  your departure city or at the transfer airport/city and apply for a  health code. 

For example, if you departure from New York and will transfer through Bangkok to China, you can choose to do a PCR test at New York and apply for a helath code within 48 hours before departure.

When you arrive at Bangkok airport, you don't need to do another test. You can board with the health code you applied for in New York.  But you need to make sure your health code is valid.

Or you can choose to do the PCR test when you arrive in Bangkok and apply for a health code there. That way, you won't need to do the test and get a health code in New York. 

Note: If you choose to do the PCR test at the transfer airport, please contact the airport in advance to confirm whether there are facilities for PCR testing.

What's the COVID Situation in China Now?

Traveling in Yangshuo Our guests are traveling in Yangshuo.  

Things in China have gone back to normal, mostly. Occasionally, there are some regional cases, for example in Shanghai now [April 2022]. Timely measures have been taken to control the spread of any outbreaks.  

Domestic trips are allowed if you are traveling from low-risk areas. When choosing a destination, please avoid the current medium- and high-risk areas. 

Travelers typically need to prepare a green health code, passports, masks, and negative nucleic acid test results in some cases.

Every city has slightly different requirements. It is highly suggested you scan the health code of your destination first and set up your health code. Here you can find health codes of main destinationsContact us for expert help planning a trip in China.

A Professional Travel Agency Can Help a Lot

With the frequent changing of regulations as different regions react to the pandemic situation, having a professional local and national tour company, like ourselves, in charge of your itinerary and transportation is a safeguard for your trip. We will:

  • Stay up-to-date with relevant regulations and compliance
  • Guide you in preparing documents needed for your trip
  • Ensure smooth check ins at your hotels
  • Handle emergencies with our 24-hour hotline
  • Help book tickets in advance
  • Provide private and safe transportation

Recommended Tours for First-Time Travelers

Recommended China Tours for Expats

All our tours can be customized. We can create an ideal China trip for you based on your group size, time, budget, interests, preferences, and other requirements. Contact us.

Are There Any Other Asian Countries Open for Travel?

Thailand reopens to international visitors from all over the world. See more details on Thailand Travel Restrictions 2022.

For more reopening information on other Asian countries, see

10 Asia Countries Open for Tourism without Quarantine in 2022
10 Asia Countries Open for Tourism without Quarantine view more

Or join our Facebook group to get our latest information about Asia travel.

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