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China Travel Restrictions & Travel Advisory (Updated May 20, 2022)

China Travel Restrictions & Travel Advisory (Updated May 20, 2022)

Written by Chris QuanUpdated May. 20, 2022
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May 20: Starting from May 20, China has eased entry requirements. Chinese embassies in many countries (like the UK, the US, Spain, Australia, etc) have announced passengers (whether you're vaccinated or not) now just need to undergo two PCR tests within 48 hours before departure. See What Are the Restrictions?

Passengers don't need to take the PCR test at the flight departure city 7 days before boarding and don't need to undergo a 7-day health monitoring.

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 or emergency humanitarian needs. There has been no official information on when China will open its borders.  We are all waiting.  

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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) — only visas for work or emergency humanitarian needs, such as visiting a seriously ill family member, are possible.

Here is a simple flowchart showing how to enter China with the current COVID measures in play [Dec. 2021]. It is for reference only. For more detail, please see our page content.

Can I travel to China

Note: The second method "apply a new visa with a China vaccine certificate" is temporarily unavailable to some countries, such as Germany.

FAQs about Traveling to China

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

No. Those holding certain visas (L, 10-year, Q, or X 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 not. Family visits to China are still impracticable if you don't have a residence permit for reunion. However, now, if you have been fully inoculated with a Chinese vaccine, there is a new avenue to apply for a reunion visa to go to China.

3. Can international students return to China yet?

No. International students cannot return to China yet. There is no official news yet on when China will open its borders for international students.

4. Can I travel to China from the USA/UK?

Yes, you can come to China as long as you meet one of the above three requirements.

5. 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.

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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 Mainland or Macau 

Non-Hong-Kong-residents now residing in high/medium risks areas such as the USA, the UK, France, Germany, Thailand, India, and Italy cannot enter in Hong Kong.

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 all of the 21 days prior to their entry into Macau for the purpose of family reunification, work, study, important business events, or academic/professional activities

Non-Macau-residents now residing in the USA, the UK, France, Germany, Thailand, India, Italy, etc. may not enter Macau.

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. Applicants must have been in Macau for at least 28 days prior to departure or have been inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines produced in China. Quarantine is required.

China Visa Restrictions

visa

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.

If you meet one of the following application requirements, you can apply for a Z visa:

  • An "Invitation Letter (PU)" + a "Foreigners Work Permit" (both are handled by your company/organization in China) + a WHO-approved vaccination certificate
  • Or vaccination certificate for inoculation with a COVID-19 vaccine produced in China + "Foreigners Work Permit"

A PU letter is an invitation letter issued by the China Foreign Affairs Office to successful companies who contact the district foreign affairs officer, submit the application materials, and wait for the approval.

You will need to complete all doses of your vaccine. Booster shot is not needed yet.

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 Visa)

This applies to family members of foreigners (working in Shanghai).

To apply for an S visa, you will need:

  • An "Invitation Letter (PU)" (your family member's) + relationship certification + WHO-approved vaccination certificate

3. For Business (M Visa)

If you meet one of the following application requirements, you can apply for an M visa:

  • An "Invitation Letter (PU)" (to be handled by your business partner) + WHO-approved vaccination certificate
  • Or vaccination certificate for inoculation with a COVID-19 vaccine produced in China + valid APEC business travel card.

4. For a Family Visit (Q Visa)

This applies to foreigners who have Chinese family members.

If you meet one of the following application requirements, you can apply for a Q visa:

  • For emergency humanitarian needs including death in the family (inside China) or family member in critical hospital/palliative care.
  • Or Chinese vaccine certificate + relationship certificate

What Are the Restrictions in 2022?

From May 20, China has eased entry requirements for incoming passengers.

The following entry requirement apply to all passengers, whether you are vaccinated or not, or whether you are vaccinated with inactivated or non-inactivated vaccines:

  • Take two PCR tests within 48 hours before departure, each at one of two testing agencies*.

Note: Some countries, like the US and the UK, require the last test should be done within 24 hours and passengers should take an antigen test within 12 hours before boarding.

The negative antigen test result only need to be presented at boarding. (Electronic or paper test results are acceptable.) You don't need to upload the test result when applying for the Health Declaration Code (HDC).

But some countries, like Australia, require the last test should be done within 12 hours before departure. Under the circumstances, you can apply for the health code after receiving your first nucleic acid test report. The second nucleic acid test report should be presented at boarding time.

* Some countries, such as the United States, require two PCR tests to be conducted at different designated facilities, while the United Kingdom allows two PCR tests to be taken in two clinics separately or in one clinic. If the two PCR tests are taken in one clinic, two samples must be collected and the two samples must be sent to two different laboratories.

Each country will have slightly different requirements. Please check the website of your local embassy or call to inquire.

4 Steps to Enter China:

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

2. Book a direct flight to China if there are direct flights from your country to China. If not, you can choose a connecting flight. But please make sure that the transit airport has facilities for nucleic acid testing.

3. Do the required medical tests and upload the form, test results, and other information 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. The length of quarantine depends on different cities' policies. These measures will change from time to time, depending on the local pandemic situation.

  • 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.

April 15 updates: Xiamen's latest entry quarantine policy has been adjusted to "10+7" (10-day centralized quarantine + 7-day home quarantine).

If you enter from Xiamen but your final destination is another city, you will take the "10+4+7" quarantine policy (10-day centralized quarantine in Xiamen + 4-day hotel health monitoring in Xiamen + 7-day home quarantine in your final destination).

Expected pilot cities for the new quarantine policy in the future may also include Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Dalian, Suzhou, Qingdao, and Ningbo.

Note: If a positive case is found at your quarantine hotel, you will need to undergo the 14-day quarantine.  

Entry City/Province Local Quarantine Policy
Beijing  "14+7+7" (14 days' centralized + 7 days' centralized/home quarantine + 7 days' community health monitoring)
Those who enter Beijing after a 21-day quarantine in a different China entry city need to do 7 days' community health monitoring.
Shanghai "14+7" (14 days' centralized + 7 days' home quarantine)
Those with no Shanghai residence do a 21-day centralized quarantine.
Guangzhou "14+7+7" (14 days' centralized + 7 days' home quarantine + 7 days' community health monitoring)
Shenzhen "14+7" (14 days' centralized quarantine + 7 days' home quarantine)
Jiangsu "14+14" (14 days' centralized + 14 days' home quarantine)
"3+11+14" for those who enter from Shanghai but final destination is in Jiangsu (3 days' centralized quarantine in Shanghai + a ‘closed-loop transfer' to Jiangsu for 11 days' centralized + 14 days' home quarantine)
Hangzhou "14+7+7" (14 days' centralized + 7 days' home quarantine + 7 days' community health monitoring)
Chengdu "14+7" (14 days' centralized quarantine + 7 days' home quarantine)
Tianjin "14+7" (14 days' centralized + 7 days' home quarantine)
Xiamen "10+7" (10 days' centralized + 7 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 14-day centralized quarantine (if your quarantine test results are normal) at your first city of entry.

Usually, you wouldn't need to do a 14-day quarantine again when you arrive at your final destination, but a 7-day home quarantine or 7-day health monitoring may be required. Every city has slightly different requirements.

Here is an example. If you land in Shanghai and your final destination is Chengdu, you will first do a 14-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 7-day home quarantine or a 7-day health monitoring. 

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.

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International Flights to China

Requirements for international flights to China:

  • A direct flight is required if your country (such as the USA) has direct flights to China.
  • You may find that some international flights to China with a short stop in Seoul (a refueling stop) are still considered direct flights.
  • A one-stop flight is required for those countries who have no direct flight to China. The transfer route should follow the designated route stipulated by the airline and the embassy.  
  • Multiple-transit flights are not feasible due to testing requirements, etc.

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 July.
  • San Francisco has flights to Shanghai from June.
  • Dallas has flights to Shanghai from May.
  • Seattle has flights to Shanghai  from July.
  • Detroit has flights to Shanghai from July.
  • London has flights to Shanghai from May and Beijing from November.
  • 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 July.
  • Milan has flights to Tianjin from May.
  • Frankfurt has flights to Jinan in May and to Shanghai from May.
  • Sydney has flights to Shanghai from May, to Guangzhou and Xiamen  from April.
  • Amsterdam has flights to Xiamen from April, and to Guangzhou and  Shanghai from June.
  • Helsinki has flights to Shanghai from September.
  • 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

You could consider these cities for transit: Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Copenhagen, and Paris.

For transfer passengers, you need to do COVID-19 nucleic acid and IgM serum antibody tests again at the transit airport. So, you must leave enough transit time to get the results (at least 10 hours) before going on to China.

After getting the results, submit them online and you will get a new HDC or HDF (explained in the "What Documents to Prepare" section above). Then you can board the plane.

An example of an airport that has been processing international transfers to China is Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport. You could check out specific transfer requirements and test booking at Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport here.

However, many airports don't have facilities for nucleic acid testing. You will not be able to transfer via such airports to China. You should check the transfer rules and facilities of the airport you will transfer at.

What's the COVID Situation in China Now?

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.

Traveling in Yangshuo Our guests are traveling in Yangshuo.

Medium/High-Risk Areas in China (May 18, 2022)

If you are traveling from areas of medium or high risk, you are not allowed to visit other cities. If you are allowed to enter other cities or provinces, you will need a negative nucleic acid test result and to be quarantined.

  • High-risk areas: Beijing
  • Medium-risk areas: Beijing, Shanghai, Harbin, Zhanjiang, Dandong, Yingkou, Chengde, Tangshan, Guang'an

Other areas in China are low risk. Those traveling from low-risk areas to low-risk areas do not need to quarantine.  

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

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