Although China has openly welcomed foreigners since 1949, it has also kept its boundaries closed to nearly all visitors. It continues to enforce strict travel policies for visitors from the United States. In recent years, however, there have been changes to the regulations. No longer do you need to undergo PCR tests seven days before your departure. You will still have to obtain a visa in advance and undergo a thorough research process before booking your flight. Despite this, there are several ways to travel to China in comfort and safety.
The first step when planning to travel to China is to determine whether you are at risk for any diseases. Some areas of China require quarantine for seven days. These measures vary by city and district, but generally include home quarantine, regular COVID-19 tests, and temperature checks. You may also be required to undergo an additional quarantine period if you are planning to travel to another city in China, which can last anywhere from seven to 14 days.
The next step in the process of traveling to China involves obtaining a travel health code. This is a unique identification number that is required when traveling within China. These codes are embedded in the popular messaging and payment applications WeChat and Alipay, or can be obtained separately. You will need to provide proof of kinship (birth or marriage certificate) or a medical diagnosis (letter from a doctor).
The Chinese government does not disclose a list of sanctioned individuals and banned entities. This makes it difficult for foreigners to know the exact effect of such measures, but it is advisable to seek legal advice and have all your documents translated. Any business dispute between a foreign company and a Canadian citizen in China could end in detention. Further, the Chinese government may not let you return to the country after a dispute. Ultimately, you are responsible for your own safety.
While China has relaxed travel restrictions on foreign nationals since March 2020, a series of measures has been implemented to combat the pandemic. For example, the first phase of these travel restrictions ended on March 28, 2020. At that time, travelers from all countries were not allowed to enter China under most types of visas. However, this has since been relaxed. It is still important to remember that China will continue to monitor and adjust its travel policies in response to the situation of the pandemic around the world.
In order to prevent a medical emergency, you must have travel insurance that covers emergency medical expenses. If your travel insurance doesn’t cover medical costs, you can contact the nearest U.S. Embassy for guidance. You may also be required to install location-tracking software on your smartphone. Some private hospitals in China will refuse to treat travelers who have been in the U.S. for 14 days before entering the country. For your own health, you should follow the guidelines outlined by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and by local authorities.
If you plan to stay in China for more than one day, you may need to apply for a multiple entry visa. Your visa will allow you to stay for a maximum of 90 days on each visit, but you cannot exceed this. Extending the duration of your stay can result in fines and administrative detention. Likewise, obtaining a visa on arrival is not guaranteed. To find out if you are eligible for a visa on arrival, check with your nearest Chinese embassy or consulate. You can also contact the Foreigners Entry and Exit Administration Section of China.
Once you are cleared to travel to China, you must comply with local quarantine requirements. Some international flights stop in Seoul for refueling. If you have no direct flight from your home country to China, you must take one of these one-stop flights. Taking multiple-transit flights is not possible due to testing requirements. For this reason, you can fly to Shanghai from Detroit and Seattle. When obtaining your travel documents, you should consult the embassy’s website for details.
If you are planning on working in China, it is vital to check if your work permit allows you to work in a school. If not, check if there are any new requirements for your visa and work permit. Also, the Department of State strongly recommends getting comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical expenses, repatriation of remains, and legal fees. However, if you are a tourist, it is best to avoid these activities altogether.