Travel to China – Cautions for International Travellers
Effective January First of all, it is important to note that the Chinese Government has issued a number of new travel advisories for travel to China. This is after a string of dangerous incidents in which Chinese tourists have fallen ill or died while traveling abroad. The new travel advisory says that there are currently no entry ban periods for tourists wishing to travel to China. However, there are specific times when these are in effect. Hence, it is important that you consult with the authorities before traveling to China.
Effective January First, there are no longer any entry restrictions on travelers originating from China travelling to Hong Kong or Macau. Previously, all of these individuals would need to obtain separate visas for each country. For example, an individual travelling to Hong Kong or Macau would require a Chinese visa in order to enter China. The new guideline therefore is that any single person arriving in China from any of the countries mentioned can apply for either a visa or entry permit.
Effective January Secondly, there are no longer any visa requirements for individuals travelling to China who do not have a work permit. Prior to this change, if you had a previous work permit in China you would still require a visa to arrive in China. But as long as you have your original work permit and you can show that you are travelling to a country that is not party to the Schengen Agreement, you will be allowed to leave and enter China without a visa.
Effective January Third, the Chinese government is no longer requiring tourists to obtain a visa or work permit when travelling to China from any of the following countries: India, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Taiwan. Visitors from these areas are not required to obtain any sort of visa prior to arrival. However, they may be required to present their identity documents upon arrival. If you intend to travel to Hong Kong or Macau, you will require an exit visa.
Effective July Fourth, travellers departing from any of the above countries are no longer required to obtain an exit visa once they have arrived in China. Instead, they will be required to leave on exit visa which is normally not necessary if you are travelling from a neighbouring country. The lack of exit visas has lead to a significant increase in the number of people travelling to China with no work permit. Many of these people do not have access to their home countries’ consular assistance and have difficulty obtaining a visa.
Effective July Fifth, a new rule has been implemented by the Chinese authorities that all citizens travelling to China are required to obtain a visa upon arrival. This visa requirement now applies to both visitors to the mainland (the mainland of China) and those travelling to Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan or other non-mainland Chinese cities. In addition, all travellers departing from China are required to leave and enter China through the Shanghai International Airport. There is currently no requirement to leave for China once you have arrived in the country – you can simply remain at the airport until you receive a local exit visa. If you have already obtained a local exit visa, then you can enter China immediately. However, it is important that you obtain your exit visa from the Chinese embassy in Hong Kong before travelling to China.
Effective July Sixth, travellers wishing to travel to China will need to undergo a quarantine period. The quarantine period will last from one to two weeks, depending on the number of countries you are planning to visit, and is strictly enforced. Your passport is not permitted to be taken into the country during this time. Quarantine procedures are administered regularly and are strictly enforced. For those travelling from abroad, they are required to submit their immunization records prior to embarking on their flights to China.
Effective July Seventh, all passengers travelling between member states imposing travel restrictions to China are required to provide their documentation of immunization to the customs department upon arrival. These travellers are also required to register with the Local Travel Health & Security Administration office upon arrival to provide proof of immunization. Tourists may also need to provide relevant vaccinations upon arrival. Some airlines may also require their passengers to show proof of valid passports when arriving in China. Travel to China by sea is now restricted to vessels less than thirty-six meters in length.