Travel to China – How to Get Ready For Your Travel to China
The entry ban on Chinese tourists was imposed on January 14th, from seven cities across the country. The cities included Hangzhou, Kaifeng, Ningbo, Shanghai, Suzhou, Xujiahui and Beijing. While some analysts speculate that this is a clear move to prevent demonstrations by Chinese citizens against the new entry ban, others suggest it could be related to the ongoing struggle between the Chinese government and labor unions over workers’ rights. There are also rumors of preparations for mass retirements in China. There has been no confirmation of these rumors thus far. We will go into more detail about the travel ban later on in this article.
There was an initial period of grace when it initially allowed citizens of certain nations into China, namely: Zambia, Mongolia, Vietnam, and Taiwan. On January 15th, the restrictions were expanded to include citizens of Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar. Some analysts believe that this is related to the ongoing dispute between China and the Philippines over the ownership of islands in the South China Sea. Whether or not this is the case, the expanded entry restrictions on China was met with criticism from the United Nations and the United States, who claimed that the move constitutes discrimination.
As the number of travelers traveling to China increased, the Chinese government immediately attempted to tighten the ban. On February 13th, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Guiheng criticized the United States for carrying out “entry bans on specific countries.” He added that the move will negatively affect bilateral relations. The Ministry did not specify how it plans to handle US travelers entering or exiting China and did not respond to questions regarding the timeframe or the procedure for carrying out this order.
The United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and Sweden are among the twenty countries that have implemented visa requirements for citizens of China. In September, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that his country would impose visa fees on citizens of China traveling to the UK. He said that the move was in response to Chinese citizens using the British airport to bypass his country and enter India. Sweden followed suit in October, announcing a similar policy to that of the British government. The Finnish government also implemented a similar restriction, which is in force since July.
While these measures may appear harsh and unjustified, they do coincide with China’s efforts to improve its international image. China faces many challenges, including the large number of unemployed and unskilled labor, rampant corruption, and a poor economic performance. These issues are forcing the government to reform its visa policy in a more restrictive manner, so that it can attract more global tourists. On that note, a previous article I wrote about how Chinese authorities were beginning to implement tougher requirements for obtaining a work permit, and subsequently banned most travel to China until the government can fully implement its reforms.
If you plan to travel to China either by yourself or as part of a group, and you have not obtained a visa, or if you plan to change your visa status, you should know that your potential traveling plans could be severely limited if you do not follow China’s migration rules. An incorrect visa application could lead to your entry being refused, or in some cases, your entire stay could be canceled. A poorly prepared visa application can also result in you being sent back home.
As discussed in my previous article, the current quarantine period between traveling to China and entering the country has ended, and therefore all foreigners who had their applications approved during the fourteen days prior to the end of the quarantine period will now be required to apply for a visa. The rules for visa processing and approval are not publicly accessible information, and visa applications will likely be handled according to your own country’s regulations. However, you should know that your chances of being approved are much lower if you do not submit your application early. This is especially true if you applied for a three-day pass, which will expire on day fourteen from when you submit your application. If you submit your application late, your application may be sent back to the queue, and you may experience additional delays.
If you did not leave from a Chinese port of entry (such as the Beijing International Airport or the Shanghai Pearl Harbor) then your travel arrangements must be authorized by the Public Security Bureau. Your Chinese customs agent should handle this matter for you personally and you may be required to provide evidence of your onward travel plans to the Public Security Bureau before the permission for your exit visa is issued. You will receive a document of authorization to proceed after you have fulfilled all the requirements, including payment of relevant fees. Once your exit visa has been issued, you will be able to travel to China without a foreign travel insurance package.