China (PRC)

China (PRC) map

Region: East Asia

Pandemic Travel Alert


Most recent update: 2021-03-15 - Visa facilitation for applicants inoculated with Chinese COVID-19 vaccines


General Policy
  1. Starting 28 March 2020, entry denied to all holders of visa, residence permit, or APEC Business Travel Card. All port visas and regional visa exemption policies are also temporarily suspended. Travellers coming for necessary economic, trade, scientific or technological activities or out of emergency humanitarian needs may apply for visas at Chinese embassies or consulates. Travellers holding visas issued after March 28 are exempted and permitted entry.
  2. On 10 August 2020, entry restrictions were eased for European passport holders from 36 countries (including France, Germany and the UK), allowing travellers with a valid China residence permit to apply for a China visa without an invitation letter. Visa holders returning to China must reapply for a visa because visas issued before the March 28 entry ban were nullified.
  1. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, National Immigration Administration
  2. "China eases travel restrictions for Europeans"
Business/Employment Travel
  1. Starting 28 May 2020, short-term essential business and official travel resumes between Singapore and six Chinese provinces and municipalities (Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Tianjin and Zhejiang) via a "Fast Lane" travel arrangement. Persons of all nationalities who are legally resident in Singapore (i.e., Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents, Long-Term Pass holders) who need to make single-entry, short term essential travel for business or official travel between Singapore and the six fast lane regions in China may apply. Travellers must be sponsored by either a company or a government agency in China, which will file an application on behalf of the applicant with the local provincial/municipal authorities.
  2. Starting 1 May 2020, business travellers from South Korea are permitted expedited entry to 10 Chinese cities and provinces under a "fast-track lane" arrangement. The simplified entry system enables travellers to apply for a visa upon presenting an invitation from a company based in China.
  1. FAQ - Outbound RGL Travellers, SafeTravel Singapore Government Agency Website
  2. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea: Fast Track Procedure available for applicable Koreans Entering China for business purpose

COVID-19 Related Entry Requirements

  • Starting 15 March 2021, Chinese embassies will provide facilitation for visa applicants who are fully inoculated with Chinese COVID-19 vaccines and have obtained the vaccination certificate.

(Source: Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United States of America )

  1. Starting 23 December 2020, the test guidelines and requirements for boarding airlines to China have been adjusted. See source for details.
  2. Testing upon arrival and for release from quarantine may include blood tests, as well as oral, nasal, and anal swab tests.
  1. Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United States of America
  2. U.S. Embassy in China
Movement Restrictions
  1. China Embassy in the USA reports: “For quarantine requirements, please check the information on the websites of the government of the entry city or province of China”.
  2. U.S. Embassy in China reports: ‘All travelers...are screened upon arrival and subject to a minimum 14-day quarantine...local quarantine requirements can vary significantly between cities, and regulations can change very quickly. All international arrivals should be prepared to complete quarantine at a government-selected facility or hotel at their own expense...Cities and provinces within China may also require quarantine for domestic travelers, regardless of nationality”.
  1. Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United States of America
  2. U.S. Embassy in China


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Pre-pandemic visa rules


Passport Validity
6 months
Other Documents
Documents showing the itinerary including air ticket booking record (round trip) and proof of a hotel reservation, etc. or an invitation letter issued by a relevant entity or individual in China.
- Generally, all transit requires a transit visa, which follows the rules and procedures of other visas. One exception is a trial run (as of 2015-10-13) of exempting 24-hour direct transit passengers from immigration inspection procedures at Beijing Capital International Airport, Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, provided transit passenger does not leave the restricted areas within the airports. The other exception is the 72 and 144 hour transit visa exemption policies described below.
Dual Nationality
China does not recognize dual nationality.
U.S. policy on dual nationality can be found here.

Additional Notes

  1. Stay is extendable.
  2. The consular officer will make decisions on whether or not to grant a visa and allowed validity, duration of stay and number of entries based on individual application. Duration of stay is calculated from the second day of entry. For visas without indicated duration of stay, the permitted time to stay in China ends on the visa expiry date.
  3. Travel regions are divided into four categories. Regions in Class A allow direct access without a travel permit or prior notice. Regions of Class B are generally accessible, but travelers must apply to a public security department for a travel permit. Regions of Class C and D are generally inaccessible, except under special circumstances after applying for a travel permit.
  4. In accordance with a 2014 China-U.S. visa arrangement, U.S. citizens may be eligible for 10-year multiple entry visa. The remaining validity of the U.S. passport must be over 12 months.

Visa Exemptions

Red tape for travellers is getting ever more tangled, with one shining exception: China is actually loosening its draconian visa rules for tourists...With Chinese tourist visas so expensive and complicated to obtain, this is excellent news...
-- Simon Calder, Travel Correspondent, The Independent

Hainan Province

Starting May 1 2018, individuals from 59 countries (including the US) can visit tropical Hainan island, China's southernmost province, for 30 days visa-free.


  • Must be traveling to Hainan for sightseeing on an ordinary passport
  • Must book tour through travel agency, and be received by a travel agency incorporated in Hainan
  • Permitted to stay only within the jurisdiction of the province without going to other areas of China
The province has been implementing a 15-day or 21-day visa waiver policy for group visitors from 26 countries since 2010.


72 and 144 Hour Transit Visa Exemption Policies

Update: Beijing transit visa exemption extended to 144 hours

According to Xinhua News, from December 28, 2017 the visa-free period for travellers transitting through Beijing is extended to 144 hours (previously 72 hours). Also, neighboring Hebei Province and Tianjin City are added to the 144-hour transit visa exemption program. Transit air, train, and ship passengers entering any of the six border ports in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei can stay in the region for six days before heading to a third country. Official details are scanty, but a brief outline of the policy is available at the website of the Beijing Capital International Airport.

Travellers may apply to airlines for a 72-hour transit visa exemption if the following conditions are met:

  1. Travel is via a passport that is valid and is one of 53 designated passports (including USA passport)
  2. Transit (entry and exit) is through any one of 15 designated airports
  3. Traveller holds an air ticket for a connecting flight, with confirmed date of flight and seat to a third destination outside of both China and the country traveller arrives from (and also holds a valid visa for that destination, if required), travelling within 72 hours (In this instance, Hong Kong and Macau are considered outside of China).
  4. Entry and exit is via same airport, and traveller will not travel outside of the permitted area for that entry/exit airport.

In addition, if transit is through any of:

  1. one of the designated Shanghai airports, railway, or cruise terminals
  2. the designated Nanjing or Hangzhou airports
then travellers may apply to airlines for a 144-hour transit visa exemption, provided the above 72-hour conditions are met. The entry/exit condition, however, is relaxed: travellers are not required to enter and exit from the same port. Travellers are permitted to exit from any of the above-listed 144-hour transit visa exemption ports of entry.

For details of designated passports, ports of entry, and permitted travel areas, consult the sources listed below.


Applicable Passports: