china reopening for tourists internationally

China isn’t open for tourism and reintroducing a new lockdown from July 26

China is not open for tourism, only national citizens and foreign nationals with valid residence permits and some special types of visas are allowed to enter.

All arrivals must agree to a 3-week quarantine and a variety of invasive COVID-19 tests. (See below).

Travelers arriving from countries where new strains of the virus have been discovered, such as the U.K. and South Africa, must take 4 nucleic acid tests. Their household members will also be required to take said tests. 

Disclaimer: Travel restrictions and governmental regulations can change rapidly and the information below might be outdated within a few hours. Therefore, double-check all information with your embassy or on official websites. Traveling Lifestyle does not take any responsibility for your decision to travel.

Related:
Is Hong Kong Open for Tourism? – All You Need to Know
Is Taiwan Open for Tourism?
– Check out the full list of Asian countries reopening for tourism

China Reopening Borders – Latest Updates

China

July 27 – China to reintroduce lockdown from July 26 until further notice

China has reintroduced COVID-19 restrictions and mass testing in Nanjing, the capital of the eastern province of Jiangsu following the biggest spike in coronavirus cases in the last 7 months.

The plan is to contact-trace and get its 9.3 million residents tested to contain the spread of the Delta variant. 

Residents must remain in lockdown from July 26 on, and non-essential businesses will not be allowed to operate.

It is uncertain how long these restrictions will remain in place. 

Source: South China Morning Post

July 13 – China could resume travel bubble with Hong Kong soon, says HK Leader

Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has announced that she expects to receive “positive instructions” on the date the border with mainland China can reopen, following a COVID-19 report she submitted to Beijing a few days ago. 

According to the report, Hong Kong has not seen a single community-transmitted infection over the last 33 days. The official tally remains at 11,951 total cases and 212 deaths.

She also mentioned that no other conditions have been discussed about the border reopening so far. 

On the other hand, in mid-May China’s cabinet announced that the second half of 2022 would be a realistic date to reopen the country. 

Source: The Coronavirus Pandemic

July 1 – China could reopen a travel bubble with Hong Kong while tightening internal restrictions from July 1

Chinese health authorities have stated they could start a quarantine-free travel bubble with Hong Kong this month. This benefit would apply to business travelers only. 

This potential reopening of “limited travel” will be tied to coronavirus activity in both countries. 

“I think reopening the border with Hong Kong will [happen] sooner [than for international borders],” said Zhong Nanshan, a top respiratory expert from China. 

At the same time, China tightened internal restrictions from July 1 onward. As of now, visitors with travel history to the U.K. will be denied entry regardless of their nationality, country of residence or vaccination status. (Source: GardaWorld).

June 18 – China reopening suffering a major delay due to a COVID-19 outbreak and uneven vaccine distribution

Chinese authorities have stated the country will not reopen until most of their population is vaccinated since “any outbreak, it’s a massive outbreak.”

Well, a current outbreak of Covid-19 in southern China has impacted not only China’s reopening plans but also the distribution of shipped goods from the third and fifth largest ports in the world. 

As of today, cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have fully inoculated almost 70% of their population. By contrast, Guangdong and Shandong have only vaccinated less than 20%.

“[China] is such a big country… Once any of its places open up, it will have a big impact on places that haven’t reached high vaccination levels,” said Feng Zijian, a researcher at Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 

(Source: Reuters)

June 6 – China might not reopen borders to foreign visitors until 2022

A top Chinese health official has stated the country “can’t” reopen until they can determine how well vaccines work in a large number of individuals.

With almost 1.4 billion citizens, authorities know that any small outbreak can turn into a massive impossible-to-control one. 

“I don’t think we’ve got to that point – if we try to open even when 60% or 80% of the population are vaccinated, it could still lead to a severe outbreak,” […] “It largely depends on the technical considerations, societal consensus and political concerns,” said Feng Zijian, the deputy director General of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention at a conference in Qingdao. 

Then, at the current vaccination pace -which is indeed incredibly fast) only foreign nationals with valid residence permits and visas will be allowed entry in 2021. 

(Source: Bloomberg)

COVID-19 cases in China

As of today, the country has reported 92,676 positive cases and 4,636 deaths.

China Reopening Borders – FAQs:

  • Is China open for tourism?

    No, China is not open for tourism. Only a very select group of foreign visitors are allowed

  • When will China open its borders?

    China's borders reopening for foreigners and tourism remains unknown. The government hasn't released any updates on the potential reopening date recently.

  • Is it safe to visit China now?

    According to the CDC, China is a very safe place to visit and the risk is very low. The warning level is only at 1. (CDC.gov)

  • When will China open borders for international students?

    As of now, China's reopening date for international students remains unknown.

How to obtain a visa?

China

It is not enough to have a passport that is current and that it has at least six months left prior to expiring. 

Travelers must also apply for an official permit (or a visa) with the Chinese Embassy in their native country and prove to have compelling reasons for travelling.

DO NOT TRAVEL TO CHINA WITHOUT A VISA. Anyone who tries to enter China right now with just a passport and no proper visa may be arrested, deported, or refused access. 

Who is affected by China’s latest travel ban?

Basically, almost everyone who is not a Chinese national. 

Foreign nationals visiting China for emergency reasons should still apply for special entry visas.

Restrictions upon arrival

All visitors must have:

  • Proof of negative COVID-19 PCR test, taken no more than 48 hours before departure.
  • Valid VISA or residence permit.
  • Undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival (at least).
  • Undergo testing upon arrival and for release from quarantine travelers must agree to blood tests, as well as oral, nasal, and anal swab tests. (Source).

Not allowed to “Just Pass Through” either

Passengers on planes from other countries that are not allowed entry into China because of the travel ban on certain territories may not treat China as a “just passing through” country, even when travelers are in an airport. 

Keep this in mind if you need to take a connecting flight to get to another Asian or Pacific country.

Single flights

China airlines

Another important fact about flying in and out of China is that it intends to stick with singular flights in and out of the country.

What this means is that a plane may bring you into the country, but your next flight out is the only flight out until the following week, two weeks, or more. 

The idea, of course, is to restrict as much influx of foreigners into China and track any cases of COVID that may result from each plane coming in and the passengers on that plane. 

This method of disease tracking is relatively smart, but it does complicate travel plans, even for dignitaries and the like. Plan to stay for some time, and then book well in advance for your flight out since single plane flights are all that you will find for a while.

Current mask requirement

Health authorities in China’s capital Beijing have been lifting the requirement for people to wear masks outdoors after the city reported several consecutive days without new cases.

This may change with no prior notice.