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 be also 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Disclaimer: Travel restrictions and governmental regulations can change rapidly and the information below might be outdated within a few hours.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.
May 11 – China to fence all land borders to keep out the new COVID-19 variants
China is taking a completely different approach regarding COVID-19 restrictions compared to Western governments that have started lifting travel restrictions.
Chinese ministries responsible for health and border protection have received orders to enforce stricter restrictions at airports, checkpoints and land borders to strengthen their defenses against the so-called “backflows”, according to national media.
Indeed, the head of the Tibetan Sports Bureau admitted they are already “working on the details of how to build a separation Line on Mt. Everest to Prevent COVID-19 infections.”
April 23 – China to return to pre-pandemic tourism in May
China Tourism Academy (CTA) announced the country’s tourism revenue will increase up to 102%, reaching about US $195 billion in the first half of 2021.
This does not mean that the country is open for tourism. These figures actually represent more than 1.7 billion domestic trips expected to be carried out this year according to the (CTA).
It is expected that over the upcoming Labor Day holiday from May 1 to 5, domestic tourist trips will surpass the pre-COVID-19 levels.
On the other hand, this outstanding recovery worries the government due to the possibility of a spread of the virus. China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism has required airline companies to strengthen the safety management of A-level scenic spots as the peak tourist season approaches. To do so, tourist destinations’ staff has been requested to be fully vaccinated.
April 9 – China, another country working on vaccine passports
China is reportedly working on a vaccine passport to ease global travel. This is one of the few times the government has spoken about being interested in “global travel” after more than a year of closure and very severe biosecurity restrictions.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced that Chinese citizens will be allowed to access the system via a WeChat mini program. Wang said the new certificate “would enable countries to mutually verify travelers’ coronavirus test results and vaccination records.”
To achieve a potential reopening, local officials are reporting a huge pressure to speed up their vaccination rollouts since Chinese people do not seem to be in a hurry to get vaccinated given the successful control of the virus.
Despite an outstanding effort of manufacturing and distributing vaccines, China is still behind in administering them effectively (40 million doses have been used as of Feb.9). This is due in part to the reluctance of a portion of the population.
In order to avoid new outbreaks, the country has started a new health management procedure called “14+7+7“.
This includes a 14-day quarantine at a government-approved hotel, plus a 7-day quarantine at home in addition to another 7 days of daily health monitoring. Over the course of the quarantine, both visitors and their household members will be required to take 4 COVID-19 tests.
COVID-19 cases in China
According to the World Health Organization, the country has managed to control the pandemic. As of today, the country has reported 90,783 positive cases and 4,636 deaths.
These figures come from the Chinese authorities and it is difficult to contrast them with other sources.
Is China open for tourism?
No. Only a very select group of foreign visitors are allowed.
How to obtain a visa?
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.
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.
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)
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.