China – Covid-19 – Immigration update

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Update: November 11th, 2020

Temporary suspension of entry for foreign nationals from certain geographies

What is the change?

Due to the COVID-19 situation, China has decided to temporarily suspend entry for foreign nationals from the following geographies, and the Chinese Embassy and Consulates in the relevant jurisdictions will no longer issue Certified Health Declaration Forms for these travellers:

  • Bangladesh (view announcement here)
  • Belgium (view announcement here—Chinese)
  • Ethiopia (view announcement here)
  • France (view announcement here—French)
  • India (view announcement here)
  • Italy (view announcement here—Italian)
  • Philippines (view announcement here)
  • Russia (view announcement here—Russian)
  • United Kingdom (view announcement here)
  • Ukraine (view announcement here—Ukrainian)

Entry by holders of diplomatic, service, courtesy, or C visas will not be affected. Foreign nationals visiting China for emergency needs may apply for visas at a Chinese Embassy or Consulate.

Update: November 05th, 2020

Two separate nucleic acid tests to be conducted for travellers on China-bound flights departing from New Zealand

What is the change?

In view of the fact that the COVID-19 Immunoglobulin M (IgM) anti-body test is currently not available in New Zealand, adjustments have been made to the requirements to apply for the green health code (for Chinese nationals) or certified health declaration form (for foreign nationals).

With effect from 7 November 2020, travellers departing from New Zealand on China-bound flights should obtain the green health code or health declaration form by providing two separate nucleic acid test reports. Specimens for both nucleic tests must be collected and tested within two days before boarding the flight, and must be conducted by different laboratories according to the appropriate time intervals. If travellers are unable to have the tests conducted by different laboratories, they should have the second specimen collected on the day after the first specimen has been collected. For example, for a flight scheduled on 10 November 2020, the first specimen should be collected on 8 November 2020, and the second specimen should be collected after 8 November 2020, and both specimens should obtain separate reports of negative results.

Airline boarding requirements for certificates of negative nucleic acid and anti-body blood tests results

What is the change?

With effect from 6 November 2020, 12 a.m. (Pacific Time), all passengers bound for China will be required to take the nucleic acid and IgM anti-body tests, and apply for a green health code with the “HS” mark or a certified health declaration form before boarding their flights. More details on the specific requirements can be found in the link below.

Update: October 19th, 2020

Application of “Home Return Permit” for Hong Kong and Macao residents

What is the change?

  • With effect from 10 October 2020, Hong Kong and Macao residents can apply for the renewal or reissuance of their Exit-Entry Permit for travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macao (Home Return Permit) at any local Exit-Entry Administration Bureau (above the county level). This is a change from the previous arrangement, where Hong Kong and Macao residents had to first apply for a single-entry travel permit from the local Exit-Entry Administration Bureau, before travelling back to Hong Kong or Macao for the renewal or reissuance of the permit.

Update: September 15th, 2020

Testing measures for passengers traveling to China from the US announced

What is the change?

China announced testing measures for passengers traveling to China from the United States.

Key points:

  • Effective Sept. 15, Chinese and foreign passengers taking a direct flight from the United States to China must complete the new COVID-19 nucleic acid test within three days before boarding. Upon obtaining a negative nucleic acid test certificate, Chinese citizens will then need to apply for a green health code with the “HS” logo through the WeChat mobile application. More information is available here.
  • For foreign citizens, a COVID-19 nucleic acid RT-PCR test negative report is acceptable, but antibody or serology test results are not. Their negative test result certificates must be emailed or submitted to the Chinese Embassy or Consulates General in the United States. They must be submitted once they are issued and no later than 24 hours before boarding in the U.S. The certificate must be submitted to the embassy or consulate that has consular jurisdiction for the area where the testing facility is located. It must also be submitted with a scanned copy of a valid passport information page and the signed health declaration. Processing the health declaration typically requires one day. To view the list of Embassy and Consulates email addresses and submission links, please click here.
  • Following the approval, the scanned health declaration copy will be sent back to the passenger who submitted it. It must be printed and carried by the passenger while traveling. The health declaration remains valid through the third day after the nucleic acid test certificate’s issuance date.
  • Foreign citizens flying from the U.S. to China and who transit in a third country or region must meet the requirements in this Aug. 12 notice. Effective Sept. 15, COVID-19 nucleic acid tests should be taken within three days before boarding in the transit country.
  • Foreign citizens transiting in the U.S. before flying to China must present a health declaration form to the airlines. The declaration will be verified by the Chinese Embassy or Consulates in the country of departure.

China required testing for all inbound travelers the last week of July.

Update: September 9th, 2020

COVID-19 testing measures for passengers travelling to China from the United States

What is the change?

With effect from 15 September 2020, Chinese and foreign passengers taking a direct flight from the United States to China must complete the new COVID-19 nucleic acid test within three days before boarding. Upon obtaining a negative nucleic acid test certificate, Chinese citizens will then need to apply for a green health code with the “HS” logo through the WeChat mobile application. For more information, please refer to the FAQs. For foreign citizens, a declaration of health status must be submitted online or via email to the relevant Embassy or Consulates. To view the list of email addresses and submission links, please refer to the link below.

Update: September 02nd, 2020

Updated requirements for Chinese visa applications in Thailand

What is the change?

With effect from 22 August 2020, the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre in Bangkok will accept visa applications from the following categories:

  • Thai citizens holding a valid Foreigner’s Residence Permit for work, private matters or family reunion, and intends to enter China for the same purpose as shown on the Residence Permit (for applicants holding residence permit for work, an employment certificate issued by the Chinese employer is also required)
  • Applicants (including accompanying spouse and children under the age of 18) with an Invitation Letter (PU/TE) or Verification Confirmation of Invitation issued by the Provincial Department of Commerce or the Provincial Foreign Affairs Office, and intends to enter China for economic, trade, scientific and technological, culture, educational, or sport purposes
  • Applicants who need to travel to China for specific humanitarian reasons
    • For the visiting of a critically ill family member or the death of a family member, copies of the medical certificate/death certificate, an invitation letter from relatives in China, their Chinese ID card, and proof of relationship must be provided, in addition to a request letter from the applicant
    • For the spouse or children under the age of 18 of a Chinese citizen or foreigner holding a valid Chinese Foreign Permanent Resident ID card intending to enter China for family reunion purposes, copies of an invitation letter from family members in China, their Chinese ID card or Chinese Foreign Permanent Resident ID card, and proof of relationship must be provided, in addition to a request letter from the applicant
    • For applicants (including accompanying spouse and children under the age of 18) travelling to China to care for Chinese parents, copies of an invitation letter from the Chinese parents, their Chinese ID card, and proof of relationship must be provided, in addition to a request letter from the applicant
  • Applicants applying for a C visa (crew member) or R visa (foreigner of high talent/specialist)

 

Resumption of partial emergency operation at the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre in Kuala Lumpur

What is the change

Every Tuesday and Friday (10 a.m. – 3 p.m.), the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre in Kuala Lumpur will accept visa applications from the following categories:

  • Malaysia citizens holding a valid Foreigner’s Residence Permit for work, private matters or family reunion, and intends to enter China for the same purpose as shown on the Residence Permit
  • Applicants who urgently need to travel to China to engage in economic and trade, science and technology activities, and have obtained the Invitation Letter (PU/TE) or Verification Confirmation of Invitation issued by the Provincial Department of Commerce or the Provincial Foreign Affairs Office
  • Applicants for family reunion visas, who will be required to submit an invitation from the Chinese citizen or Permanent Resident together with proof of immediate family relationship
  • Applicants who need to travel to China for specific humanitarian reasons
    • For the death of a family member, a proof of relationship within three generations and death certificate is required
    • For the visiting of a critically ill family member, a proof of relationship within three generations and certificate of critical illness is required
    • For applicants (including accompanying spouse and children under the age of 18) travelling to China to care for Chinese parents, an invitation letter from the Chinese parents stating the reasons for care and proof of immediate family relationship is required
  • Applicants who urgently need to apply for document legalisation as a result of emergencies are requested to send a request to klcentre@visaforchina.org with an explanation of the emergency reasons and supporting documentation
  • Applicants for crew visas (walk-ins are accepted)

Please note that diplomatic, official, and courtesy visas, should be applied directly at the Consular Section of the Chinese Embassy in OSK Building instead.

 

Update: July 27th, 2020

Shanghai announces changes in home quarantine arrangements for overseas arrivals

What is the change?

With effect from 27 July 2020, travellers arriving in Shanghai from overseas may spend half of their 14-day quarantine period at home if they are able to meet a certain set of conditions.

Travellers whose final destination is Shanghai may apply to resume their quarantine period at home from the eighth day if they hold residency in the city, live apart from family members who are not under quarantine or live with others who agree to be quarantined with them, and are able to produce a negative COVID-19 nucleic test on the fifth day of their quarantine period. On the eighth day, qualified persons will be transported directly from the collective quarantine locations to their homes by the authorities of the districts in which their homes are located.

Meanwhile, the Government will continue to allow conditional home quarantine for senior citizens, under-aged individuals, pregnant and breastfeeding women, individuals with mobility restrictions, family caregivers, and individuals with certain diseases.

Travellers whose final destinations are Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Anhui provinces will be transported by the authorities to their destinations to continue their quarantine after seven days of collective quarantine in Shanghai, under the condition that their COVID-19 nucleic tests on the fifth day are negative. Those whose final destinations are other parts of China will still be placed under the compulsory 14-day quarantine arrangement in Shanghai.

China closes embassy, consulates in US

What is the change?

The Chinese Embassy and all consulates are closed until further notice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Points

  • Chinese consulates in the U.S. are only processing visas on an emergency basis.
  • Those requiring emergency visa services must secure an appointment.

Those requiring emergency visa services must contact the Chinese Consulate in their jurisdiction for an appointment.

Employers and visa applicants should plan for significant delays as travel becomes increasingly restricted and Chinese consulates suspend visa services. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop.

Update: March 31th, 2020

14-day concentrated medical observation for all travellers entering Shanghai from abroad

What is the change?

With effect from 28 March, all travellers entering Shanghai from abroad are subjected to a 14-day concentrated medical observation. Travellers currently undergoing home quarantine should undergo concentrated medical observation instead, until they meet the 14-day quarantine requirement.

Diplomats and those working in fields of important economic and trade, scientific and technological cooperation will be subjected to another set of regulations. Travellers who are under the age of 18, over the age of 60, pregnant, or with medical conditions may undergo home quarantine following a strict assessment, and a negative nucleic acid test result for COVID-19.

14-day concentrated medical observation for all travellers entering Chengdu from abroad or other China ports

What is the change?

With effect from 27 March, all travellers entering Chengdu from abroad or other China ports are subjected to a 14-day concentrated medical observation. Travellers with destinations in other cities in the Sichuan province should undergo their concentrated medical observation in their destination cities, while travellers whose destinations are other provinces in China should undergo their 14-day concentrated medical observation in Chengdu. Special circumstances requiring home quarantine will be subjected to strict assessment.

Update: March 27th, 2020

Temporary suspension of entry by foreign nationals holding valid Chinese visas or residence permits

What is the change?

Effective 28 March, China will temporarily suspend the entry into China by foreign nationals holding visas or residence permits that are valid until the time of this announcement. Entry by foreign nationals with APEC Business Travel Cards will be suspended as well.

Policies including port visas, 24/72/144-hour visa-free transit policy, Hainan 30-day visa-free policy, 15-day visa-free policy specified for foreign cruise-group-tour through Shanghai Port, Guangdong 144-hour visa-free policy specified for foreign tour groups from Hong Kong or Macao SAR, and Guangxi 15-day visa-free policy specified for foreign tour groups from ASEAN countries will also be temporarily suspended.

Entry with diplomatic, service, courtesy or C visas will not be affected. Foreign nationals coming to China for necessary economic, trade, scientific or technological activities or out of emergency humanitarian needs may apply for visas at Chinese embassies or consulates.

Entry by foreign nationals with visas issued after this announcement will not be affected.

Foreign airlines limited to one flight per week starting Sunday

What is the change?

Starting Sunday, 29 March, foreign airlines will be required to maintain only one air route to China and operate no more than one flight a week, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said. Domestic airlines also are asked to retain only one air route with each foreign country and operate no more than one flight a week.

Flights to and from China should carry no more than 75 percent of the passengers that they are licensed to carry. Flights could be further slashed in accordance with the development of the situation.

Nucleic acid test for all travellers arriving in Shenzhen

What is the change?

With effect from 24 March, all travellers arriving in Shenzhen from Shenzhen ports will need to undergo a nucleic acid test for COVID-19.

All inbound travellers to Shanghai to face quarantine

What is the change?

With effect from 6 p.m. on Thursday, 26 March, all travellers entering Shanghai from abroad will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Diplomats and those working in fields of important economic and trade, scientific and technological cooperation will be subjected to another set of regulations.

14-day concentrated medical observation and nucleic acid test for all travellers arriving in Guangdong

What is the change?

With effect from 6 a.m. on 27 March, all travellers (including travellers arriving from Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and transit travellers) arriving in Guangdong will be subject to a 14-day concentrated medical observation as well as nucleic acid test for COVID-19.

Update: March 25th, 2020

Concentrated medical observation and nucleic acid test for travelers arriving in Beijing

What is the change?

With effect from 25 March, all travelers arriving in Beijing will need to undergo concentrated medical observation and a nucleic acid test for COVID-19, regardless of their final destination. Travelers who have entered Beijing from other China ports in the past 14 days will also need to undergo concentrated medical observation and a nucleic acid test for COVID-19.

Redirecting of international flights from Hongqiao International Airport to Pudong International Airport

What is the change?

With effect from 25 March, Shanghai will redirect all international (including Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan) flights from Hongqiao International Airport to Pudong International Airport.

Update: March 20, 2020

Concentrated observation required for people arriving in Beijing from other countries

What is the change?

The Beijing municipality has required people arriving in the city from other countries to undergo a self-paid 14-day concentrated medical observation from 18 March 2020.

According to the city’s newly revised quarantine rules for border entries, only those aged above 70 or under 14, pregnant, or with fundamental diseases who are not suitable for concentrated observation can apply for home observation.

The rules also require returnees entering China through ports outside Beijing to report their schedules and information to their Beijing employers and residential communities before arrival, and also be subjected to the observation rules.

14-day home medical observation or concentrated medical observation for travellers to Shanghai

What is the change?

With effect from 12 a.m. on 20 March, travellers from the following eight countries will be required to undergo a 14-day home medical observation or concentrated medical observation: Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Malaysia, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

This is in addition to the 16 countries that are already on the list: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States.

Guangdong strengthens measures to reduce imported COVID-19 cases

What is the change?

With effect from 12 a.m. on 19 March, all Chinese nationals arriving in Guangdong from overseas and all foreign nationals who have travelled to the following list of 19 countries in the past 14 days prior to entering Guangdong shall be subjected to a 14-day home or collective quarantine for medical observation: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, and United States.

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