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China Travel Restrictions 2023: Everything You Need to Know about Traveling to China

Edited by Asia Odyssey Travel on 2023-01-19

Good news! For travelers hoping to visit China in 2023.

After three years, China reopened its borders on January 8, 2023. China canceled inbound quarantine for international arrivals.

To enter China, you do not need to be quarantined or apply for a health code to enter China anymore. All you need is a negative PCR result within 48 hours before departure.

Some new policy updates detail the easing of China travel restrictions. Asia Odyssey Travel is closely tracking the travel policy and will update the information again quickly in response to policy changes. Please check back frequently for any changes.

1. China's Current Entry Policy

Who Can Enter China Now?

According to the government notices, it plans to prioritize visa applications for foreigners traveling to the country for business, employment, study, family visits, and reunions. The Tourist Visa is still suspended. But Chinese authorities hinted that they are planning to ease tourism-related restrictions soon and didn't yet have an official date.

Now there are four ways for foreigners to enter China:

● Foreigners who hold one of the three categories of valid Chinese residence permits for work, reunion, and personal matters.

● Foreigners holding Chinese diplomatic, service, courtesy, or C visa.

● Foreigners holding valid APEC business cards.

● Foreigners holding a new China visa (issued after March 28, 2020).

How to Enter China?

Travelers arriving in China will not be subjected to post-arrival PCR COVID-19 tests and mandatory quarantine after authorities scrapped the mandated five days of hotel quarantine and three days of home quarantine upon arrival.

Travelers would only be required to present a negative nucleic acid test 48 hours before departure and fill in the test results in their customs health declaration forms.

Travelers would also no longer have to apply for a green health code at the Chinese embassies and consulates abroad before they can enter China.

● Make sure you have permission to enter China (valid permit, visa, or ID card).

● Do one PCR test within 48 hours before departure and only board the flight when your nucleic acid result is negative. And fill in Customs health declaration forms.

● Book a flight to China and board the plane. Bring your ID card or passport with a permit/visa.

2. What's the COVID Situation & Traveling in China Now?

With the recovery of China's domestic travel, almost major attractions in China, such as Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors, Giant Panda Base, Potala Palace, and museums, theme parks, national parks, are now open to visitors. China no longer requires tourists to present digital health QR codes to enter public spaces or scenic spots. There are no government mandates in place concerning face masks/social distancing. However, individuals visiting indoor establishments or riding on public transport would likely be advised to wear masks.

The government will allocate more resources to the promotion of inbound travel in the years to come and rebuild and expand this market, and Asia Odyssey Travel is developing new destinations and itineraries for international visitors. Check Best China Tours & Itineraries 2023 >>

3. Hong Kong/Macau Travel Restrictions

Hong Kong Entry Requirements

Inbound travelers to Hong Kong still have to present negative results from PCR tests conducted within 48 hours before departure and sign a health declaration.No longer require mandatory hotel quarantine or home quarantine.

Can Foreign Travelers in Hong Kong Enter the Chinese Mainland?

Yes. Foreigners can apply for a visa to enter the Mainland.

Macau Entry Requirements

Inbound travelers to Macau still have to present negative results from PCR tests conducted within 48 hours or rapid antigen tests (RAT) within 24 hours before their flights to Macau.

Foreigners in Macau can enter Chinese Mainland by applying for a visa for business, work, travel, a family visit, etc. Quarantine is not required.

4. International Flights to China

China adjusted the restrictions on international flights to China. China is increasing the number of flights in phases and optimizing route distribution. Passengers can make their own choices according to their situation and flight situation. All airlines still require that passengers must wear masks when boarding.

5. China Visa Restrictions

You can travel to China if you qualify for a visa-free transit policy.

Which countries can apply for Visa-Free Entry

The following 53 countries are eligible for the 144-hour visa-free transit visa:

● European countries: Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia (FYROM), Albania, Belarus, Monaco.

● American countries: United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile.

● Asian countries: Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Qatar.

● Schengen Agreement countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

● Oceania countries: New Zealand and Australia.

You must be in transit to a third country or region (Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are included).

For example,

×  UK – Guangzhou – Shanghai - Hong Kong

×  US – Beijing – Shanghai - France

√  US – Dalian - South Korea

√  Singapore – Shanghai – Hangzhou - Malaysia

You need a visa for the third country/region (if needed).

You must stay within the permitted region and not travel out of it at all.

The following foreigners do not need to obtain a visa to China:

a) Foreigners applicable to various mutual visa exemption agreements

b) Foreigners holding valid Permanent Residence Certificates in China

c) Foreigners holding various types of valid Residence Permits

d) Foreigners applicable to the 24-hour visa-free transit arrangement 

e) Foreigners holding valid APEC business travel cards

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