Covid-19: Current Entry Regulations for China


published 15 October 2020 | reading time approx. 3 minutes


To prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus, extensive entry bans for foreigners have been in force in China since March 28, 2020. Since the end of September, new regulations have been issued, which open up new perspectives, especially for foreigners working or living on site.
The following provisions are as of October 15, 2020. We will publish changes in this regard here.



Entry Visa and Residence Permit

In general, the Chinese authorities continue to maintain an entry ban due to the spread of Covid-19. However, the entry ban has been relaxed by a new provision effective from September 28, 2020. Foreigners with a valid residence permit for employment, personal reasons or family reunification can now enter the country without any further visa application. This means that a still valid residence permit is sufficient for entry. 


If the residence permit has expired after March 28, 2020, their holders may apply for a new corresponding visa at the competent Chinese embassies and consulates by presenting the expired residence permit and the other necessary documents, provided that the purpose of the stay has not changed. Once in China, it is further obligatory to apply for a new residence or work permit or its extension. This process should be checked carefully before entering the country. If a foreigner wants to enter China without a residence permit in order to commence a first-time work activity, he/she has to apply for a so-called “Z-Visa” at the competent Chinese embassy or consulate, for which a so-called "PU invitation" is required. The competent authority for issuing the "PU invitation" is not harmonized and varies depending on the city and province. In Shanghai, for example, the "Foreign Affairs Office" is in charge.


Holders of diplomatic, service, courtesy and C visas will still be able to enter the country. In addition, visas, especially business visas, are only issued to a very limited extent and only to certain groups of applicants. Such groups include, for example, persons who wish to enter China to carry out "necessary economic, technological and other projects". When applying for a visa in the latter case, the competent authority in China will also require the above-mentioned "PU invitation".


Covid-19 – Prevention

It is necessary to undertake a nucleic acid test within three days prior to departure, on the basis of which a health certificate will be issued by the relevant Chinese diplomatic mission abroad. It is important to make sure that the test center or laboratory is recognized by the Chinese diplomatic mission abroad. On arrival all persons will be tested and then taken to a quarantine center. The duration of the quarantine is generally 14 days in a quarantine center designated by the local authorities. The costs incurred must be paid by the traveler.


Quarantine regulations may vary by city and province. For example, in Shanghai it is possible to split the total quarantine period between the quarantine center (7 days) and home quarantine (7 days) provided a permanent residence is available in Shanghai. In practice, under certain circumstances (e.g. entry with small children) the quarantine period in a quarantine center can be further reduced. During the quarantine period 2 more tests for the virus will be made. Travelers whose destination is another city must spend the 14 days quarantine at the point of entry before they are allowed to continue their journey.


The entry regulations as well as the measures for Covid-19 prevention can change at any time, even at very short notice. Travelers to China should therefore carefully read and review the regulations and measures shortly before departure to avoid unpleasant surprises upon departure or arrival in China.

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