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China Reopening Borders: Everything You Need To Know

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China has started slowly reopening its borders to some travelers from Europe under new strict guidelines.

China originally suspended entry for nearly all foreigners and slashed the volume of international passenger flights to and from the country back in March.

As of August 10th, 2020, China will slowly begin reopening its borders and will now allow entry for select travelers from a list of European countries.

china street at night

Visitors That Will Be Allowed Entry Into China

Prior to the new announcement, the only foreign nationals allowed to travel to China were those for necessary economic, trade, scientific or technological activities or out of emergent humanitarian needs.

Select business travelers are also being permitted entry to some Chinese cities that are coming from South Korea and Singapore.

Now, the Chinese government is allowing for the following people to apply for a visa to visit China:

  • Those who hold valid residence permits
  • Those who hold valid work permits
  • Those who hold permits for family reunion and personal matters

Travelers may apply for a visa at a Chinese embassy or consulate in the below countries.

Countries Allowed To Apply For a Visa To Visit China

The following countries are able to apply for a Visa to visit China: 

  • Albania
  • Ireland
  • Estonia
  • Austria
  • Bulgaria
  • North Macedonia
  • Belgium
  • Iceland
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Poland
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • France
  • Finland
  • Netherlands
  • Montenegro
  • Czech Republic
  • Croatia
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Romania
  • Malta
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Serbia
  • Cyprus
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • United Kingdom

After entering China, the government is requesting that all visitors comply with the epidemic prevention regulations in the areas they are visiting.

china city skyline

Is China Open For Tourism?

China is not open for tourism and no date has been set on when it will resume.

Can Passengers Transit Through Airports in China?

No, international passengers can’t use China airports for transiting to other countries. 

International Flights

All international passenger flights to Beijing will be diverted to 16 designated airports in Chengdu, Changsha, Hefei, Lanzhou, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Taiyuan, Hohhot, Jinan, Qingdao, Nanjing, Shenyang, Dalian, Zhengzhou, Xi’an and Wuhan. A small number of international flights are also operating direct between European cities and Shanghai, Guangzhou and Qingdao.

What Can Travelers Expect When Arriving in China?

Health regulations surrounding passengers arriving from overseas are continuously changing. You should contact the Chinese Embassy in your country before you travel if you have any questions regarding these entry requirements, quarantine rules or the requirements for individual cities.

china tourist attraction

Quarantine Requirements and Testing

All overseas passenger arrivals are subject to health checks (likely involving nucleic acid or swab tests), including during transit, followed by a centralized quarantine period of at least 14 days – costs for which to be covered by the passenger.

Quarantine is usually spent at either a centralised government hotel or your home. Family members of someone who tests positive, or those who have been in close contact, will be required to go into a government quarantine hospital.

What to Expect at a China Quarantine:

  • Unless directed by the authorities you are not allowed to leave your designated quarantine location for 14 days. This means you are also unable to leave China for the duration of the quarantine
  • Depending on the quarantine location, facilities may be basic: there may be no fridge, no air-conditioning, and limited or no internet/wifi.
  • During your stay you will be responsible for cleaning the room
  • If meals are not available at the quarantine location, you will need to arrange food orders for delivery from outside.
  • Larger sized families with two parents may be separated into 2 rooms.
  • If you’re on prescription medication make sure you bring enough with you to last for at least 3-4 weeks together with medical documents certifying that you need to take this medication. See Health for further information.

Failure to comply with the quarantine conditions or testing put in place, or any attempts to deliberately conceal health conditions can result in being sentenced to up to three years in prison. This applies to both Chinese and foreign nationals.

China traveler wearing mask

All travelers heading to China should carry travel insurance that covers Covid-19 treatment and repatriation. 

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Disclaimer: Current world travel rules are changing without notice and being updated constantly. We do our best to keep this article up to date with all the latest information, but the decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. 

Travel Off Path does not endorse travelling against government advisories

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Monday 18th of January 2021

Is the student visa is open now or when going to open the travelling to study in China???

Steve white

Monday 23rd of November 2020

I'm a UK passport holder trapped in Thailand. My China L visa expires Sept 2021. Having worked and now retired in China I am anxious to return to my girlfriend and cat. Any idea when this may happen?

Kashlee Kucheran

Tuesday 24th of November 2020

I really wouldn't have an answer for you. With such close ties to China, you should speak directly with a consulate as I feel you would be able to get back in sooner than a general tourist


Friday 18th of September 2020

If we hold student residence permit can we enter china as well?


Saturday 19th of September 2020

Not possible for students, this year don't count, earlier 2021.

Kashlee Kucheran

Saturday 19th of September 2020

Hello Bella, I don't know much about student residence permits, you would have to contact the Chinese conslate


Wednesday 16th of September 2020

Hello, thanks for the info! Do you have any updates on allowing visiting partners in Hong Kong? Thank you

Kashlee Kucheran

Wednesday 16th of September 2020

No sorry not at this time


Wednesday 16th of September 2020

The chinese visa application service center of milan confirmed that it’s possible for foreign passport holder (in my case italian) to apply for a visa to visit a chinese family member (Q1,Q2).