Overview of China Visa and Foreign Exchange Policy
IMMIGRATION AND VISAS
All travelers except the following require a passport:
1. Travelers with a ‘Returning Resident Permit’ or a ‘Permit for Hong Kong and Macao residents entering into or departing from the mainland.’ Travelers with the above-mentioned documents must follow the instructions written on them as regards the entry or exit places. However, it is advised to have passports issued by Hong Kong (A Special Administrative Region of China) or passports issued by Macao (A Special Administrative Region of China).
2. Travelers with a travel permit that is issued by Macao
3. Travelers with a travel permit that is issued by the People’s Republic of China.
4. Citizens of Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine with a Seaman Book or a Seafarer’s Identity document.
5. Travelers with documents issued by the United Nations for refugees and people without nationality or citizenship.
6. Travelers with ‘Kinderausweis,’ a German identity document issued to children. However, children aged less than ten years old need not have IDs with a photo of the child; the immigration officers will decide on each case individually.
7. Travelers with a Document of Identity that is issued to citizens of Singapore.
Passports/travel documents and alternative papers, or either of them, must be valid on arrival.
1. Travelers with passports/travel documents showing visas or entry stamps for Chinese Taipei have to be subject to the rules of entry.
2. British passports endorsed ‘British National (Overseas)’ is not recognized by the People’s Republic of China. In order to enter the People’s Republic of China, travelers with such travel documents must have a ‘Returning Resident Permit’ along with their Hong Kong ID.
1. before arrival: Travelers are kindly requested to contact the nearest representation of the People’s Republic of China.
2. On arrival: Travelers with a Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwan Residents or a ‘Taiwan Identity Card’ can obtain a Single Entry Visa if they are staying for no more than three months at the following airports:
- Haikou (HAK), Hangzhou (HGH), Fuzhou (FOC), Guilin (KWL), Sanya (SYX), Beijing (PEK), Shenyang (SHE), Wuhan (WUH), Nanjing (NKG), Shenzhen (SZX), Qingdao (TAO), Chongqing (CKG), Xiamen (XMN) and Chengdu (CTU): Travelers must have two passport photos.
- Guangzhou (CAN), Dalian (DLC), and Shanghai (SHA): Travelers must have one passport photo.
3. On arrival: Residents of Chinese Taipei can obtain a new Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwan Residents or replace their old one with another one that is valid for five years at the airports of Zhejiang, Chongqing, Fujian, and Jiangsu.
4. On arrival: Residents of Chinese Taipei can:
– Acquire a Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwan Residents in Shanghai (PVG).
– Exchange their old Mainland Travel Permits for Taiwan Residents with a new one in Tianjin (TSN).
5. On arrival: Travelers with normal passports may obtain a visa if necessary only when arrangements have been made before departure to the People’s Republic of China. It is required to obtain a confirmation from the Immigration Authorities that a visa will be issued on arrival. Transit Facilities are available only at the following airports: Haikou, Guilin, Weihai, Xi’an, Kunming, Xiamen, Sanya, Shanghai, Qingdao, Shenzhen (Luohu, Shekou), Chongqing, Beijing Chengdu, Dalian, Guangzhou (Baiyun Airport), Fuzhou, Yantai, Tianjin and Zhuhai (Gongbei).
Travelers must first visit the visa office to get their visa before clearing immigration, and airline staff must be present to help travelers to issue their visas upon arrival.
Facilities do not apply to:
Citizens of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Iran, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and the United States of America;
Refugee peoples and people without nationality or citizenship provided:
They are arriving at Beijing airport if before arrival; the transporting carrier must fax all the traveler’s documents to the station manager):
They are staying for no more than three months. An extension is possible up to six months by an Immigration judge if travelers are coming for business;
They provide two passport photos to be taken on arrival and a letter of invitation that is issued by the Chinese authorities or by a special company acting as sponsor and located within the immigration area;
Facilities do not apply to:
a. Citizens of South Africa and Vatican City;
b. Travelers with British passports;
c. Travelers with Chinese Taipei passports.
Travelers arriving at the airports of Xiamen, Fuzhou, Chengdu, Shanghai, or Tianjin and staying for no more than one month. An extension is possible at the local level;
Two passport photos are required and a letter of invitation issued by the Chinese authorities.
Any traveler with false documents upon entry will be departed at the expense of the carrier;
Facilities do not apply to:
a. Citizens of Republic of Korea, Israel, South Africa, and Vatican City;
b. Travelers with British passports.
Travelers arriving at and departing from Xiamen; an invitation letter and a visa are not required for travelers staying for any more than five days;
Travelers arriving at airports other than Kiamen, Beijing, Fuzhou, Shanghai, or Tianjin: the carrier should contact the local department in charge of visa issuance to inform them in advance and to get information concerning the procedures. The office located in the arrival hall that is responsible for issuing visas on arrival may not always be open.
Travelers with British passports are required to have a letter of invitation by the Chinese authorities and one passport photo.
6. On arrival: A transit visa can be issued if necessary at Dalian airport only staying for no more than seven days provided the traveler:
- is in transit to a third country;
- has confirmed onward tickets;
- The traveler is a citizen of a nation with diplomatic contacts with the People’s Republic of China.
Facilities do not apply to travelers with travel documents issued by Hong Kong and Macao.
Facilities do not apply to:
Citizens of Afghanistan, Nigeria, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Turkey, Sri Lanka, and the United States of America;
Refugee peoples and people without nationality or citizenship.
All travelers must hold a visa except the following:
1. Citizens of the People’s Republic of China.
2. Travelers with normal passports staying for no more than 90 days provided they are citizens of San Marino.
3. Travelers with normal passports staying for no more than 15 days provided they are citizens of Brunei, Japan, or Singapore.
4. Travelers with a ‘Returning Resident Permit’ or a ‘Permit for Hong Kong residents entering into or departing from the mainland.’
5. Travelers with a ‘Returning Resident Permit’ or a ‘Permit for Macao residents entering into or departing from the mainland.’
6. Citizens of Mongolia with normal passports provided their passport number is preceded with the prefix ‘E’ or endorsed ‘For Public Affairs.’
7. Citizens of Vietnam with normal passports endorsed ‘For Public Affairs,’ which must have an attachment on the visa page showing in red capitals the letters ‘AB’ and an extra date of validity.
8. Travelers with normal passports endorsed ‘For Public Affairs,’ provided they are citizens of Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Armenia, Benin, Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cuba, Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia, Guyana, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Laos, Republic of Montenegro, Republic of Serbia, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Turkey or Turkmenistan.
9. Travelers with diplomatic passports provided they are citizens of Russia.
10. Travelers with diplomatic or service passports staying for no more than 90 days, provided they are citizens of San Marino.
11. Travelers with diplomatic or service passports staying for no more than 30 days, provided they are citizens of Cambodia.
12. Travelers with diplomatic, official, or service passports, staying for no more than 30 days, provided they are citizens of Nepal, Philippines, or Trinidad & Tobago.
13. Travelers with diplomatic, service or special passports, staying for no more than 30 days provided they are citizens of Egypt and Tunisia.
14. Travelers with diplomatic, service, or special passport provided they are citizens of Albania, Jordan, Peru, Slovak Republic, or Turkey.
15. Travelers with diplomatic, service, official, or special passports/travel documents provided they are citizens of Ecuador or Sudan.
16. Travelers with diplomatic or service passports/travel document provided they are citizens of Azerbaijan, Belarus, Armenia, Benin, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Bosnia Herzegovina, Cuba, Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, Cyprus, Guyana, Hungary, Georgia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Iran, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Laos, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Malta, Maldives, Republic of Moldova, Republic of Montenegro, Poland, Mongolia, Romania, Seychelles, Slovenia, Republic of Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Tanzania, Venezuela or Vietnam.
17. Travelers with diplomatic passports/travel documents staying for no more than 30 days provided they are citizens of the Bahamas.
18. Travelers with diplomatic, official, or service passports/travel documents provided they are citizens of Bangladesh, Argentina, Bolivia, Brunei, Brazil, Chile, Croatia, Colombia, Equatorial Guinea, Mexico, Jamaica, Pakistan, Myanmar, Thailand, or Uruguay.
19. Travelers with British diplomatic passports.
20. Travelers with official or service British passports provided such passports/travel documents contain the label ‘Visa Exempted’ issued by the authorities of the People’s Republic of China.
21. Travelers with British passports endorsed ‘British Citizen’ provided the passport/travel document contains the label ‘Visa Exempted’ issued by the authorities of the People’s Republic of China.
22. Travelers with residence permits for the People’s Republic of China.
23. Travelers with a Foreign Permanent Identity Card issued by the People’s Republic of China.
24. Tourists traveling in a group whose trip is organized by a Chinese international tourist company or a registered travel agency, who are staying for no more than six days with the
a. They are arriving from Hong Kong or Macao to take a trip to the Zhujiang Delta in Guangdong Province; and
b. They are entering and departing only from the following cities: Dongguan, Foshan, Guangzhou, Huizhou, Jiangmen, Shantou, Shenzhen, Zhiqing, Zhongshan, or Zhuhai; and
c. They are citizens of a country that have diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China.
25. Travelers with a Business Travel Card issued by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation if the validity of the card for travel to the People’s Republic of China is indicated at its back.
TWOV (Transit without Visa)
1. TWOV is permissible for travelers continuing their trip to a third country within 24 hours or within the same day at Guangzhou by the same or first connecting plane, provided they have documents and confirmed tickets for their next trip. Travelers are allowed to leave the airport transit area. Transit facilities are available outside the airport.
Such rules do not apply to travelers with other travel documents issued by Hong Kong (A Special Administrative Region of China) and Macao (A Special Administrative Region of China), which require special travel permission. If travelers have passports, TWOV is allowed;
Such rules apply at Shanghai Hongqiao or Pu Dong airports: travelers with travel documents issued by Hong Kong or by Macao need special travel permission.
Such rules do not apply to travelers with British passports endorsed ‘British National (Overseas)’ who are required to have a Returning Resident Permit along with their Hong Kong ID;
2. Citizens/Nationals of Austria, Belgium, Australia, Canada, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Greece, France, Iceland, Republic of Korea, Italy, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, and the United States of America, provided they are arriving at and departing from Pu Dong or Shanghai airports only; are continuing their trip to a third country within 48 hours, and are holding confirmed onward tickets and all documents needed for next trip.
1. A multiple visas are issued only to diplomatists residing in the People’s Republic of China. It remains valid as long as they stay on duty in the People’s Republic of China, but its validity is not determined according to the visa.
2. TWOV is allowed to people without nationality or citizenship and refugees, but the immigration authorities will study each case individually.
3. Different validity periods of the passport may be required when travelers apply for a visa.
4. A valid visa or resident permit in an expired passport is accepted, provided travelers have a valid passport with the same nationality.
5. Travel with a single ticket is accepted. Travelers must have enough money for their stay and all documents required for their next trip.
6. Travelers to Tibet will also need a special Entry Permit to Tibet.
7. Due to the outbreak of swine flu (H1N1), all travelers arriving in China have to fill in a Health Declaration Form and submit it to Quarantine Officers before clearing immigration. Rules and examination procedures are decided by the airport of arrival and may change every now and then. Flights arriving from countries which have witnessed confirmed cases of swine flu (H1N1) will be examined on board for any rise in temperature before leaving the plane.
Quarantine and Health officers will particularly pay attention to:
Travelers coming from or having lately visited countries where high numbers of swine flu cases have been discovered; or
Travelers were suffering from fever or flu-like symptoms.
After the examination is completed, travelers will be allowed to continue their entry procedures or may be placed in quarantine if the officer in charge considers it necessary.
8. Citizens of Afghanistan, Ira, Iran, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Turkey must have a visa that is issued in their home country. If a visa is issued in a third country, the traveler must have a residence visa or a work permit of that third country, which should be issued in English and should clearly indicate the status of the traveler.
Travelers who do not respect entry or transit regulations will be deported on the same or returning plane. The transporting carrier will have to pay a fine ranging between CNY 500 and CNY 2,000 for each traveler arriving in the People’s Republic of China without proper travel documents along with an extra ranging between CNY 5,000 and CNY 10,000.
Immigration authorities are now enforcing tougher document checks.
CUSTOMS AND FOREIGN EXCHANGE
1. Travelers are allowed free import of:
Travelers staying for less than six months are allowed 400 cigarettes while those staying for six months or more are allowed 600 cigarettes;
Travelers staying for less than six months are allowed two bottles of alcoholic drinks while those staying for six months or more are allowed four bottles of alcoholic (each bottle contains no more than 75 centiliters);
A moderate amount of perfume for personal use during the stay in China.
2. Prohibited good to include the following:
- Printed material that is directed against the public order and the morals of Chinese people;
- Radio transmitters;
- Undeveloped films; and
- All types of tomatoes, eggplants, fruits, and red peppers.
3. Residents and non-residents with a re-entry visa that is issued by any foreign country and carrying goods that do not exceed the limitations set by customs are allowed free import of one portable word processor, one portable video recorder, and one video camera.
Travelers are allowed free export of four cartons of tobacco products for personal use.
Antiques should be accompanied by an authorized seal or an authorization letter by the Department of Cultural Relics. Travelers entering the People’s Republic of China will need a customs declaration if the said items are re-exported.
Travelers may import cats and dogs (only one pet per each traveler) either as luggage or as cargo. Pets must be accompanied by an excellent health veterinary certification as well as a rabies vaccination certification is issued by the government veterinarian authorities of the country of origin or country of departure. The certificate must be valid for at least 30 days but not more than 12 months on the day of arrival. Cats and dogs must be placed in quarantine for seven days, at least when arriving at Shanghai Pu Dong Airport or 30 days when arriving at other Chinese airports. Each airport has its own rules and terms according to quarantine facilities that are available. Besides, the owner of the pet must pay all subsequent fees and costs that are decided by each airport individually. The traveler should consult the transporting carrier concerning the rules in effect.
- Pet Animals are not allowed in hotels in China.
- Birds are prohibited.
Baggage Clearance regulations
A traveler’s luggage should be cleared at the first airport of entry in the People’s Republic of China.
Luggage of transit travelers via Beijing provided the luggage is labeled to a destination outside of China, and the next trip is within 24 hours.
Travelers need not take their luggage by themselves as the ground service personnel will deliver the luggage to the luggage area of the traveler’s connecting flight.
On their departure from the airport, travelers are not allowed to pay any airport fee.
Currency Import regulations
1. Travelers are allowed to import local currency (Chinese Ren Min Bi-CNY) up to no more than CNY 20,000 in cash.
2. Foreign currencies: Sums higher than USD 5,000 must be declared upon arrival.
Currency Export regulations
1. Travelers are allowed to export local currency (Chinese Ren Min Bi-CNY) up to no more than CNY 20,000 in cash.
2. Foreign currencies: Travelers are allowed to export foreign currencies up to no more than USD 5,000. Higher sums should be declared at departure.
Arms and Ammunition regulations
Export, import, and transit of arms and ammunition are permitted so long as prior permission is acquired from the competent authority. Travelers must declare arms and ammunition at all times. If permission is not obtained in advance, the import of arms and ammunition is prohibited.