China remains an integral destination for travel and international business, although travel requirements are confusing at best! It is important to note that entry policy and visa requirements are frequently changing, so prospective visa applicants should frequently check to see if adjustments have been made.
Entry into China – The changes
The most notable development has been the termination of the PU letter requirement for several types of visa. The PU letter is a government-issued document required by foreign nationals to begin the process of applying for a Chinese visa. The PU letter requirement has been eliminated for the following classes of visa:
- Z visa, S1/S2 and Q1/Q2 visa
Foreigners applying for Z visas will still typically need to show they are heading to China for COVID-19 control/prevention-related matters, or are foreigners going to China for the resumption of an existing business enterprise, or traveling for business of a critical, urgent, and/or important nature to China.
China is also issuing visas to some international students. So, if you are a student looking to study for a semester or year abroad in China, speak with your educational institution to check your eligibility.
What Has Not Changed
Some visa classes still require a PU letter, including:
- M/F visa: Issued to those who intend to go to China for commercial and technology activities.
- R-Visa: Issued to those who are high-level talents or whose skills are urgently needed in China.
Foreign nationals may travel to China if they hold a valid visa in one of the categories above, issued after March 28, 2020 (or after November 3, 2020 for certain countries, including the United Kingdom). People with valid residence permits for work, family reunions, or personal matters can also travel to China.
Sadly, China remains closed to tourists. The government is not expected to begin issuing tourist visas before 2023 at the earliest.
Other Factors to Consider When Traveling to China
Currently, travel to China can only be conducted on aircraft flying directly to China on pre-approved routes, and if there are direct flights between the traveller’s country of departure and China.
For individuals departing from countries without a direct flight to China, only itineraries with one stop before reaching China will be accepted.
Obviously, anyone traveling to China must demonstrate they are COVID-free. In addition to a valid visa or residence permit, all travellers to China must also have proof of a negative COVID PCR test taken no more than 48 hours before departure, and a second PCR test taken less than 24 hours before departure.
Even with the negative tests, upon arriving in China, travellers will still need to quarantine for a period of 10-14 days at an approved facility, as well as undergoing a rigorous COVID testing protocol while in quarantine. Typically, a further seven days of quarantine at home, or the location you will be staying, is required once you are released from the quarantine facility.
This information came from a blog post originally published here.
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