The state of borders worldwide is in constant flux and China has recently issued a temporary suspension of entry applicable to most-all foreign nationals wishing to enter Mainland China.
You may well wonder, who exactly would be wanting to enter China right now? It turns out quite a lot. Many schools were informed that they will be allowed to reopen soon and in turn, started to email their foreign teachers to return-to/start work, trade events such as Canton Fair were believed to be going ahead (and now postponed), and many factory/business owners sought to return as many factories and businesses were instructed to restart.
Many who did return prior to the entry ban were also caught by quarantine rules that have been in flux for some time. Prior to the entry suspension, foreigners had to quarantine for 14 days at home, which was changed to 14 days quarantine at a government quarantine center. Usually, this was a designated hotel, with the 14 days stay billed to the traveler.
Those costs for quarantine from first-hand reports vary wildly. From 300 RMB per day to almost 1,500RMB per day.
Current Entry Bans into China
In view of the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the world, China has decided to temporarily suspend the entry into China by foreign nationals holding visas or residence permits still valid to the time of this announcement, effective from 0 a.m., 28 march 2020. Entry by foreign nationals with APEC Business Travel Cards will be suspended as well. Policies including port visas, 24/72/144-hour visa-free transit policy, Hainan 30-day visa-free policy, 15-day visa-free policy specified for foreign cruise-group-tour through Shanghai Port, Guangdong 144-hour visa-free policy specified for foreign tour groups from Hong Kong or Macao SAR, and Guangxi 15-day visa-free policy specified for foreign tour groups of ASEAN countries will also be temporarily suspended. Entry with diplomatic, service, courtesy or C visas will not be affected. Foreign nationals coming to China for necessary economic, trade, scientific or technological activities or out of emergency humanitarian needs may apply for visas at Chinese embassies or consulates. Entry by foreign nationals with visas issued after this announcement will not be affected.
The suspension is a temporary measure that China is compelled to take in light of the outbreak situation and the practices of other countries. China will stay in close touch with all sides and properly handle personnel exchanges with the rest of the world under the special circumstances. The above-mentioned measures will be calibrated in light of the evolving situation and announced accordingly.
You can view the original notification at the China Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Here is the transcript of a useful Q&A on Wechat
1. How about foreigners having a valid permanent residence card in China and are not in China at the moment? Are they affected?
So far, there isn’t a clear rule on whether a permanent residence permit holder is allowed to enter China. Some of our readers shared with us that permanent residence permit holders are allowed to enter the country. AnyHelper is still confirming with exit-entry officials. We believe more details will become available soon.
2. How about those having family visas and student visas?
The entry ban also applies to family/student visa holders.
3. For how long foreigners can’t enter China?
At the moment, we can’t guarantee how long the temporary measure will last. We believe the entry ban will last at least 1 month. We’ll keep you updated once the information becomes available.
4. Are foreigners who’re presently in China allowed to leave the country?
You’re free to leave China but please be aware of the reducing number of international flights and travel restrictions imposed by other countries.
5. As this is a temporary suspension, do we have to apply for a new visa after this ban is lifted or can we travel with our current visa if it is valid?
No clear policies on this yet. According to the announcement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, entry by foreign nationals with visas issued after the announcement will not be affected. But your visa application’s approval rate might be lower.
6. How about the issuing of the work permit? Is it still suspended? Do you have any news about that?
You can still apply for a work permit while the entry restriction is in effect.
7. Is it possible that foreigners with valid visas might be expelled from China?
The entry restriction applies only to foreign nationals with China visa and residence permits who’re trying to enter China. Those with valid visas and are living in China now won’t be expelled.
8. What if my visa expires? Any extension procedures outside China?
We believe new policies regarding the visa extension will be released soon. AnyHelper is closely monitoring the latest visa policies and will publish articles once the information becomes available.
9. What will happen if I’m in China and my visa expires?
The 2-month automatic visa extension rule applies to China visa holders currently staying in China and whose visas expire during the epidemic prevention and control period.
10. My visa will expire on April 20 and I’m in China now. Will my visa be automatically extended for two months?
We can guarantee that visas that expire before April 15 can be automatically extended, but we cannot guarantee whether the automatic extension rule will apply to visas that expire after April 15. The 2-month extension rule will be effective during China’s epidemic prevention and control period. New policies might be announced later.
11. Do I need to go to the exit-entry bureau to extend my visa?
No, it’s automatically extended. If your work permit expires, we can help you apply for an extension online first. For the residence permit, you will need to go to the exit-entry bureau to extend it if it’s expired. Connect with our visa specialist if you have any questions. Contact info can be found at the end of this article.
12. I’m holding a student visa and want to apply for a work visa, but my non-criminal record is not certified. Do I need to return to my home country for the certification?
For certain countries (such as Russia and India), their citizens can certify the non-criminal record in their embassy/consulate in China. Make sure to check with the embassy/consulate in advance.
13. My home’s country Chinese embassy and consulates (my country’s embassy and consulates in China) are all closed now and I can’t have my proof of kinship/degree certificate/non-criminal record certified. What should I do?
In this situation, AnyHeper can help you certify your documents online.
If your proof of kinship/degree certificate/non-criminal record can’t be certified, you can wait until the embassy/consulates reopen and apply for a new visa.
If your visa expires during the embassy’s/consulates’ closure, you can try applying for an extension at the exit-entry bureau and let them know your situation.
14. My visa expires on May 20 after the 2-month automatic extension. How can I stay in China after May 20?
You can apply for other visas within the 2-month extension period based on your eligibility, such as work visa, family visa, entrepreneur visa, or register a company and apply as a legal representative. You can’t apply for another 2-month extension after your first 2-month extension ends.
15. I’m not in China and can’t extend my work permit. What should I do?
We can extend your work permit online first. You can apply for a tourist visa or business visa to enter China (with a valid work permit) and convert it to a residence permit after the entry ban is lifted.
16. I’m in China and am nearing the end of the 2-month extension period. Can I apply for a stay visa?
Different cities have different rules regarding your status after the 2-month extension period. Contact your local exit-entry bureau for more info.
View Original by China Visa and AnyHelper