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How Can Foreigners Enter China Under the COVID-19 Travel Restrictions?

It has been more than a year since China closed its borders to foreign visitors on March 28, 2020. Since then, the detailed entry policies have been changed from time to time as the epidemic prevention and control status continues to vary both locally and abroad.

In such a scenario, it is necessary to keep track of the rules moderating how foreign visitors can enter China and under what circumstances.

This article tries to provide a thorough analysis of the travel restriction policies enacted in the past one year and offers a detailed entry guidance to the different categories of foreigners based on their visa type, inoculation status, nationality, and so on.

China’s visa system

Considering that the entry policies and relevant guidance may vary as per the visa status of the foreign visitors, we will first introduce China’s visa system.

Chinese visas are classified into four main types: diplomatic visa, courtesy visa, service visa, and ordinary visa.

The diplomatic visa and service visa shall be issued to foreigners entering China for diplomatic and official purposes. The courtesy visa is issued to foreigners with special status who are entitled to special privileges. And ordinary visas are issued to foreigners entering China for non-diplomatic and non-official purposes, such as work, study, relatives visiting, tour, business activities, and the introduction of talent for the corresponding category.


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