Travel to China in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic
Although normal international travel in the rest of the world has almost returned to normal, in the case of China, cross-border movement remains greatly restricted and limited by the Chinese authorities. When traveling to China, one must expect the difficulty of obtaining a visa, very expensive plane tickets, pre-departure examinations in connection with the disease Covid-19 or a several-week post-arrival institutionalized quarantine interspersed with an additional number of tests for the presence of Covid-19.
If you have a valid Chinese visa or residence permit issued before 28/03/2020 and plan to travel to China, we recommend checking the possibility of using this visa/residence permit directly with the Embassy of the PRC in Prague. Holders of certain types of long-term residence permits (e.g. study) are still prevented from returning. The suspension of any form of visa-free transit continues.
Issuance of a new visa
Citizens of the Czech Republic who, despite the above, need to travel to China on a short-term basis for the purposes of business, science and research or due to an urgent humanitarian need (other purposes are not practically possible at the moment), must use the services of the Visa Center of the PRC for the purpose of applying for a visa. In order to submit an application, taking into account the current rules set by the Embassy of the PRC in Prague, it is also necessary to submit an invitation letter, the so-called “PU letter”. This confirmation is handled by the Chinese inviting entity in cooperation with the local authorities, and Czech embassies in China cannot interfere in this process. We recommend that you apply for a visa as soon as possible (at least 1 month before departure) and you must, among other things, take into account the need for a travel document with a validity of at least 180 days from the day of entering the territory of China. Additional information, e.g. about types of visas to the PRC, necessary documents, etc.
Departure to China
Before departure, it is necessary to ask the Embassy of the PRC in Prague (and also the Chinese Embassy in the transit country) for permission (in the form of a medical QR code) to fly to China, for which a number of documents must be submitted (travel itinerary, negative test results for Covid- 19 etc.). You cannot travel to China without this permit. Information regarding the departure to China from the Czech Republic is consolidated into one summary material on the website of the Chinese Embassy in Prague, which we recommend to study thoroughly before departure.
Entering the territory of China (quarantine measures)
All passengers on an international flight are taken to an institutionalized (hotel) quarantine immediately upon arrival, the length of which varies depending on the place of arrival. Standard time is 14-21 days after arrival. The choice of hotel cannot be influenced in any way (it is assigned by the Chinese authorities) and costs in the amount of more than hundreds of CNY/night are paid by the traveler himself. In the hotel, food is allocated 3 times a day (also cannot be selected in advance) and it is not possible to leave the hotel room during the entire period of quarantine. If the occurrence of the Covid-19 disease is proven in an individual after arriving in China (or as part of a subsequent stay in China), the Chinese authorities will take fundamental measures limiting the personal freedom of the infected person in the form of mandatory respectively forced stay in a hospital (or quarantine center) in the order of several weeks or even months.
When entering the territory of China, foreigners are required to register, i.e. the foreigner is obliged to report to the local authorities the address at which he will stay during his stay in China. Hotels and accommodation establishments handle the registration of foreigners automatically. If foreign nationals are staying with Chinese families or with foreign nationals staying in China for a long time, they are required to register with the relevant police department in cities within 24 hours of arrival. In the case of a stay in more remote rural areas, this period is set at 72 hours.
Security situation and areas of increased risk for foreigners
From the point of view of a foreign visitor or tourist, China is generally a relatively safe country. The most common form of crime against foreigners is the theft of money, documents and valuables (pickpocketing), more serious attacks on foreigners are the exception. With regard to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus and the fight against it, it is not possible to rule out the regulation of institutionalized quarantines when traveling between provinces/cities or a long stay in a city lockdown.
Customs and foreign exchange regulations
A detailed description of China’s customs and foreign exchange regulations, including FAQs, can be found on the website of Paul Sourcing.
Please note that the smuggling (or production or resale) of narcotics and rare species of animals or plants is subject to very strict and long sentences, in some cases even the death penalty.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic recommends that Czech citizens check with the embassy of the country they are visiting before traveling whether the above has not changed.