Good news, China are now reopening more China Visa Application Service Centres in even more countries.  

Following the news that 36 EU countries were added to this list, even more, countries have been listed. However, this doesn’t mean that everyone from the countries listed can return for the moment.  

This is the part where things get confusing! So stick with us as we outline who can now and cannot return to China.   

Can EU citizens return to China? 

SmartShanghai seems to have answered the question most accurately and concisely: 

Yes, some European citizens, holding valid residence permits, might be able to apply at some embassies in Europe for a new visa to re-enter China, free of charge 

Which EU countries does this apply to? 

List of applicable countries: 

  • Albania
  • Ireland
  • Estonia
  • Austria
  • Bulgaria
  • North Macedonia
  • Belgium
  • Iceland
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Poland
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • France
  • Finland
  • the Netherlands
  • Montenegro
  • The Czech Republic
  • Croatia
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Romania
  • Malta
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Serbia
  • Cyprus
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • The United Kingdom

This was published on the Aug 10th, the same day as Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s commented on the relaxation of foreign nationals’ entry to China. Zhao Lijian remarked: 

China is relaxing in an orderly and gradual manner visa restrictions for foreigners entering China to resume economic activities and for other essential purposes. One more point to highlight is that for those who hold valid visa or residence permit but need visa renewal, Chinese embassies and consulates will provide them visa service for free. 

Even though these statements, announcements and remarks are a step in the right direction, they do not mention anything about visa categories, PU letters and how or whether this list applies to foreign nationals that are not in their EU country of origin.  

Which Asian Countries are on China’s Re-entry List? [Update]

Asian Countries that are able to reenter China are as follows:

  • Japan
  • South Korea*
  • Malaysia
  • Indonesia
  • Thailand
  • Singapore
  • Sri Lanka
  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • Laos
  • Vietnam
  • Cambodia

*As well as, South Korea nationals holding a valid residence permit for study can also apply for a new student visa to return to China.

Any Other Countries are on China’s Re-entry List? [Update]

 

Most recently, these countries have also been added to the list!

  • Pakistan
  • Canada

Moreover, please be aware that these embassies do require you to first book your appointment online beforehand. You will also be required to take and receive a negative nucleic test before travel and apply to local Chinese government quarantine procedures.

So, which listed citizens can actually return to China? 

First things first, to re-enter China you will need a new visa.  

Moreover, Chinese embassies and consulates will provide them with the visa service for free. Bonus. 

To qualify for a new visa, you will have to have  

  • A valid (not-expired) residence permit, including work permit (Z visa), permit for a family reunion and personal matters (Q visa, S visa). 
  • You are a citizen of the listed countries  
  • You apply at a Chinese embassy/consulate in one of the listed countries  

This means from that other visas such as tourist, non-commercial, business and student visas etc are not applicable for the time being. 

In addition to this, you can not use airports in China to transfer when travelling to another country either.

Remember there is no consistent and clear policy at this time. The embassy in Denmark has already pulled this statement. However, other EU Embassy’s websites and the EU Chamber of Commerce have announced this. 

However, what we have learnt from this pandemic is things can change very quickly. So, please check with your local embassy or consulate for more information.  

What about a PU Letter? What documents do I need? [Update]

Answers from government agents from embassies have stated that now people that hold a valid residence permit and fit the criteria above will no longer need a PU letter to apply for a new visa. However, even this is not clear cut. It appears that responses from embassies on this list have different answers.

All embassies and consulate have different policies so it is best to check with your local embassy/consulate! However, a report released by the Chinese Embassy and Consulates Generals in the U.K. provides more details of which documents are needed for each visa that are currently accepted. Yay! Take a look below. 

 

Holders of a valid Foreigner’s Residence Permit

1. British citizen and applicant from any of the 35 other EU countries who are holding a valid Foreigner’s Residence Permit (sample attached below) of China for work, private matters or family reunion, and needs to go to China for the same visiting purpose as shown on the Residence Permit.

Please bring:

  • The application form,

  • A photocopy of the passport information page

  • A photocopy of the valid resident permit

  • A copy of the birth certificate if the applicant is under 18, and other supporting documents.

New Version of Foreigner’s Residence Permit

Old Version of Foreigner’s Residence Permit

Applicants who do not hold a valid Foreigner’s Residence Permit

 

2. Applicant (Inc. the accompanying spouse and children under the age of 18) who does not hold a valid Foreigner’s Residence Permit of China for work, private matters or family reunion, but has an “Invitation Letter (PU/TE)” or “Verification Confirmation of Invitation” issued by the Foreign Affairs Office of the provincial government of the intended visit, or by the provincial Department of Commerce to visit China for economic, trade, scientific, technological, culture or sports purposes;

Please bring:

  • The application form

  • The copy of PU/TE letter

  • A photocopy of the passport information page

  • A copy of the birth certificate if the applicant is under 18, and other supporting documents.

3. Applicant (Inc. the accompanying spouse and children under the age of 18) who does not hold a valid Foreigner’s Residence Permit of China for work, private matters or family reunion, but has obtained “Notification Letter of Foreigners Work Permit” as well as “Invitation Letter (PU/TE)” or “Verification Confirmation of Invitation” to work in China;

Please bring:

  • The application form

  • The copy of PU/TE letter

  • A photocopy of the passport information page

  • A copy of the birth certificate if the applicant is under 18, and other supporting documents.

Applicants who have humanitarian reasons

 

4A). To visit an immediate family member (Inc. parents, spouse, children, grandparents, grandchildren) who is in critical medical condition and in need of care, or arrange funeral matters of an immediate family member in China;

Please bring:

  • Photocopies of a medical certificate or death certificate

  • Proof of relationships (Inc. birth certificate, marriage certificate, Chinese household registration, certificate letters from the local police bureau in China, notarial certificate of kinship, etc.)

  • You need an invitation letter from relatives in China

B). Spouse and children under the age of 18 of a Chinese citizen or  a foreigner who holds a valid Chinese Foreign Permanent Resident ID Card, to visit China for a family reunion;

Please bring:

  • An invitation letter

  • Photocopies of the Chinese Identity Card or the Chinese Foreign Permanent Resident ID Card

  • Proof of relationships is required.

C). Applicant (Inc. the accompanying spouse and children under the age of 18) to look after or support his/her Chinese parents;

Please bring:

  • An invitation letter from the parent

  • Photocopies of his/her (parents) Chinese Identity Card

  • Proof of relationships is required.

5. Applicants for the crew (C) visa.

Another point to add is dependant on location, you may be required to fill in an online application form and book an appointment online.

Moreover, information can be found on the UK Chinese Visa Application Centre website.

Finally, if your local consulate does require a PU letter then you will need a PU letter from a provincial foreign affair office. Details can be found here. 

I’m a national from a listed country but I’m residing in another country? 

The statement hints at this but seems to be confirmed that even though you are a citizen of one of the listed you will have to be in the listed country for you to take advantage of these relaxations. For example, if you are European currently residing in a country in Asia, you will have to follow the country’s visa policy that you are residing in. 

Yet, there are some expectations. We received a response from the Vietnam embassy that they are able to process third country visas. Click here for more information.  

Finally, in fear of sounding like a broken record, please check with your local embassy/consulate.

 

Yay, this is applicable to me – no more issues, right? 

Even though this is good news, unfortunately, relaxation does have its downsides. Reduced flights, expensive tickets, strict quarantine rules are the main issues.

All overseas passenger arrivals are subject to health checks/testing, including during transit. Then, you will need to quarantine (up to 14 days) at a centralized facility/residence. Did I mention, you. the traveller will have to cover the cost.

Quarantine is usually spent at either a centralised government hotel or your home. Furthermore, family members and/or those who have been in close contact will need to stay at a government quarantine hospital if you test positive.  

A new quarantine policy for Shanghai has been announced: 7+7 & 2+1

 

7+7 Quarantine

  • 7 days at designated facility, 7 days at home

2+1 Nucleic acid test

  • 2 mandatory and 1 voluntary

Day 1 / First mandatory nucleic acid test

Day 5 / 2nd mandatory nucleic acid test at your own expense

Day 7 / If tests are negative then you can home quarantine

After day 14 / Have a nucleic acid test voluntarily at your own expense

These policy will be implemented to Shanghai with their final destinations in neighbouring Jiangsu, Zhejiang or Anhui provinces.

Again, local governments may differ slightly so please do get in touch with your local government for more details. 

We will update with more information, as and when it becomes available.  
AirportStaff
 
Contact us with the QR code below if you’re stuck in any of the EU countries listed and would like to come back. At this moment only specific people are able to come back and need the right paperwork, though we will analyse your case and let you know if it’s possible.
QRcode
 Source: SmartShanghai, FMPRC, EU Chamber of Commerce.

Author: CdExpat_Team

goteam!

Chengdu Parkway