Important COVID-19 travel guidance
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Travel to some countries and territories is currently exempted.
This advice is being kept under constant review. Travel disruption is still possible and national control measures may be brought in with little notice, so check our travel guidance.
Travel to China is subject to entry restrictions
- Entry is suspended for foreign nationals with visas issued before 27 March (except for diplomatic, service, courtesy or C visas). You can apply for a new visa if you’re travelling to China for necessary economic, trade, scientific or technological activities, or for emergency humanitarian needs
- All overseas arrivals are subject to health checks (likely involving nucleic acid or swab tests), including during transit, followed by a centralised quarantine period of at least 14 days
See Entry requirements for more information before you plan to travel.
Return travel to the UK is subject to self-isolation requirements
If you’re returning to the UK, you will need to:
- provide your journey and contact details
- self-isolate for 14 days
Check the guidance on entering or returning to the UK.
Check our advice on foreign travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and sign up for email alerts for this travel advice.
The Chinese authorities continue to impose various control and quarantine measures across the country, including restrictions on movement, reduced transport, entry and exit controls for towns and villages, and isolation requirements for travel between different parts of the country. If you’re planning travel to China, find out what you need to know about coronavirus there in the Coronavirus section.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides sufficient cover. See the FCO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.
The British Embassy and Consulates-General in Shanghai and Guangzhou continue to provide essential travel documentary services to British nationals and have resumed most notarial and documentary services. However, you will need to make an appointment online before coming to a Consulate. See Notarial and Documentary Services Guide. The British Consulates-General in Wuhan and Chongqing are currently closed. The ability of the British Embassy and Consulates to provide face-to-face assistance within China is currently limited. If you’re in China and need consular support, call +86 (0)10 8529 6600 or the FCO in London on +44 (0) 207 008 1500.
British nationals normally need a visa to enter mainland China, including Hainan Island, but not Hong Kong or Macao. See Visas
You must register your place of residence with the local Public Security Bureau within 24 hours of arrival. See Entry requirements
In light of protests and demonstrations in Hong Kong, there are reports of greater scrutiny from mainland authorities at border crossings between the mainland and Hong Kong. This includes reports that travellers’ electronic devices have been checked at border crossings. You should be aware that the thresholds for detention and prosecution in China differ from those in Hong Kong. See Local laws and customs and Safety and security
China has a zero tolerance policy on drugs. There are severe penalties for drugs-related offences including the death penalty. Police often raid bars and nightclubs checking for the use of illicit substances. Raids on private homes have also occurred. See Local laws and customs
Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in China. Although foreigners haven’t been specifically targeted, attacks may occur in places visited by foreigners. You should take particular care during national holidays or when transiting public transport hubs, and always follow the advice of the local authorities. Previous attacks have targeted public places including on one occasion at a railway station and an open air market in 2014. There have been no recent attacks in the main tourist areas. The risk is higher in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region. You should take particular care and remain vigilant when travelling to or within Xinjiang. See Terrorism
Don’t attempt to travel to Tibet without getting the correct permits. The Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) can be closed to foreigners without notice. See Tibet and the Tibet Autonomous Region
China doesn’t recognise dual nationality. If you have both British and Chinese nationality you may be treated as a Chinese citizen by local authorities, even if you enter China on your British passport. If this is the case, the British Embassy may not be able to offer you consular assistance. The FCO has published guidance on nationality in China. If you’ve formally renounced Chinese citizenship, you should carry evidence that you have done so. See Local laws and customs
High levels of air pollution can occur in major urban and industrialised areas in China, and may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions. Children, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be especially affected. You can check the pollution index levels for many cities in real time. See Health
The typhoon season in China normally runs from May to November. You should monitor the progress of approaching storms and follow the advice of the local authorities. See Natural disasters
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.
The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.