Foreign travel advice



Over 570,000 British nationals visit mainland China every year. Most visits are trouble free but you should always take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

The high levels of air pollution that can occur in major urban and industrialised areas in China 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 on the website.

There is a general threat from terrorism. Attacks could occur in places visited by foreigners. You should be particularly vigilant during national holidays or when transiting public transport hubs, and always follow the advice of local authorities. As a general rule foreigners haven’t been targeted, although there was a specific threat to westerners reported in Beijing at Christmas 2015. The risk of attacks is higher in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region, where you should take extra care. See Terrorism

Take particular care if you’re travelling in Tibet. Don’t attempt to travel to Tibet without the appropriate permits. Tibetan Autonomous Region (or Tibetan Autonomous Prefectures in neighbouring Provinces) can be closed to foreigners without notice. See Local travel

Take care when attending events involving large crowds. Thirty six people died on New Year’s Eve in 2014 following a stampede at the New Year celebrations held in the Bund area of Shanghai.

Territorial disputes between China and neighbouring countries have caused high regional tension. There have been a number of anti-Japanese demonstrations in several cities across China. See Political situation

Foreign nationals over the age of 16 must carry their passport at all times. See Local laws and customs

You must register your place of residence with the local Public Security Bureau within 24 hours of arrival. See Entry Requirements

Police have the power to detain you or prevent you from leaving China if you are suspected of a crime; have outstanding court action against you, or are involved in any kind of business dispute. This is called a travel ban. There are severe penalties in China for drugs-related offences including the death penalty. See Local Laws and Customs & Safety and Security

China doesn’t recognise dual nationality. If you hold Chinese nationality, the Chinese authorities may regard you as a Chinese national and we may not be able to provide you with consular assistance, for example if you are detained. See Local Laws and Customs

The tropical cyclone (typhoon) season in China normally runs from May to November, affecting the southern and eastern coastal regions of China. You should monitor the progress of approaching storms and follow the advice of the local authorities, including any evacuation orders. See Typhoons

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.