Summary

This travel advice covers mainland China. For the Special Administrative Regions (SAR) of Hong Kong and Macao, see travel advice for Hong Kong and travel advice for Macao

From 8 Jan 2023, China has changed its COVID-19 entry requirements for all travellers entering the country. You will need a negative PCR test to enter China. Before you travel, check the ‘Entry requirements’ section for further information on current entry restrictions and requirements. Monitor this advice for the latest updates and stay in contact with your travel provider. You must register your place of residence with the local Public Security Bureau within 24 hours of arrival. British nationals need a visa to enter mainland China, including Hainan Island, but not Hong Kong or Macao. See Visas.

Since 5 January 2023, if you travel (or return) from mainland China to England you must take a pre-departure COVID-19 test. Read the COVID-19 guidance on travel into the UK for information on what you must do. If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the relevant country.

China is currently experiencing its largest COVID-19 outbreak, and there may be an increased risk of infection. You should ensure you have a supply of medication for COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms. For more information, check the ‘Coronavirus’ section.

It is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides sufficient cover. See the FCDO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.

Avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings. The Chinese authorities enforce public order strictly and you may face arrest, detention and/or deportation. See ‘Safety and Security’ for further information.

The ability of the British Embassy and Consulates to provide face-to-face assistance within China is limited, and will need to be arranged in advance. If you’re in China and need consular support, call +86 (0)10 8529 6600 or the FCDO in London on +44 (0) 207 008 5000 or contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

The British Embassy and Consulates-General in Shanghai and Guangzhou provide travel documentary services to British nationals. However, you will need to make an appointment online before coming to a Consulate. See Notarial and Documentary Services Guide.

Following protests and demonstrations in Hong Kong, there were reports of greater scrutiny from mainland authorities at border crossings between the mainland and Hong Kong when the border was last open. This included reports that travellers’ electronic devices had 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. Police also have the power to detain or prevent you from leaving China if you are involved in or connected to a business and/or civil dispute. See Local laws and customs and Safety and security.

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.

Do not 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 FCDO 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.

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.