Foreign travel advice
Over 590,000 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.
China is prone to earthquakes, particularly in western and south western provinces. On the evening of 8 August 2017, an earthquake of magnitude 6.5 occurred in north-east Sichuan Province, near to Juizhaigou town and the Jiuzhai Valley National Park. If you’re planning to travel to the affected area, you should check local reports and contact your tour operator for further information. See Natural disasters
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.
China has a zero tolerance policy on drugs. There have been a number of recent incidences in Beijing of police raids on clubs and bars. The police have asked individuals to give urine samples to check on consumption of illicit substances. There are severe penalties in China for drugs-related offences including the death penalty. See Local Laws and Customs.
Take particular care if you’re travelling in Tibet. Don’t attempt to travel there without the right permits. The Tibetan Autonomous Region can be closed to foreigners without notice. See Local Travel
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. When levels are particularly high Chinese authorities may declare a ‘red alert’ and place restrictions on road traffic and flights. Check with your travel provider for up to date details.
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
Cases of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) have been reported in 16 provinces, mostly in eastern and southern China. See Health
Territorial disputes between China and neighbouring countries have caused high regional tension. There have been a number of anti-Japanese and anti-Korean 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. See Local Laws and Customs & Safety and Security
China doesn’t recognise dual nationality. Any person born in China to a Chinese national parent will be considered by the authorities to have Chinese 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. If you’ve formally renounced Chinese citizenship, you should carry evidence that you have done so. See Local Laws and Customs
If you travel to the southern and central regions of China, including the provinces of Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangxi and Zhejiang, monitor weather conditions and take suitable precautions. Heavy rainfall in these regions can cause flooding, interruption of power supply and disruption to roads, railways and flights. The rainy season typically begins in February and lasts until September. Temperatures in July and August can be very high and some provinces have issued heat alerts.
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.