Important COVID-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice
As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice. If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available. Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.
Coronavirus: stay up to date
- Find out how to return to the UK from China.
- See information on how to stay safely as a visitor if you cannot return.
- See coronavirus travel advice for guidance on international travel.
- Sign up for email alerts for China travel advice.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is advising British nationals against all non-essential international travel at this time. Existing advice for China remains in place:
The FCO advise against all travel to:
- Hubei Province
If you’re in China, you should follow the advice of the Chinese authorities. The situation in China continues to change. If you wish to leave, you should make arrangements to do so as soon as possible. See Return to the UK
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. For guidance on how to stay safely in China as a visitor if you are unable to return to the UK, see Staying during coronavirus
China has suspended entry to foreign nationals with visas issued before 27 March. The Chinese authorities have told the British Embassy in Beijing that this includes transit passengers. The only exemptions will be diplomatic, service, courtesy or C visas. On 13 March, China issued a new order to ensure compliance with health and quarantine regulations at borders in order to prevent potential outbreaks from imported COVID-19 cases. For full information, see Entry requirements
Since 31 January, some staff and dependants from the British Embassy and Consulates have been withdrawn. Essential staff needed to continue critical work, including consular assistance, remain. British Consulates-General in Shanghai and Guangzhou will – for the immediate future – continue to provide essential travel documentary services to British nationals wishing to leave China (but no other consular assistance). 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, and would be even more limited in the event that the situation deteriorates further. If you’re in in China and need consular support, call +86 (0)10 8529 6600 or the FCO in London on +44 (0) 207 008 1500.
You should always take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.
British nationals normally need a visa to enter mainland China, including Hainan Island, but not Hong Kong or Macao. See Visas
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
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
In light of ongoing 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 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
Territorial disputes between China and neighbouring countries have caused high regional tension. There have been anti-Japanese and anti-Korean demonstrations in several cities across China. See Political situation
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.