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China eliminates last COVID-19 requirement – No more Health Declaration Card for all travelers

The last remaining COVID-19 travel requirement was finally lifted in China. Starting November 1, 2023, travelers leaving and entering the country are no longer required to fill in the health declaration form, according to an announcement from China’s General Administration of Customs. 


The Entry/Exit Health Declaration Card was implemented during the pandemic to screen travelers for symptoms of COVID-19 through questions on their health condition and symptoms. A QR code created by the system after filling out the form had to be presented to Customs when leaving or entering the country. 

Travelers still must voluntarily report themselves to Customs staff if they have symptoms or have been diagnosed with an infectious disease.  


Entering China  


After the elimination of the Health Declaration Card, travelers no longer need to undergo any additional procedures related to COVID-19 or other health issues to enter or leave China from abroad. This includes people traveling to and from Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. 


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A valid visa or entry permit is necessary for foreign visitors without Chinese residency or citizenship to enter the country. Fines and penalties can be imposed on those travelers who overstay their visa or permit. 


In March 2023, the Chinese government resumed issuing all types of visas for foreign nationals. People can now travel to China for tourism and business, as well as work, study, and family reunions. 


An arrival and departure form with details such as accommodation in China, must be filled out by all visitors. This card, a standard before the pandemic, is provided by airline staff on the airplane or at the airport at immigration. 


Reporting Symptoms 


People leaving and entering China who show symptoms of or have been diagnosed with an infectious disease must declare their health situation voluntary to Customs. Symptoms may include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, or unexplained subcutaneous bleeding, according to the authorities.  


After declaring their symptoms to Customs, they must then cooperate with staff on any screening and quarantine procedures, such as a temperature probe, epidemiological survey, medical inspection, sampling, testing, and so on. 


Anyone who seeks to conceal or evade quarantine will bear corresponding legal responsibilities, and anyone who causes the spread of an infectious disease or poses a serious risk of spread may face criminal charges.  


In an effort to attract international visitors, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) approved a simplified visa application process in 2023, with two significant changes. First, applicants are now required to list their travel history from the past year instead of the previous five years, and second, the educational background section has been streamlined to only request the highest level of education achieved. 


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These adjustments reduce the time applicants spend on visa forms and enhance overall efficiency. The MFA reaffirmed its dedication to fostering people-to-people interactions between China and other countries, emphasizing China’s commitment to high-quality development and global engagement. 


After months of gradual dismantling of COVID-19 travel restrictions, such as the lifting of quarantines, vaccine and testing requirements, and travel codes, domestic and international travelers can again enter and exit the country. 


Foreign travelers may still be confused when planning a trip to China, as it adopted a progressive approach for lifting restrictions, and the latest information is scattered across a series of announcements. It is important to check with Chinese consulates and offices abroad on the latest updates on immigration and customs.  


 

Woodburn Accountants & Advisors is one of China’s most trusted business setup advisory firms.


Woodburn Accountants & Advisors is specialized in inbound investment to China and Hong Kong. We focus on eliminating the complexities of corporate services and compliance administration. We help clients with services ranging from trademark registration and company incorporation to the full outsourcing solution for accounting, tax, and human resource services. Our advisory services can be tailor-made based on the companies’ objectives, goals and needs which vary depending on the stage they are at on their journey.

 

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