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Summary

From September 28, 2020, China will allow certain foreign nationals holding valid Chinese residence permits to enter into China. This relaxes the restrictions put in place in March and will be welcome news for foreign businesses restoring their China operations.

Background

On March 26, 2020, against the backdrop of Covid-19’s spread across countries, Chinese governmental authorities announced restrictions on foreign nationals entering China, including those holding various China travel and work permits (see KPMG China Tax Alert Issue 20). In a new announcement by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the National Immigration Administration (NIA), effective from midnight September 28, 2020, foreign nationals holding three types of valid Chinese residence permits will be permitted to enter into China. Other measures in the initial announcement continue to be effective.

Key contents and updates

Foreign nationals holding the following types of valid residence permits may enter into China from 0:00 on September 28, 2020.

  • Work purposes
  • For the purposes of attending to personal affairs
  • Family reunion purposes

Where any of these residence permits expired after 0:00 on March 28, 2020 and where the purpose of residence in China remains unchanged, holders may apply for the re-entry visa with Chinese embassies or consulate. Expired residence permits and supporting documents may be required to be presented in support of the application.

Other measures outlined in NIA’s March announcement remain in force. Specifically, foreign nationals holding the following types of valid visa can enter into China:

  • Diplomatic, official, courtesy and C visas
  • Visas issued after March 26, 2020 on the grounds of:
    ➣Engaging in necessary economic, trade, science and technology activities
    ➣Emergency humanitarian needs

The following visa-exempt policies remain suspended until further notice:

  • Visa on arrival
  • 24/72/144 hour-transit visa-exemption policy
  • Hainan 30-day visa-exempt policy
  • 15-day visa-exempt policy for foreign nationals entering Shanghai port on cruise ship 
  • 144-hour visa-exempt policy (for Guangdong province) for foreign nationals arriving from Hong Kong SAR or Macao SAR on cruise ship; and 
  • 15-day visa-exempt policy (for Guangxi province) for foreign nationals arriving on tour groups organized by ASEAN countries

KPMG observations

Foreign individuals are advised to consider the following and seek professional assistance where necessary:

Pre-arrival:

  • Those whose residence permits have expired should proactively contact the local visa center for details on the necessary documentation and procedures to apply for a re-entry visa
  • Those with valid residence permits and who wish to return to China, should enquire with the relevant authorities for pre-travel requirements, e.g. whether nucleic acid testing is required before entry
  • Ascertain in advance the quarantine measures at the port of entry and place of residence  

Post-arrival:

  • Strictly abide by China’s regulations on epidemic prevention and control

Companies that employ foreign individuals who meet the requirements for re-entry should proactively plan for the safe and timely return of such personnel and their family members.

KPMG will continue to update you on the latest developments in this regard, and share our observations and insights.