Share with your friends

People’s Republic of China – COVID-19 Travel/Immigration Restrictions

PRC – COVID-19 Travel/Immigration Restrictions

The immigration authorities in the People's Republic of China have restricted entry of foreign nationals holding valid Chinese visas or residence permits temporarily, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.



Michelle Zhou

Partner, Global Mobility Services

KPMG in China


Related content


COVID-19 worldwide, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of the People's Republic of China and the National Immigration Administration (NIA) announced that, effective 00:00 28 March 2020, foreign nationals in possession of valid Chinese visas or residence permits will be prohibited from entering the People’s Republic of China (“China” or “PRC”) temporarily.


With countries around the globe implementing new border control measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, international assignment and business travel arrangements will face significant challenges over the next few months.

Organisations are advised to review implications of the following issues and seek professional assistance where necessary:

  • Whether foreign employees or accompanying family members holding a valid residence permit will be eligible to enter China by applying for a new visa on the grounds of the necessity to carry out economic/trade activities, or for emergency humanitarian needs.
  • Are Chinese visa application centers in overseas countries still operating as normal during the pandemic?
  • For those currently overseas but whose PRC resident permits are due to expire soon, how to effectively prepare for new visa application to enable re-entry as soon as the border restrictions are lifted.
  • Acting proactively by suspending international assignments to contain the spread, reviewing the associated relevant risks, and initiating contingency plans to reduce risks and costs.
  • Measures to be considered to effectively adjust travel plans to help minimise unnecessary time or financial losses.

Key Contents and Updates

Who Will Be Affected?

  • Foreign nationals holding valid visa or residence permits; 
  • Foreign nationals holding an APEC Business Travel Card.

Who Will Not Be Affected?

  • Foreign nationals with diplomatic, official, courtesy and C visas;
  • Foreign nationals with visas issued after 26 March 2020, on the grounds of:
    • Engaging in necessary economic, trade, science and technology activities;
    • Emergency humanitarian needs.

At the same time, the following visa-exempt policies will also 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 a cruise ship; 
  • 144-hour visa-exempt policy (for Guangdong province) for foreign nationals arriving from Hong Kong or Macao SAR on a cruise ship; and 
  • 15-day visa-exempt policy (for Guangxi province) for foreign nationals arriving on tour groups organised by ASEAN countries.


1  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, 26 March 2020 announcement.   


This article is excerpted, with permission, from “China temporarily suspends entry by foreign nationals” in China Tax Alert (Issue 20, March 2020), a publication of the KPMG International member firm in the People’s Republic of China.

*Please note that KPMG LLP (U.S.) does not provide any immigration services or legal services.  However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.   


The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in the People’s Republic of China.


To subscribe to GMS Flash Alert, fill out the subscription form.

© 2021 KPMG Advisory (China) Limited, a wholly foreign owned enterprise in China and KPMG Huazhen, a Sino-foreign joint venture in China, are member firms of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.

KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”) is a Swiss entity.  Member firms of the KPMG network of independent firms are affiliated with KPMG International. KPMG International provides no client services. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm vis-à-vis third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to obligate or bind any member firm.

Flash Alert is an Global Mobility Services publication of KPMG LLPs Washington National Tax practice. The KPMG logo and name are trademarks of KPMG International. KPMG International is a Swiss cooperative that serves as a coordinating entity for a network of independent member firms. KPMG International provides no audit or other client services. Such services are provided solely by member firms in their respective geographic areas. KPMG International and its member firms are legally distinct and separate entities. They are not and nothing contained herein shall be construed to place these entities in the relationship of parents, subsidiaries, agents, partners, or joint venturers. No member firm has any authority (actual, apparent, implied or otherwise) to obligate or bind KPMG International or any member firm in any manner whatsoever. The information contained in herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.

Connect with us


Want to do business with KPMG?


loading image Request for proposal

Stay up to date with what matters to you

Gain access to personalized content based on your interests by signing up today

Sign up today