As announced by the Chinese Government, as from 0 a.m. 28 March 2020, foreign nationals are temporarily not allowed to enter into China despite of holding visas or residence permits.
- This applies to all foreign nationals holding various short or long term ordinary visas, such as M (business) visa, F (visit) visa, R (talent) visa or Z (work) visa, and residence permits for various purposes such as work, study or private affairs, as well as to those holding APEC Business Travel Cards.
- The Chinese Government also temporarily suspends issuing port visas, the 24/72/144-hours visa-free transit policy, Hainan 30-days visa-free policy, 15-days visa-free policy specified for foreign cruise-group-tour through Shanghai Port, Guangdong 144-hours visa-free policy specified for foreign tour groups from Hong Kong or Macao SAR and Guangxi 15-days visa-free policy specified for foreign tour groups of ASEAN countries. Therefore, currently foreign nationals are not able to enter into China based on the above preferable entry policies.
- There are exceptions for those who are holding diplomatic visa, courtesy visa and official visa as well as ordinary C visa which is specifically issued to crews of international trains, aircrafts and ships and their accompanying family members as well as car drivers engaged in international road transport. Foreign nationals holding PRC Permanent Residence will not be banned.
- Notwithstanding the above, foreign nationals who need to come to China during the temporary suspension period for necessary economic, trade, scientific or technological activities or out of needs of humanitarian emergency can apply for special visa at the Chinese embassies or consulates. The issuance of such visa will be subject to the decision of the Chinese embassies or consulates.
- The validity of the visas or residence permits issued in the past held by foreign nationals will not be affected and is just suspended. After the temporary suspension is cancelled, foreign nationals can still enter into China by holding these visas or residence permits as long as they are still within the validity period.
- If the original visa or residence permits expire during the temporary suspension period, then the foreign national must apply for a new visa when entering into China. Foreign nationals whose residence permit expired can enter into China by obtaining any kind of valid visa, and then apply for renewing the original residence permit after they are back to China without having to submit additional documents provided that the residence permit has expired for less than 3 months at the time of application. If the residence permit has expired for more than 3 months, then such foreigner will have to additionally provide a health certificate.
If a Z (work) visa holder fails to enter into China within the validity period of such Z visa due to the COVID-19 epidemics, the foreigner can enter into China with another valid visa. The relevant Chinese authority will recognize such situation upon the explanation by the Chinese employer of such foreigner and allow the foreigner to apply for a work permit and residence permit in China accordingly.
- Because of the temporary suspension measures taken by the Chinese Government, for the time being some foreign employees might not be able to come back to work in China.Based on current policies, the Chinese company can arrange the foreign employees to work from home by means of telephone and Internet etc. If it is not feasible for the employees to work from home, the company may arrange the employees to take annual leave upon consulting with them. If a foreign employee, after taking various leaves and holidays, is still not able to come back to work after one salary payment circle, which is normally one month, upon consulting with the employee, the company may suspend the work of such employee and only pay the living allowance to the employee. The standard of living allowance shall be subject to the local regulations amounting from 70% to 100% of the minimum wage at the locations.
With the development of the global epidemic situation, the Chinese Government might adjust its policies from time to time. We suggest the concerned foreigners and companies to pay close attention to any further change of the policy.