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China

If you’re travelling to China, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Natural Disasters and Climate
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

For the latest update please read the General COVID-19 Travel Advisory >

Overview

Security status

Avoid Non Essential Travel.

Latest Travel Alert

Citizens should exercise caution in any decisions about international travel, taking account of their overall health, their vaccine status, and the risk of testing positive for COVID-19 while abroad. Anyone considering travelling abroad should be aware that restrictions are subject to change at short notice, and additional restrictions may be imposed by the country of your destination, including during your visit.

Travel to China

Entry by foreign nationals into the People’s Republic of China remains suspended. There is as of yet no end-date to this measure. This means that Irish citizens are not able to enter China from abroad, except in specific circumstances agreed by the Chinese Immigration Authorities. 

The entirety of the relevant announcement by the Chinese Government can be found here: https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/wjbxw/t1761867.shtml

For more information on the details of this measure and any possible exception for a foreign national, please contact your nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulate.

For any person who is permitted to travel to China, the Chinese Immigration Authorities also insist on a range of tests including negative COVID-19 test results within a short time span before boarding flights to China and a pre-approval ‘Health Code’ process. Detail of the specific requirements should be requested from your nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulate.

Please find more information from the Chinese Embassy in Dublin here: http://ie.china-embassy.org/eng/tz/t1827647.htm.   

Any Irish citizen planning to come to China should carefully read all relevant notices on their local Chinese Embassy or Consulate website.

There is mandatory central hotel quarantine for any person entering China, the duration of which varies from place to place. Persons travelling in groups should be aware that adults entering China are separated for individual central quarantine.  Families should be aware that children over the age of 14 are treated as medical adults and are also separated for central quarantine.

Any person testing positive for COVID-19 during quarantine enters medical observation in a specialised facility.  We are aware of instances in which young children have been put under medical observation alone, following positive COVID-19 tests on arrival in China. 

Special rules are also applied by the authorities to any person entering China who has previously been infected with COVID-19, even where they have recovered from that infection. Any person who has previously been infected with COVID-19 and who is considering travel to China should carefully read all relevant notices on their local Chinese Embassy or Consulate website.

In addition, any Irish citizen considering travelling to China should be aware that restrictions are not limited only to entry restrictions.  China continues to implement a zero Covid policy and combat intermittent outbreaks of COVID-19 throughout the country. This can result in the sudden implementation within China of strict controls on movement, mandatory testing, mass testing and further periods of quarantine, including central quarantine.  The exact measures involved are subject to change on an ongoing basis, and advance notice of new measures may not always be available.  We advise all Irish citizens to follow the advice of the local Chinese authorities in these matters.  

In this environment, the advice of the Department is to avoid non-essential travel to and within China, as these measures continue and the situation remains fluid.We will continue to monitor the situation and to update travel advice relating to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Travellers and residents should take particular care to observe food safety and travel precautions and the wearing of single use masks, regular washing of hands with an alcohol-based soap is strongly recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Information on COVID-19, including advice for the public on protective steps, is available on the website of the World Health Organisation at the following link here or on the HSE website: https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/

General Travel Advice 

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

The Chinese emergency services can be contacted by dialling the following numbers:

Police 110

Fire service 119

Ambulance service 120

If you need to contact the Irish Embassy in Beijing, you can do so at +86 10 85316200.

Irish citizens in Shanghai, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Jiangxi and Anhui should contact the Consulate General in Shanghai at +86 21 60101360.

Irish citizens in Hong Kong and Macau can contact our Consulate General in Hong Kong at +852 2535 0700.

You may also wish to follow the Irish Embassy in China on Twitter or on its Chinese social media channels on Weibo and WeChat. In the event of a crisis, we will issue travel advice from @IrlEmbChina, based on updates issued by the authorities in Ireland and China.

Please note that you can only work in China if you possess a valid Z-visa and a valid work permit. You cannot work with a business, tourist or other short-stay visa. Never overstay your visa or work illegally. Immigration laws in China are strictly policed and enforced. Violation of same can result in severe penalties, including arrest, detention, substantial fine, deportation and a ban on re-entry to China.

Lost Passports and Visa Overstays

Any foreign citizen who has lost a passport must obtain a police report, a temporary passport from the relevant Embassy, and finally an exit visa in order to leave China. Prior to the pandemic, the processing time for this could last up to two weeks, during which the person must be able to pay for accommodation and support themselves.

Should a foreign citizen overstay their visa, it can take up to 30 days or longer for the local authorities to process the visa overstay fine. Again, the person must be able to pay for accommodation and support themselves during this time.

Irish citizens in China are advised to exercise great caution in protecting their passports from loss, theft, or damage, and to be mindful of the periods of stay allowed by their visa.

Exit Bans in China

Chinese authorities may place an exit ban on an individual to prevent them from leaving the country. An exit ban may be placed on an individual in connection with an investigation into that individual, their family or an employer; or in a criminal or civil matter, including a business dispute. Such bans, which are distinct from detention or imprisonment, are part of the Chinese legal process and may endure for months, or longer. They are linked to the resolution of the legal process in question and it is not always evident that you are the subject of an exit ban until you try to leave the country. If you are prevented from leaving the country because of an exit ban, you should seek legal advice immediately. Please also contact the Irish Embassy or Consulate General for consular assistance. 

Teaching English in China

The Embassy strongly recommends that anyone who is considering teaching in China should research prospective employing schools and language centres thoroughly and ensure their bona fides. All prospective teachers should also ensure that they have the correct visa to work in a Chinese school. It is the Irish citizen and not the school who will be held responsible by the Chinese authorities if they violate the terms of their visa.

When taking-up employment at a school (public or private) you must ensure that your work visa (Z-visa) and work permit allow you to work in that particular establishment. If you change employer, or location, or take up any form of additional part-time employment you should check with the Chinese authorities whether a new visa and work permit are required.

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Social unrest

The political situation in China is reasonably stable but there can be occasional outbreaks of social unrest. Avoid large gatherings and demonstrations, which may turn violent and could result in legal difficulties. There are strictly enforced regulations against any public demonstrations which don't have prior approval of the authorities. Participants may be subject to severe legal action. Stay away from military sites – taking photos of, or near, military or security installations, and some public buildings, may result in a penalty.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula

Tensions on the neighbouring Korean Peninsula could escalate with little notice and the security situation could deteriorate suddenly. Tensions may increase before, during and after North Korean nuclear and missile tests, military exercises or as the result of incidents or military activities at or near the inter-Korean border. Monitor developments, remain vigilant and follow the instructions of local authorities. 

Terrorism

There is an underlying global threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

Crime

China is a relatively safe destination in terms of petty crime but you are nontheless advised to exercise caution: 

  • Don't carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
  • Leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
  • Pick pocketing and theft are less common than in some other locations but you should always be alert to your enviornment and personal security.

Counterfeit banknotes

While the use of cash is increasingly rare in China, counterfeit bank notes, especially counterfeit RMB100 notes, were common in the past. Ask in the bank or where you change your money how to identify fake notes. Check notes before accepting them, as you will see many shop owners and taxi drivers doing.

Tourist scams

There are many scams, particularly in the popular tourist areas of major cities, aimed at extorting money from foreigners. Travellers are approached by people inviting them to drink tea, visit an art exhibition or to practice English; the unwitting traveller is either forced to buy expensive (but worthless) artwork or is presented with a very large bill for the tea. In a commercial dispute such as this, the local police are unlikely to act so it is safer not to accept any invitations such as these.

You should exercise caution when hiring a rental bicycle using a QR code. Check QR stickers carefull as there have been cases of the legitimate barcodes being replaced with false codes.

Fake alcohol

It’s very common for bars and nightclubs to serve fake alcohol, which can result in violent behaviour and memory loss and has resulted in Irish citizens being left in very vulnerable positions. We advise you to be aware of your alcohol intake.

Reporting crime

If you're a victim of a crime while in China, report it to the local police immediately. You can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Beijing or our Consulates if you need help.

If you are in Shanghai, or in the provinces of Anhui, Jiangsu, Jiangxi or Zhejiang, you can contact our Consulate General in Shanghai.

If you are in Hong Kong, you can contact the Consulate General in Hong Kong.

Driving / Road Safety

If you are planning to drive or cycle in China, you should be extremely careful as road safety in China can be very poor. 

All drivers must hold a valid Chinese driver's license and should purchase comprehensive insurance. Foreign driver's licenses and International Driving Permits are not valid in mainland China. Long-term residents may apply for a Chinese driver's license at the Vehicle Management Office in their city of residence.

Public transport

We would advise against using illegal taxis or buses.

Hiring a vehicle

If you are hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you are allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal. We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution due to the risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws.

Registration

Foreigners must register with the local Public Security Bureau within 24 hours of arrival in China. If you are staying in a hotel or hostel, they will carry out this procedure on your behalf. If you are staying with friends or family, you must register personally.

Arrest or detention

If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the Embassy of Ireland in Beijing, the Consulate General in Shanghai, or the Consulate General in Hong Kong immediately.

Please note that if you are temporarily detained and issued with a fine, you must pay the fine within the specified period. If the fine is not paid in time, you may be placed in a detention centre. We recommend that you contact the Embassy or Consulate General immediately for assistance if you have been temporarily detained or fined. The Chinese judicial system can be difficult to navigate if you do not speak fluent Chinese. The Embassy or Consulate General can assist you in dealing with the authorities and provide you with information on where to find an English-speaking lawyer.

If you do not have a valid visa or if you have overstayed your visa, you may be fined, detained and/or deported by the Chinese authorities. Please note that there is an average of 30 days processing time for visa overstay fines, which may be prolonged to 60 days.  The Irish Embassy in China cannot influence or speed up this processing time.  An overstay will prove very costly, as an person in this position will need to have sufficient money to support and accommodate themselves during this processing time.    

Please note that you can only work in China if you possess a valid Z-visa and a valid work permit, and that you may be detained or fined if you do not have both of these documents.

Commercial and Civil disputes

If you are suspected of a crime, or if you are involved in a personal or business dispute, the authorities may confiscate your passport, to prevent you from leaving the country or the particular region you are in until the matter is resolved. If your passport is withheld for any reason, please inform the Embassy or Consulate General that your passport is being held by the Chinese authorities.

In the case of disputes involving commercial law, a local lawyer should be engaged as a matter of priority. The Embassy cannot intervene in commercial disputes.

Illegal drugs

Use or possession of illegal drugs (no matter what the drug) carry stiff penalties, including fines, deportation, long prison terms or even in certain circumstances the death penalty, regardless of one's nationality. The Chinese police regularly raid bars and clubs to check for the presence of illicit substances, and have also been known to raid private residences.

Legal age

In China, a person aged 14 years and above is treated as an adult under the law.

Religion

There are restrictions on preaching and distributing religious materials. The Falun Gong movement is banned in China.

Dual Nationality

Chinese authorities do not recognise dual nationality. If you have both Chinese and Irish nationality and enter China on an Irish passport the authorities may not recognise your Irish citizenship and may not grant access to consular assistance. If a former Chinese national has formally renounced Chinese citizenship they may need to carry evidence that they have done so.

Chinese nationality and children

Chinese law states that children born to Chinese nationals are Chinese nationals, regardless of the citizenship of the other parent. It is therefore the responsibility of parents to ensure that their child is correctly registered after birth. The Irish Embassy cannot intervene to help in cases where the child is primarily a Chinese national.

Natural Disasters and Climate

Natural disasters and climate

Earthquake

China is located in an active seismic zone and is periodically subject to major earthquakes. You should familiarise yourself with these guidelines from the Red Cross so you know how to respond in an emergency situation.

Latest tsunami warnings can be found on the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre website.

Flooding

Flooding is common in some parts of China, particularly along the Yangtze River Basin, during the wet season (May to November). In cases of flooding, you should move to higher ground and wait for the flooding to abate. The Chinese military play a role in evacuating flooded areas; if you're affected, you should follow their instructions closely for your own safety. Citizens should, however, be aware, that flooding can occur in other areas as well, as was the case with the Zhengzhou floods (Henan Province) in July 2021. 

Typhoons

Typhoons are common along the south-eastern seaboard of China between May and November. Check the local and international news before travelling to ensure that you won't be caught in a typhoon-affected area. Avoid visiting isolated or rural areas if a typhoon system is forecast. You should follow the advice of the local authorities.

Additional Information

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

Passport

You must have a valid passport to enter China, with a validity date at least six months beyond the end of your intended period of stay. It is also advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you, and to store a photo of the data (personal identification) and Chinese visa pages of your passport on your phone. It is also advisable to leave a copy of the data page of your passport and a copy of your Chinese visa page with a family member or a friend at home.

You are legally required to carry your passport at all times when travelling in China and, if living in China, your residency card.

If you lose your passport while in China, you will need to notify the police who will then issue you a lost passport report. You will need to obtain an emergency passport from the Embassy of Ireland in Beijing and produce your police report with your application.  Emergency passports must include an exit visa before you can leave China. This is a lengthy bureaucratic process which can delay your exit from China for up to two weeks.  Ensure you have sufficient money to support yourself, and the capacity to access emergency funds if needed. 

Visa

As explained in more detail above, it is not currently possible for most foreign nationals to enter China. Irish citizens need a visa to visit China. To obtain a visa, you should contact the Chinese Embassy in Dublin at chinaemb ie@mfa.gov.cn well in advance of your planned visit. Please ensure that you have the correct visa before travelling to China and that you leave the country before your visa expires. If you wish to extend your visa or apply to change your visa while in China you must contact the local Public Service Bureau. Violations of Chinese immigration laws can result in severe penalties, including arrest, imprisonment, fine and deportation.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was possible for Irish citizens to visit China for a short period (no more than 144 hours) using various visa-free transit schemes in certain Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. However, even at that time the Embassy was aware of cases where Irish citizens were denied visa-free transit access to China despite complying with all published requirements. The Embassy would recommend that citizens continue to seek a visa in advance of all visits to China.

If you plan to work in China and bring your family with you, you may need to submit authenticated birth and marriage certificates with their residence applications. You may also be required to have other documentation authenticated. The Irish Embassy cannot authenticate documents; only the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin can authenticate your certificates, and for them to be legally valid in China they should then be legalised by the Chinese Embassy in Dublin. We recommend that you check these requirements with your employer before you travel.

Ensure you keep check of your visa expiry date. If you need to extend or apply for a new visa while you are in China, you must apply through the local Public Security Bureau. Be aware that visa extensions cannot exceed the term of the original visa so travellers issued with a 30 day visa can only apply for an extension of 30 days once. Please note that there is an average of 30 days processing time for visa overstay fines which may be prolonged to 60 days.  The Irish Embassy in China cannot influence or speed up this processing time.  An overstay will prove very costly as you will need to ensure you have sufficient money to support yourself, and seek accommodation during this processing time

Registration

Foreigners must register with the local Public Security Bureau within 24 hours of arrival in China. If you are staying in a hotel or hostel, they will carry out this procedure on your behalf. If you are staying with friends or family, you must register personally.

Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions

Travel Advice for the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions are available on a dedicated page, here:  https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/a-z-list-of-countries/china-hong-kong-macau/

Tibet

Travel to Tibet is restricted and is only possible if you have a travel permit. Within China, you can apply to the Foreign Affairs Office of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. If you are applying from abroad, consult your local Chinese Embassy or your travel agent.

Health

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for China.

Air quality
Many areas in China can experience high levels of air pollution. We advise all Irish visitors and residents to monitor the updates and advisories from the Air Quality Health Index.

Other Health Precautions

As a precaution, you should avoid visiting live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you may come into close contact with domestic, caged or wild birds; and ensure poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has up to date information on their website: www.who.int/

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

After business hours, Irish Citizens seeking emergency consular assistance should contact the main Embassy number, 01085316200, and leave a message with your name, contact number and details of the emergency on the Duty Officer voice mailbox.

This mailbox will be monitored regularly.

Embassy of Ireland
3 Ritan Dong Lu
Chaoyang District
Beijing 100600
People's Republic of China

Tel: +86 10 8531 6200
Fax: +86 10 6532 6857

Monday to Friday 09:00-12:30 and 13:30-17:00

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Consulate Contact

Consulate General of Ireland Shanghai
Suite 700A (West Tower)
Shanghai Centre
1376 Nanjing Road West
Shanghai 200040
People's Republic of China

Tel: +86 21 6279 8729
Fax: +86 21 6279 8739

Monday to Friday 09:30-12:30 and 13:30-16:30

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Consulate Contact

Consulate General of Ireland Hong Kong
20/F, 33 Des Voeux Road,
Central,
Hong Kong

Tel: +(852) 2535 0700
Fax: +(852) 2528 9330

Monday to Friday 10.00 - 12:00 and 14:00 - 16:30

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