Foreigners' Guide and Laws
for Entry/Exit and Staying in
Basic Laws, Principles, and Rules
1. In principle, how are Chinese laws applied to foreigners?
According to Chinese laws and regulations, those not holding Chinese nationality are considered foreigners.
is governed by law. Thus, protection of foreigners' legal rights and interests within Chinese borders, such as foreigners' personal freedoms and legal property must not be violated.
2．What is the basic purpose and how will Chinese laws be implemented for foreigners?
must abide by Chinese law. Foreigners must not endanger Chinese national security, harm the public interest, or damage public order. Those that disobey Chinese law will be dealt with in accordance with Chinese law. Chinese agencies with jurisdiction over said laws will deal with the violator in accordance with the law and ensure that the violator assumes administrative and criminal responsibility. Violators must assume responsibility for causing harm to another’s person or property.
3．What recourse do foreigners that are not satisfied with the verdict of relevant Chinese administrative entities have?
Foreigners dissatisfied with the verdict of a Chinese administrative entity may apply for reconsideration or submit an appeal to a higher level authority.
4. Can a foreigner in
hire a lawyer?
needing legal services may hire a lawyer.
5. What type of protection does Chinese law provide to protect the interest of minors?
The Chinese Government is especially concerned with the protection of the interest of minors. Commercial dance halls and internet cafes are not suitable venues for minors and do not permit minors to enter. It is highly illegal to sell any products that may have a negative influence on minors; such products may include print materials or music with pornographic and/or violent content. It is highly illegal to sell alcohol to minors.
Part II. Entry/Exit Procedures
A. Entry Procedures
6. What type of visa categories are there for foreigners visiting
There are four main categories of Chinese visas: diplomatic, courtesy, official business, and tourist. Most foreigners visiting
will receive tourist visas. Visas and documents must not be counterfeited, altered, falsely used, transferred, or sold.
There are nine categories of regular visas differentiated by their function into Chinese and Roman numerals.
7. What are the procedures for a foreigner applying for a visa prior to entry into
To apply for a People's Republic of
visa you need:
-A valid passport or a travel document that substitutes for a passport
-Replies to any questions
-A complete "Foreigners Visa Application Form"
-A recent 2 inch photo with the applicant facing forward and no head-coverings.
-Proof substantiating purpose of travel.
8. What categories of applicants are not permitted to enter
-Those expelled by the Chinese Government and still within the prohibition limit for re-entering a Chinese territory.
-Those regarded as possibly being engaged in terrorist, violent, and/or subversive activities within a Chinese territory.
-Those considered as being engaged in activities of smuggling, drug-trafficking, and prostitution within a Chinese territory.
- Those suffering from infectious diseases such as mental disorders, leprosy, sexually transmitted diseases, and active pulmonary tuberculosis, etc.
- Those unable to support their expenses while in
-Those regarded as conducting activities detrimental to state security and the interests of
9. What should foreigners do if they lose their documents?
Lost passports must be reported in person and as soon as possible to the Public Security Bureau office that covers the region in which the passport was lost. The person must then bring the report from the dispatch center and return to the branch with jurisdiction or the local Municipality's Public Security Bureau to follow the procedures for reporting lost passports. One must report to the Public Security Bureau when and where the passport was lost with the expiration date and number of the passport.
10. Do foreigners entering the country require health checks?
Personnel, transportation equipment, and containers that may transmit contagious diseases through luggage, cargo and mail pouches will be inspected upon entry. Those with appropriate quarantine permits will be allowed to enter.
11. Are foreign tourists allowed to work in
Foreigners without a residency permit or who are in
to study, and those without permission from the central Chinese Government are not allowed to work in
12. Which items are prohibited from being brought into
-All weapons (including replicas/imitation weapons), gunpowder, and explosive devices
-Counterfeit currency and securities.
-Documents, exposed film, photos, music, movies, audio tapes, video tapes, CDs, DVDs, memory devices, etc. that have content harming the Chinese government, economy, culture or principles.
-A range of addictive drugs.
-Opium, morphine, heroin, marijuana, and other addictive sedatives and hallucinogenic drugs.
-Dangerous germs, insects, diseased animals, plants, etc.
-Food and medicinal products that are potentially harmful to people and animals.
13. Can food be brought into
Visitors may carry with them food limited for the duration of their trip, meaning one case of each type of product per day. Anything over this limit must be reported to Customs and inspected.
14. Can pets be brought into
, entering visitors may bring in one pet per person per entry. Pets are limited to cats and dogs and must meet inspection requirements before admittance into
15. What limits are there on currency?
-Foreigners bringing up to 5000 USD worth of currency do not require a "carrying permit." Those making numerous trips within a day or within a short time frame are not included.
-Foreigners with currency between 5000 -10,000 USD must apply to a bank for a "carrying permit." Upon leaving the country, customs will stamp the permit. Customs will not release currency for persons using multiple permits in excess of 10,000 USD.
-Foreigners with currency worth more than 10,000 USD must apply to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange and its regional branches (herein referred to as SAFE) to apply for a permit. Customs will examine and release the currency with the provision of a SAFE-stamped 'carrying permit'
B. Exit Procedures
16. What type of documents must foreigners show during exit?
Foreigners exiting the country must show their passports or travel documents and their Chinese visas or residency permits.
17. What type of foreigner is not permitted to exit?
-Those that have been sued or those that are suspected criminals as named by public security organs, the People's Procuratorate or the People's Court.
-Those with unresolved civil cases before the People's Court.
-Others with unresolved cases involving the violation of Chinese law and those which relevant agencies have determined need to be pursued further.
18. Which products are prohibited from export out of the country?
-Anything that was prohibited from entering the country.
-Handwritten documents, printed material, exposed film, photos, music tapes, films, audio tapes, video tapes, DVDs, digital memory devices, etc. containing state secrets
-Valuable cultural artifacts and other artifacts prohibited for export.
-Endangered and valuable animals and plants (including specimens), seeds, and cuttings.
Part III. Accommodation
19．Do foreigners need to register if staying in temporary accommodations?
Foreigners should show their valid passports or IDs and fill out the temporary accommodation registration form before checking into hotels, hostels, inns, guesthouses and other accommodations owned by schools, enterprises, governments or other Chinese organizations.
Foreigners staying with Chinese residents in urban areas must register at a local police station with their passports/IDs and the Chinese landlord's household certificate within 24 hours of arrival (or within 72 hours for those in rural areas).
20. Do foreigners need to register as staying in temporary accommodation if they stay in accommodations owned by other foreigners or foreign organizations?
Foreigners staying at residences owned by foreign organizations or friends in
must register at a local police station. Either the landlord or the guest(s) should take the foreign guests' passports or IDs to register with the police station and fill out the temporary accommodation registration form.
21. Can foreigners camp in urban areas?
In order to maintain public sanitation and the image of civilization, no camping is allowed at airports, bus stations, ports/docks, pedestrian crossways (walkovers and pedestrian tunnels), public parks and other public areas.
22. Can foreigners rent temporary accommodations?
Foreigners may rent temporary accommodations in
, but they must register at a local police station.
Part IV. Transportation
23. What are the basic rules for driving automobiles and non-motorized vehicles?
Automobiles and non-motorized vehicles should be driven on the right hand side of the road. Automobile drivers must have a Chinese driver’s license or permit to drive. Drivers of both automobiles and cycles must follow traffic signs, lights, direction by traffic police, and traffic safety regulations and rules. In the extent of a traffic accident, drivers should stop the car, preserve the accident site, help the wounded, and call the police.
24. Can foreigners use an international driver’s license or license issued by other countries or regions to drive in
has not yet joined the United Nations “Road Traffic Pact.” Foreigners must obtain a valid driver’s license (including temporary driver’s permit) issued by the Chinese government to drive an automobile in
. Foreigners without such licenses or permits will be considered as driving without license and will be punished according to Chinese law.
25. How to apply for a temporary driver’s permit?
Foreigners who have a driver’s license issued abroad should submit their identification, foreign driver’s license, proof of age and proof of good health per regulations, two one-inch colored photos, receive suitable road transportation safety law, then apply for a “temporary automobile driver’s permit” and then you can drive in China. No examination needed.
Foreigners who have a driver’s license issued abroad and will drive automobiles temporarily brought from abroad, should apply for a temporary driver’s permit from the public security traffic control department within two days of arriving. Foreigners who will rent Chinese local automobiles should apply for temporary driver’s permit from the public security traffic control department where the automobile provider resides.
26. Can foreign automobiles be used in
Foreign automobiles may be used in
, but the registration certificate, proof of automobile entry, automobile safety certificate, and proof of insurance should be submitted to the Public Security traffic control department for a temporary plate number and driving permit.
27. Can foreigners rent automobile or cycles?
Foreigners can rent automobiles or cycles. Foreigners must get a Chinese driver’s license or temporary driver’s permit to drive motor vehicles in
Part V. Shopping, tourism, entertainment, and other consumption activities
28. What rights do consumers have when shopping and consuming?
Consumers enjoy all rights endued by the Chinese laws. No business provider has rights to stop foreigners from entering and shopping.
29. How will disputes be settled?
Consumers who have been harmed through the products they purchased or from the service they received may request compensation from the goods/service provider. In the event of a dispute, mediation can be sought from the operational management of the business, from the Consumers Protection Commission, relevant administrative departments or through the People’s Court.
30. If you have diarrhea or vomiting after eating/drinking at restaurants or hotels, how do you lodge a complaint?
Food poisoning symptoms are to be reported to the local health department or to the local Consumers Protection Commission. It is also possible to request a check-up to the restaurants or hotels by the local branch of local Administration for Industry and Commerce.
31. Is the entire Chinese territory open to foreign tourists?
Not all of
is open to foreigners. Foreigners without permission are not entitled to enter restricted areas.
32. If traveling with a tour company, how does one protect their legal rights?
Prior to traveling, the traveler should sign a contract with the travel agency and confirm the level of service that is to be provided with the other party. The traveler should also ask the travel agency if they have arranged for accident insurance for the duration of travel.
33. What kind of acts will be considered violations of travelers' legal rights? How and where should one seek legal assistance?
When a traveler encounters travel services clearly inferior to those stated in the contract by the travel agency, or the travel agency cheats the traveler, or privately asks for bribes or tips, resulting in a negative impact for the traveler, the traveler has the right to complain to the relevant travel management department.
34. What kind of venues will be considered entertainment venues?
Entertainment venues may be defined as profit gaining facilities open to dancing, singing and gaming activities. Venues include: Nightclubs, dance halls, karaoke, music lounges, disco clubs, and internet cafes.
35. What time will entertainment facilities be restricted from operating?
Entertainment venues and facilities will be closed between 02:00 and 08:
36. What kind of activities are absolutely prohibited in entertainment facilities?
-Entertainment facilities are prohibited from organizing drug-related activities such as possession, use, distribution, and promotion of drugs.
-Gambling is prohibited within these facilities, including gambling machines.
-Adultery and prostitution is strictly prohibited.
Part VI. Medical Related Information
37. What kind of special treatment will foreigners receive in a locally (Chinese) operated hospital?
Foreigners will receive all types of necessary and appropriate treatment if needed, at the equivalent cost of Chinese citizens. During a treatment process, foreigners also hold the right to confidentiality regarding the patient’s personal information and health conditions.
38. Are foreigners allowed to purchase medical drugs in a Chinese pharmacy?
Non-prescription drugs can be purchased at one’s request. In order to purchase prescription drugs, one must acquire a prescription from an approved Chinese doctor. However, certain drugs (e.g. radioactive, sedative, anesthetic and drugs for mental patients) will require appropriate documentation and medical records.
39. Are foreigners allowed to obtain and make duplicates of personal medical records?
Foreigners are allowed to make copies of medical records such as case histories, hospitalization diaries, temperature records, doctor recommendations, lab results, picture documentation, special examination agreements, operation agreements, operation records, anesthetization records, and any other document approved by the State Council Hygiene Department.
40. What kind of measures should be taken when a dispute takes place between patients and their medical institutes? Where should patients seek legal assistance?
Patients and medical institutes may resolve a civil dispute over medical malpractice outside of court. If both parties fail to come to an agreement, the patient can press charges against the institute. The civil lawsuit will be carried out in the People’s Court.
Part VII. Special Notices
41. Should foreigners carry identification at all times?
Foreigners should carry identification at all times. On-duty police officers above county level are allowed to inspect foreigner documentation.
42. Are foreigners allowed to display banners and signs during cultural and sporting events?
prohibits foreigners from setting up banners and signs containing profanity and politically sensitive material, including racial and religious.
43. What kind of acts are defined as public disruption, pertaining to cultural and sporting events that contain large numbers of people?
-Forced entry onto a premise
-Use of fireworks
-Displaying banners containing profanity and hateful messages
-Assaulting referees, athletes, and working personnel
-Throwing objects in the stadium and demonstrating resistance to order
-Any other activities that will disrupt large public activities
44. What happens is property is lost?
You should report the loss immediately to the nearest police station (to the site of the loss) and obtain a document proving the loss, which will then be turned to the dispatch center with jurisdiction or local Public Safety Department (Entry/Exit Division) for follow up.
45. How will public drunkenness be treated?
If the inebriated person presents a danger to him or herself, or others in public, local Public Safety department should be contacted immediately. Public Safety will then take protective measures and monitor the person until he or she reaches sobriety.
46. What are the laws against the possession, use, and trafficking of drugs?
By law, narcotics may be defined as a sedative or hallucinogenic drugs, including opium, heroin, methamphetamine (aka "ice"), cannabis, morphine, cocaine, or any potentially addictive substance.
prohibits the smuggling, transportation, manufacture, illegal possession, and use of drugs, as well as forced use upon others.
47. Are you allowed to bear arms?
Weapons such as guns, knives, cross-bows, and ammunition are prohibited by the Chinese government. Those who are found with weapons stated above will receive administrative punishment and may face criminal charges. .
48. What are the regulations against public obscenity?
prohibits shows, prostitution and any kind of service relevant to adultery. The law also prohibits the distribution of obscene messages and media, as well as group acts of obscenity.
49. Are you allowed to set up and utilize wireless networks (e.g. radio stations)?
To set up or use wireless networks, by an organization or individual, you must make a written application and complete all processes to obtain a license. If during your use of a wireless network, you interfere with the normal operation of established wireless networks, the relevant authority has the right to stop your operation.
50. Are foreigners allowed to assemble, demonstrate or protest?
To hold an assembly, demonstrate or protest, foreigners must legally apply to the Public Security Bureau; without permission they cannot hold any related activities. To instigate or plan illegal assemblies, demonstrations or protests is not encouraged and will, by law, result in administrative punishment or investigation into criminal responsibility.
51. What provisions does
have against offenses directed against the national flag and national emblem?
To deliberately burn, damage, smear, defile, trample, etc. the Chinese flag or national emblem, in an offensive manner and in public, will according to law lead to an investigation into criminal responsibility.