#travel to china
British nationals need a visa to enter mainland China, but not Hong Kong or Macao. For mainland China, you must get a visa prior to arrival, including for Hainan Island. For details of entry requirements to China contact the nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulate in good time before your proposed trip.
Check your visa validity carefully. Don’t overstay your visa or work illegally. The authorities conduct regular checks and you may be fined or detained for not complying with the conditions of your visa or work permit. If you remain in China longer than 6 months, you may need to get a Residence Permit.
Travelling to Hong Kong
If you visit Hong Kong from the mainland of China and wish to return to the mainland, you will need a visa that allows you to make a second entry into China.
If you hold a British Citizen passport and are transiting by air through Beijing Capital International airport, Shanghai (Pudong and Hongqiao), Chengdu, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Dalian,Shenyang or Kunming, and travelling on to a third country, you can enter China visa-free under a 72-hour visa waiver. You must remain in the city municipality (or within Guangdong province in the case of Guangzhou) and have evidence of your onward journey. Check with the Chinese Embassy in London or the Chinese visa application service centre for further information.
In all other circumstances, if your stopover requires you to leave the airport terminal you will need a transit visa for both the outward and return journeys. If you’re staying within the airport for up to 24 hours, you don’t need a transit visa.
Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months from the date of your visa application. If you have less than 6 months’ validity on your passport, but have a valid visa, you should be able to enter China for the duration of that visa.
The Chinese authorities have confirmed they will accept British passports extended by 12 months by British Embassies and Consulates under additional measures put in place in mid-2014.
Yellow Fever vaccination is required for travellers who are arriving from, or have transited through, countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from China. You may be required to show a police report indicating how you lost your full passport.
If your ETD has been issued in China, you will need an exit visa from the Public Security Bureau before you can travel out of China. This process can take up to 5 working days. The ETD can be used for a return journey back to China providing you have evidence of residence within China.
Registering with the Chinese authorities
You must register your place of residence with the local Public Security Bureau within 24 hours of arrival. Chinese authorities enforce this requirement with regular spot-checks of foreigners’ documentation. If you are staying in a hotel, registration is done on your behalf as part of the check-in process.
Stays of more than six months
If you are entering China for employment, study or private purposes for a stay of over six months, you must produce a health certificate, which includes a blood test for HIV, legalised by the Chinese Embassy.
Teaching in China can be a rewarding experience but it’s important that you research the school or university thoroughly before you travel. There have been increasing incidents of teachers being arrested and detained (which could lead to deportation) for working on the wrong visas. Some have also got into disputes with their employers, who have refused to pay their salaries.
You can help avoid this by making sure you (rather than an employment agency) research the institution and visa regulations properly before you leave the UK. It’s illegal to work in China on a tourist or business visit visa. If you intend to change employer in China you should check with the authorities whether a new visa is required.
Working in China
You should research your prospective employer before coming to China and get the correct visa to allow you to work legally. It’s illegal to work in China on a tourist or business visit visa. Contact the Chinese Embassy to check the documentation you will need. Violation of Chinese laws can result in severe penalties, including imprisonment, fines, deportation or a travel ban which prevents you from leaving China. A travel ban can be imposed for an indefinite period.