China: Relaxed measures for inbound China travelers announced

In brief

Following recent developments in the global COVID-19 pandemic situation and based on the specific characteristics of the Omicron variant, Chinese Embassies and Consulates have recently adjusted the requirements for pre-travel testing and HDC-Code applications. The new measures take effect from late May onwards. The overall measures greatly relax the requirements and procedures for HDC-Code applications of inbound China travelers, though the specific changes and effective date for such changes vary slightly by country and region.


The new measures unify the testing requirements for China-bound travellers from the same departure location, regardless of their vaccination status, i.e. whether the person is vaccinated, partially vaccinated or not vaccinated, and regardless of the type of vaccine. Below we summarize the basic testing requirements for HDC-Code applications and list the main changes to previous measures.

Basic New Testing Requirements

  • First nucleic acid test within 48 hours before boarding 
  • Second nucleic acid test within 24 hours before boarding 
  • Antigen test within 12 hours before boarding (applicable in certain locations only)

Main Changes

  • The requirement of a nucleic acid test seven days before boarding is cancelled. 
  • The requirement of an IgM antibody test for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated persons is cancelled.
  • Mandatory self-health monitoring requirements are either cancelled or the length of the self-health monitoring period is shortened (depending on location).
  • Imaging diagnosis of lung CT or X-ray is no longer required for those who have infection history (applicable in certain locations only).

In comparison with travel policies for inbound travellers to China over the last two years, the latest changes may facilitate inbound travel to Mainland China. Nevertheless, travellers who have an infection history, are close contacts of a person with COVID-19, and travellers with symptoms of COVID-19 will  have to go through additional hurdles.

In terms of epidemic prevention, unnecessary cross-border travel is still discouraged. To effectively manage the risk of epidemic infection at exit and entry, visa applications for inbound travelling foreign nationals and the issuance of passports and endorsement for outbound travelling PRC nationals are still restricted. Additionally, the post-arrival quarantine measures are still strictly implemented without exemptions.


* * * * *

Zora Mao is an associate of FenXun Partners who is a premier Chinese law firm. FenXun established a Joint Operation Office with Baker McKenzie in China as Baker McKenzie FenXun which was approved by the Shanghai Justice Bureau in 2015.

LOGO BM-FenXun bold-RGB (003)

Baker & McKenzie FenXun (FTZ) Joint Operation Office is a joint operation between Baker & McKenzie LLP, an Illinois limited liability partnership, and FenXun Partners, a Chinese law firm. The Joint Operation has been approved by the Shanghai Justice Bureau. In accordance with the common terminology used in professional service organisations, reference to a "partner" means a person who is a partner, or equivalent, in such a law firm. This may qualify as “Attorney Advertising” requiring notice in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

This client alert has been prepared for clients and professional associates of Baker & McKenzie FenXun (FTZ) Joint Operation Office. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, this client alert is not an exhaustive treatment of the area of law discussed and no responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of material in this presentation is accepted by Baker & McKenzie FenXun (FTZ) Joint Operation Office.

Contact Information

Copyright © 2023 Baker & McKenzie. All rights reserved. Ownership: This documentation and content (Content) is a proprietary resource owned exclusively by Baker McKenzie (meaning Baker & McKenzie International and its member firms). The Content is protected under international copyright conventions. Use of this Content does not of itself create a contractual relationship, nor any attorney/client relationship, between Baker McKenzie and any person. Non-reliance and exclusion: All Content is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal and regulatory developments. All summaries of the laws, regulations and practice are subject to change. The Content is not offered as legal or professional advice for any specific matter. It is not intended to be a substitute for reference to (and compliance with) the detailed provisions of applicable laws, rules, regulations or forms. Legal advice should always be sought before taking any action or refraining from taking any action based on any Content. Baker McKenzie and the editors and the contributing authors do not guarantee the accuracy of the Content and expressly disclaim any and all liability to any person in respect of the consequences of anything done or permitted to be done or omitted to be done wholly or partly in reliance upon the whole or any part of the Content. The Content may contain links to external websites and external websites may link to the Content. Baker McKenzie is not responsible for the content or operation of any such external sites and disclaims all liability, howsoever occurring, in respect of the content or operation of any such external websites. Attorney Advertising: This Content may qualify as “Attorney Advertising” requiring notice in some jurisdictions. To the extent that this Content may qualify as Attorney Advertising, PRIOR RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE A SIMILAR OUTCOME. Reproduction: Reproduction of reasonable portions of the Content is permitted provided that (i) such reproductions are made available free of charge and for non-commercial purposes, (ii) such reproductions are properly attributed to Baker McKenzie, (iii) the portion of the Content being reproduced is not altered or made available in a manner that modifies the Content or presents the Content being reproduced in a false light and (iv) notice is made to the disclaimers included on the Content. The permission to re-copy does not allow for incorporation of any substantial portion of the Content in any work or publication, whether in hard copy, electronic or any other form or for commercial purposes.