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Foreigners in 'necessary activities' can reapply for visas under new rules

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-04-01

China has taken measures to restrict the entry of foreigners to prevent the increased risk of imported novel coronavirus cases, but foreigners engaged in necessary activities in China can reapply for visas from Chinese embassies and consulates abroad, a senior official with the National Immigration Administration said. 

Under the current situation it is responsible and necessary to reduce unnecessary entry and exit activities as much as possible, and entry restriction is a temporary measure that has taken into consideration other countries' current moves, said Liu Haitao, director of the National Immigration Administration's border inspection department. 

As of Sunday, China has found 723 imported confirmed cases and 165 suspected cases. The imported cases accounted for the majority of new infections, according to the health authority's data. 

The suspended entry mainly includes foreigners with valid visas, residence permits and APEC business travel cards, he said, adding that port visa services also have been suspended. 

The grounded port visa services include 24-hour, 72-hour and 144-hour transit visa exemptions, Hainan province visa exemptions, Shanghai cruise ship visa exemptions, 144-hour visa exemptions for groups of foreigners entering South China's Guangdong province from Hong Kong and Macao, and visa exemptions for tourist groups from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to enter South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. 
Foreigners holding diplomatic, official and courtesy visas, as well as C-visas issued mainly to inbound and outbound transport staff, will not be affected by the restriction, Liu said. 

Foreigners who engaged in necessary activities such as trade, science and technology, and anti-epidemic work in China, as well as for urgent humanitarian reasons, can reapply for visas from Chinese embassies and consulates abroad. 

The administration will work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to determine visa entry policy according to the development of the epidemic situation; any policy adjustment will be announced in a timely manner, he added. 

It is illegal to violate quarantine regulations and enter or leave the country without authorization, and violators will be held accountable, a senior official said on Monday. 

Liu also noted that it is illegal to violate quarantine regulations and enter or leave the country without authorization. 

Mainland citizens who enter the country within 14 days shall be prevented from leaving the country again by the border inspection personnel, he said. 

Foreigners in China who are still in 14-day quarantine period but are found trying to breach the isolation rule and leave the country without permission will be handed over to the competent authorities, according to law, and will be prohibited from re-entering China within a certain period, he added.