Obtain a visa prior to arrival and have a passport with at least six months' validity remaining. The lack of either will result in a fine and immediate deportation.
Apply for a ten-year multiple entry visa, useful for repeated travel or trips to Hong Kong or Macau with returns to China.
You must have a valid visa to exit China and you must leave China before the expiration of the listed duration of stay.
Lack of a visa, having an expired visa or overstaying your visa can result in detention and fines.
Apply for a visa extension from the Entry/Exit Bureau before attempting to leave the country. Do not expect your request to be expedited, so apply ahead of time.
Visit the website of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China for current visa information.
The Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), requires special permits for tourist travel, most often obtained through a Chinese travel agent. If you do enter a restricted area without the requisite permit, you could be fined, taken into custody, and deported for illegal entry. To learn more about specific entry requirements for Tibet or other restricted areas, check with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of China.
When transiting certain international airports, you may stay in mainland China without a Chinese visa.
The duration of allowed stay and how broadly you may travel varies by region.
Transiting without a visa requires a valid passport, a visa for your onward destination (if necessary), and an onward ticket from the same location.
You must inform your airline upon check-in, and get an endorsement stamp at the immigration desk before leaving the airport.
Consult the Chinese Embassy/consulate for a current list of eligible airports and more detailed guidance.
During Your Stay
Failure to register with the police within 24 hours of arrival in the country could result in fines and deportation. You can register with hotel staff or the local police station.
Carry your valid U.S. passport and Chinese visa or residence permit at all times.
Entry and exit requirements are strictly enforced, as are restrictions on activities allowed by any particular visa class.
Police, school administrators, transportation officials, and hotel staff may check your visa to make sure you have not overstayed. If you overstay your visa’s duration of stay, you may be denied service by hotels, airports and train stations, be charged a RMB 500 fine per day up to a maximum of RMB 10,000, and face possible detention.
If you encounter problems in Tibet, the U.S. government has limited ability to provide assistance, as the Chinese government does not usually authorize U.S. government personnel to travel there, even to provide consular assistance to U.S. citizens.
Dual Nationality: China does not recognize dual nationality. If you are a dual national of the United States and China, the Chinese government will usually not permit the U.S. Embassy to provide consular assistance to you unless you entered China on a U.S. passport with a valid Chinese visa. Regardless of your travel documents, if you are a dual national, or otherwise have ethnic or historical ties to China, it is possible that Chinese authorities will assert that you are a Chinese citizen and deny your access to U.S. consular representatives if you are detained.
If you are a naturalized U.S. citizen or have a possible claim to Chinese citizenship, and you are traveling to China, you should ensure that you are well informed about Chinese law and practices relating to determination and loss of Chinese citizenship, including the possible need to formally renounce Chinese citizenship, cancel a household register (“hukou”), etc. Chinese authorities generally consider a child born in China to at least one Chinese parent to be a Chinese citizen, even if the child was issued a U.S. passport at the time of birth. If you have or had a claim to Chinese citizenship and your child is born in China, prior to departing China with your child, you should contact the local Public Security Bureau and/or Entry-Exit Bureau for information on obtaining a travel document.
Information about dual nationality can be found on our website. Contact the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China for specific information on China’s immigration and nationality laws.