Caution October 19, 2023

Worldwide caution, update january 10, 2024, information for u.s. citizens in the middle east.

  • Travel Advisories |
  • Contact Us |
  • MyTravelGov |

Find U.S. Embassies & Consulates

Travel.state.gov, congressional liaison, special issuance agency, u.s. passports, international travel, intercountry adoption, international parental child abduction, records and authentications, popular links, travel advisories, mytravelgov, stay connected, legal resources, legal information, info for u.s. law enforcement, replace or certify documents.

Share this page:

Learn about your destination

Take 90 seconds for safer travel.

Travel Advisory Levels

Enroll in step.

Enroll in STEP

Subscribe to get up-to-date safety and security information and help us reach you in an emergency abroad.

Recommended Web Browsers: Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome.

External Link

You are about to leave travel.state.gov for an external website that is not maintained by the U.S. Department of State.

Links to external websites are provided as a convenience and should not be construed as an endorsement by the U.S. Department of State of the views or products contained therein. If you wish to remain on travel.state.gov, click the "cancel" message.

You are about to visit:

  • Election 2024
  • Entertainment
  • Photography
  • Press Releases
  • Israel-Hamas War
  • Russia-Ukraine War
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Asia Pacific
  • AP Top 25 College Football Poll
  • Movie reviews
  • Book reviews
  • Financial Markets
  • Business Highlights
  • Financial wellness
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Social Media

US recommends Americans reconsider traveling to China due to arbitrary law enforcement and exit bans

Travelers walk along a concourse at Beijing West Railway Station in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Travelers walk along a concourse at Beijing West Railway Station in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

  • Copy Link copied

BEIJING (AP) — The U.S. recommended Americans reconsider traveling to China because of arbitrary law enforcement and exit bans and the risk of wrongful detentions.

No specific cases were cited, but the advisory came after a 78-year-old U.S. citizen was sentenced to life in prison on spying charges in May.

It also followed the passage last week of a sweeping Foreign Relations Law that threatens countermeasures against those seen as harming China’s interests.

China also recently passed a broadly written counterespionage law that has sent a chill through the foreign business community, with offices being raided, as well as a law to sanction foreign critics.

“The People’s Republic of China (PRC) government arbitrarily enforces local laws, including issuing exit bans on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries, without fair and transparent process under the law,” the U.S. advisory said.

“U.S. citizens traveling or residing in the PRC may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime,” it warned.

FILE - A vendor sets up foods and beverages at a booth displaying China and American flags during a Spring Carnival in Beijing, on May 13, 2023. China sentenced a 78-year-old United States citizen to life in prison Monday May 15, 2023 on spying charges, in a case that could exacerbate the deterioration in ties between Beijing and Washington over recent years. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

The advisory also said that Chinese authorities “appear to have broad discretion to deem a wide range of documents, data, statistics, or materials as state secrets and to detain and prosecute foreign nationals for alleged espionage.”

It listed a wide range of potential offenses from taking part in demonstrations to sending electronic messages critical of Chinese policies or even simply conducting research into areas deemed sensitive.

Exit bans could be used to compel individuals to participate in Chinese government investigations, pressure family members to return from abroad, resolve civil disputes in favor of Chinese citizens and “gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments,” the advisory said.

Similar advisories were issued for the semi-autonomous Chinese regions of Hong Kong and Macao. They were dated Friday and emailed to journalists on Monday.

The U.S. had issued similar advisories to its citizens in the past, but those in recent years had mainly warned of the dangers of being caught in strict and lengthy lockdowns while China closed its borders for three years under its draconian “zero-COVID” policy.

China generally responds angrily to what it considers U.S. efforts to impugn its authoritarian Communist Party-led system. It has issued its own travel advisories concerning the U.S., warning of the dangers of crime, anti-Asian discrimination and the high cost of emergency medical assistance.

China had no immediate response to the travel advisory on Monday.

Details of the accusations against the accused spy John Shing-Wan Leung are not available, given China’s authoritarian political system and the ruling Communist Party’s absolute control over legal matters. Leung, who also holds permanent residency in Hong Kong, was detained in the southeastern city of Suzhou on April 15, 2021 — a time when China had closed its borders and tightly restricted movement of people domestically to control the spread of COVID-19.

The warnings come as U.S.-China relations are at their lowest in years , over trade, technology, Taiwan and human rights, although the sides are taking some steps to improve the situation. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a long-delayed visit to Beijing last week and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is making a much-anticipated trip to Beijing this week. China also recently appointed a new ambassador to Washington, who presented his credentials in a meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House.

Other incidents, however, have also pointed to the testiness in the relationship. China formally protested last month after Biden called Chinese leader Xi Jinping a “dictator,” days after Blinken’s visit.

Biden brushed off the protest, saying his words would have no negative impact on U.S.-China relations and that he still expects to meet with Xi sometime soon. Biden has also drawn rebukes from Beijing by explicitly saying the U.S. would defend self-governing Taiwan if China, which claims the island as its own territory, were to attack it.

Biden said his blunt statements regarding China are “just not something I’m going to change very much.”

The administration is also under pressure from both parties to take a tough line on China, making it one of the few issues on which most Democrats and Republicans agree.

Along with several detained Americans, Two Chinese-Australians, Cheng Lei, who formerly worked for China’s state broadcaster, and writer Yang Jun, have been held since 2020 and 2019 respectively without word on their sentencing.

Perhaps the most notorious case of arbitrary detention involved two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were detained in China in 2018, shortly after Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, Huawei Technologies’ chief financial officer and the daughter of the tech powerhouse’s founder, on a U.S. extradition request.

They were charged with national security crimes that were never explained and released three years later after the U.S. settled fraud charges against Meng. Many countries labeled China’s action “hostage politics.”

us travel advisory for china

Everything you need to know about traveling to China

China is finally reopening to foreign tourists after ending its ‘zero covid’ policies.

us travel advisory for china

Three years after shutting down to outsiders, China is finally beginning to issue visas to foreign tourists.

As of March 15 , the country will begin issuing all categories of visas, including those for tourism. China will allow visa-free entry to areas such as the island of Hainan and for cruise ships visiting Shanghai. Multiyear, multiple-entry visas issued before March 28, 2020, will be accepted by Chinese visa authorities as long as they’re still valid.

The country dropped its severe mandatory quarantine on arrival on Jan. 8 , and now only requires travelers to show negative results from a coronavirus test (PCR or rapid, depending on their country of origin) taken within 48 hours of departure.

It’s an exciting move for many American travelers.

“As soon as China relaxed its covid restrictions and started allowing their own citizens to travel, we had a huge influx of people wanting to start planning their trip,” John Rose, chief risk and security officer of the travel agency Altour , said in January.

Angela Hughes, owner of Trips & Ships Luxury Travel , has seen similar interest from clients, and is anticipating the country to become a “sizzling hot” destination once the doors fully open.

If you’re considering planning a trip to China, here’s what you need to know before you go.

The top travel destinations for 2023, according to experts

When can you start planning a trip to China?

Travelers interested in visiting China may apply for entry visas and start planning trips now.

Tourism experts started getting trips on the schedule even before the return of China’s tourist visas. The small-group tour company Intrepid Travel plans to host its first trip in mainland China since January 2020 by June. The company’s partners on the ground in China are actively preparing for the return of tourism, says Natalie Kidd, Intrepid’s Asia division managing director.

How to get refunds if your flight is canceled

Going as soon as China allows won’t be for everybody. Hughes says first-time visitors, families or more risk-averse travelers may want to wait until 2024, when the situation becomes more stable. More adventurous travelers are another story. “I’m definitely going to go right when it opens,” Hughes said in January.

Although China is open for tourism, Catherine Heald, CEO of the luxury travel company Remote Lands , is bracing for more complications.

Citing concerns like limited international commercial flights into China and remaining pandemic restrictions, “we think it will be a slower process than what we witnessed in Japan, Thailand and other parts of Asia,” she said in an email.

What to know about coronavirus protocols in China

With the end of its “zero covid” strategy, China has dropped significant measures like its frequent coronavirus testing and digital health codes for locals, or presenting negative covid tests or health certificates to travel within the country. China is also easing restrictions on the number of flights allowed in.

However, the U.S. Embassy in China warns the country’s policies are subject to change at any time.

For now, the main pandemic restriction in place is for travelers. According to a March 14 news conference from China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin, China has begun accepting negative results from rapid tests (depending on your country of origin — at this time, Americans should default to PCR testing ). Tests must be taken within 48 hours of departure to China. Kidd says masks are still recommended in China, but not mandated in public areas (except for places like hospitals and clinics) and no quarantines or isolation are required if someone does get covid-19.

This airline booking hack is dividing the internet

What are the risks of visiting as soon as possible?

As of March, the U.S. State Department has a Level 3: Reconsider Travel advisory for China (along with Hong Kong and Macao) due to the “arbitrary enforcement of local laws,” its website reads . Travelers considering a trip to China should refer to the State Department’s entire travel information page for updates on travel advisories and country information.

Neil Slabbert, World Travel Protection ’s chief medical officer for the Asia-Pacific region, says travelers need to be aware of the potential of lockdowns by local authorities that can make accessing health care difficult. There were also reports last spring of parents and children being separated if one or the other tested positive for covid. Travelers should prepare accordingly, and have emergency plans in place (like where they’ll get food, water and medicine) in case of lockdowns or infection.

Rose says those considering a trip should keep an eye on the information we have available at the time of booking, throughout your planning and just before you travel. Don’t forget what reopening looked like for other regions in 2021 and 2022. Countries implemented and removed restrictions “very, very quickly” in reaction to covid cases, and China may be no different.

Hughes says such risks make travel insurance a nonnegotiable for anyone going to China. “Every single person traveling internationally right now needs to have a complete policy above and beyond their credit card’s,” she said, recommending the companies she uses, Allianz and AIG .

What I learned on a two-week trip to Vietnam and Cambodia

What travel will be like once you get there

Like every place in the infancy of its pandemic reopening, China won’t be back to “normal” for the first returning travelers.

Kidd says China is still the same amazing destination with iconic sites and fantastic food, but tourism won’t immediately be the well-oiled machine it once was. Intrepid’s vendors have noted that, as in the rest of the world, many people left China’s tourism industry, and there will be lot of new people entering the field as businesses staff up again.

“We’re having the dialogue that we had two years ago when Europe opened up now with China,” Hughes said.

No matter the method, Kidd says there’s one big perk of returning early: being able to see the country’s highlights with fewer visitors.

More spring travel tips

Trends: Cheaper spring break | Cool all-inclusives | Let ChatGPT plan your day | Is it safe to go to Mexico? | Book a free night in Sicily

The basics: Tip without cash | Traveling with kids | Decide where to stay | A pre-trip checklist of house chores | How to get your passport | Plan a ski trip | Eat without feeling terrible | Budget for your next trip | Plan a cheaper Disney trip

Flying: Fly like a decent human being | How to set airfare price alerts | Flying with an injury | PreCheck vs. Global Entry vs. CLEAR | Can I fly with weed? | AirTag your luggage | Airport parking 101 | Deal with airport crowds | Why Stalk airfare after booking

Driving: 9 tips for road tripping with a baby | Try the Airbnb of rental cars | Rent an EV | Do I need an international license to drive abroad? | Avoid big rental car fees

Greener travel: Bike to the airport | How environmentalists travel | How to find ‘greener’ flights | Make your travel better for the planet

Pets: How to travel with pets | Why the pet fee? | Pet flying 101 | Alternatives to flying with your pet

In case of emergency: Manage airport disasters | Your flight is canceled | How to get a human on the phone | What to do if your car gets stuck | Find your lost luggage | How to get a refund for a canceled flight | Deal with a bad hotel room | When you’re bumped off your flight | If you get rebooked without your family | What are my rebooking rights? | Recover a lost item at TSA, the airport or your flight

You are using an outdated browser. Upgrade your browser today or install Google Chrome Frame to better experience this site.

China Traveler View

Travel health notices, vaccines and medicines, non-vaccine-preventable diseases, stay healthy and safe.

  • Packing List

After Your Trip

Map - China

There are no notices currently in effect for China.

⇧ Top

Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor at least a month before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need. If you or your doctor need help finding a location that provides certain vaccines or medicines, visit the Find a Clinic page.

Routine vaccines

Recommendations.

Make sure you are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before every trip. Some of these vaccines include

  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)

Immunization schedules

All eligible travelers should be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. Please see  Your COVID-19 Vaccination  for more information. 

COVID-19 vaccine

Hepatitis A

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers one year old or older going to China.

Infants 6 to 11 months old should also be vaccinated against Hepatitis A. The dose does not count toward the routine 2-dose series.

Travelers allergic to a vaccine component or who are younger than 6 months should receive a single dose of immune globulin, which provides effective protection for up to 2 months depending on dosage given.

Unvaccinated travelers who are over 40 years old, immunocompromised, or have chronic medical conditions planning to depart to a risk area in less than 2 weeks should get the initial dose of vaccine and at the same appointment receive immune globulin.

Hepatitis A - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep A

Hepatitis B

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers of all ages traveling to China.

Hepatitis B - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep B

Japanese Encephalitis

Recommended for travelers who

  • Are moving to an area with Japanese encephalitis to live
  • Spend long periods of time, such as a month or more, in areas with Japanese encephalitis
  • Frequently travel to areas with Japanese encephalitis

Consider vaccination for travelers

  • Spending less than a month in areas with Japanese encephalitis but will be doing activities that increase risk of infection, such as visiting rural areas, hiking or camping, or staying in places without air conditioning, screens, or bed nets
  • Going to areas with Japanese encephalitis who are uncertain of their activities or how long they will be there

Not recommended for travelers planning short-term travel to urban areas or travel to areas with no clear Japanese encephalitis season. 

Japanese encephalitis - CDC Yellow Book

Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine for US Children

Infants 6 to 11 months old traveling internationally should get 1 dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before travel. This dose does not count as part of the routine childhood vaccination series.

Measles (Rubeola) - CDC Yellow Book

Rabid dogs are commonly found in China. However, if you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other mammal while in China, rabies treatment is often available. 

Consider rabies vaccination before your trip if your activities mean you will be around dogs or wildlife.

Travelers more likely to encounter rabid animals include

  • Campers, adventure travelers, or cave explorers (spelunkers)
  • Veterinarians, animal handlers, field biologists, or laboratory workers handling animal specimens
  • Visitors to rural areas

Since children are more likely to be bitten or scratched by a dog or other animals, consider rabies vaccination for children traveling to China. 

Rabies - CDC Yellow Book

Tick-borne Encephalitis

For travelers moving or traveling to TBE-endemic areas

TBE vaccine is recommended for persons who will have extensive exposure to ticks based on their planned outdoor activities and itinerary.

TBE vaccine may be considered for persons who might engage in outdoor activities in areas ticks are likely to be found. 

Tick-borne Encephalitis - CDC Yellow Book

Recommended for most travelers, especially those staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas.

Typhoid - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Typhoid

Yellow Fever

Required for travelers ≥9 months old arriving from countries with risk for YF virus transmission; this includes >12-hour airport transits or layovers in countries with risk for YF virus transmission. 1 Travelers with itineraries limited to Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) or Macao SAR are exempt from this requirement.

Yellow Fever - CDC Yellow Book

  • Avoid contaminated water

Leptospirosis

How most people get sick (most common modes of transmission)

  • Touching urine or other body fluids from an animal infected with leptospirosis
  • Swimming or wading in urine-contaminated fresh water, or contact with urine-contaminated mud
  • Drinking water or eating food contaminated with animal urine
  • Avoid contaminated water and soil

Clinical Guidance

Schistosomiasis

  • Wading, swimming, bathing, or washing in contaminated freshwater streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, or untreated pools.

Avoid bug bites

Chikungunya

  • Mosquito bite
  • Avoid Bug Bites

Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic fever

  • Tick bite 
  • Touching the body fluids of a person or animal infected with CCHF
  • Mosquito bite

Leishmaniasis

  • Sand fly bite

Airborne & droplet

Avian/bird flu.

  • Being around, touching, or working with infected poultry, such as visiting poultry farms or live-animal markets
  • Avoid domestic and wild poultry
  • Breathing in air or accidentally eating food contaminated with the urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents
  • Bite from an infected rodent
  • Less commonly, being around someone sick with hantavirus (only occurs with Andes virus)
  • Avoid rodents and areas where they live
  • Avoid sick people

Tuberculosis (TB)

  • Breathe in TB bacteria that is in the air from an infected and contagious person coughing, speaking, or singing.

Learn actions you can take to stay healthy and safe on your trip. Vaccines cannot protect you from many diseases in China, so your behaviors are important.

Eat and drink safely

Food and water standards around the world vary based on the destination. Standards may also differ within a country and risk may change depending on activity type (e.g., hiking versus business trip). You can learn more about safe food and drink choices when traveling by accessing the resources below.

  • Choose Safe Food and Drinks When Traveling
  • Water Treatment Options When Hiking, Camping or Traveling
  • Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene | Healthy Water
  • Avoid Contaminated Water During Travel

You can also visit the Department of State Country Information Pages for additional information about food and water safety.

Tap water is not drinkable in China, even in major cities. Bottled water is easily available.

Prevent bug bites

Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in China. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. You can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.

What can I do to prevent bug bites?

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
  • Use an appropriate insect repellent (see below).
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
  • Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms.
  • Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.

What type of insect repellent should I use?

  • FOR PROTECTION AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES: Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours.
  • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  • 2-undecanone
  • Always use insect repellent as directed.

What should I do if I am bitten by bugs?

  • Avoid scratching bug bites, and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce the itching.
  • Check your entire body for ticks after outdoor activity. Be sure to remove ticks properly.

What can I do to avoid bed bugs?

Although bed bugs do not carry disease, they are an annoyance. See our information page about avoiding bug bites for some easy tips to avoid them. For more information on bed bugs, see Bed Bugs .

For more detailed information on avoiding bug bites, see Avoid Bug Bites .

Some diseases in China—such as dengue and leishmaniasis—are spread by bugs and cannot be prevented with a vaccine. Follow the insect avoidance measures described above to prevent these and other illnesses.

Stay safe outdoors

If your travel plans in China include outdoor activities, take these steps to stay safe and healthy during your trip.

  • Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
  • Prepare for activities by wearing the right clothes and packing protective items, such as bug spray, sunscreen, and a basic first aid kit.
  • Consider learning basic first aid and CPR before travel. Bring a travel health kit with items appropriate for your activities.
  • If you are outside for many hours in heat, eat salty snacks and drink water to stay hydrated and replace salt lost through sweating.
  • Protect yourself from UV radiation : use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during the hottest time of day (10 a.m.–4 p.m.).
  • Be especially careful during summer months and at high elevation. Because sunlight reflects off snow, sand, and water, sun exposure may be increased during activities like skiing, swimming, and sailing.
  • Very cold temperatures can be dangerous. Dress in layers and cover heads, hands, and feet properly if you are visiting a cold location.

Stay safe around water

  • Swim only in designated swimming areas. Obey lifeguards and warning flags on beaches.
  • Practice safe boating—follow all boating safety laws, do not drink alcohol if driving a boat, and always wear a life jacket.
  • Do not dive into shallow water.
  • Do not swim in freshwater in developing areas or where sanitation is poor.
  • Avoid swallowing water when swimming. Untreated water can carry germs that make you sick.
  • To prevent infections, wear shoes on beaches where there may be animal waste.

Schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection that can be spread in fresh water, is found in China. Avoid swimming in fresh, unchlorinated water, such as lakes, ponds, or rivers.

Keep away from animals

Most animals avoid people, but they may attack if they feel threatened, are protecting their young or territory, or if they are injured or ill. Animal bites and scratches can lead to serious diseases such as rabies.

Follow these tips to protect yourself:

  • Do not touch or feed any animals you do not know.
  • Do not allow animals to lick open wounds, and do not get animal saliva in your eyes or mouth.
  • Avoid rodents and their urine and feces.
  • Traveling pets should be supervised closely and not allowed to come in contact with local animals.
  • If you wake in a room with a bat, seek medical care immediately. Bat bites may be hard to see.

All animals can pose a threat, but be extra careful around dogs, bats, monkeys, sea animals such as jellyfish, and snakes. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately:

  • Wash the wound with soap and clean water.
  • Go to a doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor about your injury when you get back to the United States.

Consider buying medical evacuation insurance. Rabies is a deadly disease that must be treated quickly, and treatment may not be available in some countries.

Reduce your exposure to germs

Follow these tips to avoid getting sick or spreading illness to others while traveling:

  • Wash your hands often, especially before eating.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, clean hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Try to avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home or in your hotel room, unless you need medical care.

Avoid sharing body fluids

Diseases can be spread through body fluids, such as saliva, blood, vomit, and semen.

Protect yourself:

  • Use latex condoms correctly.
  • Do not inject drugs.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. People take more risks when intoxicated.
  • Do not share needles or any devices that can break the skin. That includes needles for tattoos, piercings, and acupuncture.
  • If you receive medical or dental care, make sure the equipment is disinfected or sanitized.

Know how to get medical care while traveling

Plan for how you will get health care during your trip, should the need arise:

  • Carry a list of local doctors and hospitals at your destination.
  • Review your health insurance plan to determine what medical services it would cover during your trip. Consider purchasing travel health and medical evacuation insurance.
  • Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medications you take.
  • Some prescription drugs may be illegal in other countries. Call China’s embassy to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you.
  • Bring all the medicines (including over-the-counter medicines) you think you might need during your trip, including extra in case of travel delays. Ask your doctor to help you get prescriptions filled early if you need to.

Many foreign hospitals and clinics are accredited by the Joint Commission International. A list of accredited facilities is available at their website ( www.jointcommissioninternational.org ).

In some countries, medicine (prescription and over-the-counter) may be substandard or counterfeit. Bring the medicines you will need from the United States to avoid having to buy them at your destination.

Malaria is a risk in some parts of China. If you are going to a risk area, fill your malaria prescription before you leave, and take enough with you for the entire length of your trip. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking the pills; some need to be started before you leave.

Select safe transportation

Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.

In many places cars, buses, large trucks, rickshaws, bikes, people on foot, and even animals share the same lanes of traffic, increasing the risk for crashes.

Be smart when you are traveling on foot.

  • Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks.
  • Pay attention to the traffic around you, especially in crowded areas.
  • Remember, people on foot do not always have the right of way in other countries.

Riding/Driving

Choose a safe vehicle.

  • Choose official taxis or public transportation, such as trains and buses.
  • Ride only in cars that have seatbelts.
  • Avoid overcrowded, overloaded, top-heavy buses and minivans.
  • Avoid riding on motorcycles or motorbikes, especially motorbike taxis. (Many crashes are caused by inexperienced motorbike drivers.)
  • Choose newer vehicles—they may have more safety features, such as airbags, and be more reliable.
  • Choose larger vehicles, which may provide more protection in crashes.

Think about the driver.

  • Do not drive after drinking alcohol or ride with someone who has been drinking.
  • Consider hiring a licensed, trained driver familiar with the area.
  • Arrange payment before departing.

Follow basic safety tips.

  • Wear a seatbelt at all times.
  • Sit in the back seat of cars and taxis.
  • When on motorbikes or bicycles, always wear a helmet. (Bring a helmet from home, if needed.)
  • Avoid driving at night; street lighting in certain parts of China may be poor.
  • Do not use a cell phone or text while driving (illegal in many countries).
  • Travel during daylight hours only, especially in rural areas.
  • If you choose to drive a vehicle in China, learn the local traffic laws and have the proper paperwork.
  • Get any driving permits and insurance you may need. Get an International Driving Permit (IDP). Carry the IDP and a US-issued driver's license at all times.
  • Check with your auto insurance policy's international coverage, and get more coverage if needed. Make sure you have liability insurance.
  • Avoid using local, unscheduled aircraft.
  • If possible, fly on larger planes (more than 30 seats); larger airplanes are more likely to have regular safety inspections.
  • Try to schedule flights during daylight hours and in good weather.

Medical Evacuation Insurance

If you are seriously injured, emergency care may not be available or may not meet US standards. Trauma care centers are uncommon outside urban areas. Having medical evacuation insurance can be helpful for these reasons.

Helpful Resources

Road Safety Overseas (Information from the US Department of State): Includes tips on driving in other countries, International Driving Permits, auto insurance, and other resources.

The Association for International Road Travel has country-specific Road Travel Reports available for most countries for a minimal fee.

For information traffic safety and road conditions in China, see Travel and Transportation on US Department of State's country-specific information for China .

Maintain personal security

Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home, and always stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

Before you leave

  • Research your destination(s), including local laws, customs, and culture.
  • Monitor travel advisories and alerts and read travel tips from the US Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) .
  • Leave a copy of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home.
  • Pack as light as possible, and leave at home any item you could not replace.

While at your destination(s)

  • Carry contact information for the nearest US embassy or consulate .
  • Carry a photocopy of your passport and entry stamp; leave the actual passport securely in your hotel.
  • Follow all local laws and social customs.
  • Do not wear expensive clothing or jewelry.
  • Always keep hotel doors locked, and store valuables in secure areas.
  • If possible, choose hotel rooms between the 2nd and 6th floors.

To call for emergency services while in China, dial 999 (Beijing) or 120 (Shanghai) for an ambulance, 119 for the fire department, and 110 for the police. Write these numbers down to carry with you during your trip.

Learn as much as you can about China before you travel there. A good place to start is the country-specific information on China from the US Department of State.

Healthy Travel Packing List

Use the Healthy Travel Packing List for China for a list of health-related items to consider packing for your trip. Talk to your doctor about which items are most important for you.

Why does CDC recommend packing these health-related items?

It’s best to be prepared to prevent and treat common illnesses and injuries. Some supplies and medicines may be difficult to find at your destination, may have different names, or may have different ingredients than what you normally use.

If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, see Find a Clinic . Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. Also tell your doctor if you were bitten or scratched by an animal while traveling.

If your doctor prescribed antimalarial medicine for your trip, keep taking the rest of your pills after you return home. If you stop taking your medicine too soon, you could still get sick.

Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. If you become ill with a fever either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to 1 year), you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell the doctor about your travel history.

For more information on what to do if you are sick after your trip, see Getting Sick after Travel .

Map Disclaimer - The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on maps do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Approximate border lines for which there may not yet be full agreement are generally marked.

Other Destinations

If you need help finding travel information:

Message & data rates may apply. CDC Privacy Policy

File Formats Help:

  • Adobe PDF file
  • Microsoft PowerPoint file
  • Microsoft Word file
  • Microsoft Excel file
  • Audio/Video file
  • Apple Quicktime file
  • RealPlayer file
  • Zip Archive file

Exit Notification / Disclaimer Policy

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cannot attest to the accuracy of a non-federal website.
  • Linking to a non-federal website does not constitute an endorsement by CDC or any of its employees of the sponsors or the information and products presented on the website.
  • You will be subject to the destination website's privacy policy when you follow the link.
  • CDC is not responsible for Section 508 compliance (accessibility) on other federal or private website.

China Travel Restrictions & Travel Advisory (Updated January 18, 2024)

China Travel Restrictions & Travel Advisory (Updated January 18, 2024)

Updates January 18 :  Travelers from Switzerland and Ireland can enjoy a 15-day visa-free entry to China  for tourism, business, transit, and visiting friends and relatives in China.

From December 1st, 2023 to November 30th, 2024, travelers from France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia can enjoy a 15-day visa-free entry to China for tourism, business, transit, and visiting friends and relatives in China.

Starting from August 30, all travelers entering China will no longer need to undergo any COVID-19 testing. It means the entry process goes back the same as before the pandemic.

Starting from July 26, Singaporean & Bruneian citizens holding ordinary passports can enjoy a 15-day visa-free policy for visiting China for business, tourism, family visits, and transit purposes.

From March 15, anyone with a valid Chinese visa (including visas applied for before March 28, 2020, like a China tourist visa) can enter China without needing to apply for a new one.

All types of visa applications have also been resumed like tourist visas (L visas), and visa-free policies have been reinstated.

If you want to arrange a private tour, even tentatively, simply contact us . You'll receive a 100% refund of any payments made to China Highlights if you cancel up to three weeks before departure. ( More details⇒ )

International travelers bound for Hong Kong will no longer need to take pre-flight COVID-19 tests (no PCR test, no RAT test) from April 1.

Content Preview

  • What Ways to Enter China
  • Do I Still Need a PCR Test to Enter China
  • Hong Kong/Macau Travel Restriction

International Flights to China

What to expect when traveling in china, best times to travel to china, 8 ways to enter china: all open now.

Since China has fully permitted visa applications, there are now several ways to enter the country.

If you still hold a valid Chinese visa (any type including a tourist visa, 10-year visa, etc.), you can use it to enter China.

If you don't have a Chinese visa or your visa has expired, you can apply for a new one. All visas can now be applied for, including tourist visas, business visas, work visas, and so on. (International visitors can apply for a tourist visa to the Chinese Mainland in Hong Kong.)

For the documents required for a visa application, you can refer to the information given by a Chinese embassy/consulate . Please submit your application at least two months in advance.

To apply for a tourist visa (L visa), you will be asked to provide an invitation letter issued by a Chinese travel agency or individual or round-trip air tickets and hotel bookings.

When booking a private tour with us, we can provide you with an invitation letter, which is one more thing we do to make your travel more convenient, giving you more flexibility with your air tickets and hotel bookings.

Now it is very easy to apply for a visa . You can easily apply by yourself without an intermediary. The following is how one of our clients successfully applied for a Chinese tourist visa:

  • First, fill out the form at the China Online Visa Application website ;
  • Second, make an appointment on this website to submit your visa materials on Appointment for Visa Application Submission website ;
  • Third, take the required documents to the embassy to submit;
  • Finally, you will get a return receipt if your documents are qualified.

Usually, you will get your visa after 7 working days. The application fee is about USD185 for US citizens.

Q: What if my passport expires but my visa doesn't?

A: You can travel to China on the expired passport containing valid Chinese visa in combination with the new passport, provided that the identity information (name, date of birth, gender, nationality) on both passport identical.

If there is a change to any of the above details, you must apply for a new visa.

2. 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit Policy

If you do not apply for a Chinese visa, you may still have the opportunity to visit these areas of China visa free: the Shanghai area (including Suzhou, Hangzhou, etc.), the Beijing area (with Tianjin and Hebei), the Guangzhou area (Shenzhen, Zhuhai, etc.), and more. Take advantage of the 6-day visa-free entitlements.

Find out if you could use the 144-hour visa-free transit policy with our information on China's 144-hour Visa-Free Policy (Eligible Entry/Exit Ports, Applicable Countries, Documents to be Prepared...)

You can also obtain entry and exit control policies through the 24-hour hotline of the National Immigration Administration:

  • Beijing: 0086 (+86)-10-12367
  • Shanghai: 0086 (+86)-21-12367
  • Guangzhou: 0086 (+86)-20-12367

Quick Test: Will My Route Qualify for China 72/144-Hour Visa-Free Transit?

1. I will depart from (only applies to direct or connected flight):

2. I will arrive in China at [city], [airport / railway station / port].

3. My arrival date is...

4. I will leave for [country/region] from China (the bounding destination on the air ticket):

5. My departure date is...

6. My nationality is...

8. I have Chinese visa refusal stamps in my passport.

You qualify to enjoy China's 72-hour visa-free policy.

You qualify to enjoy China's 144-hour visa-free policy.

You don't qualify to enjoy China's 72-hour or 144-hour visa-free policy.

Reason you don't qualify:

  • You must be in transit to a third country or region.
  • You must leave the city area (prefecture or municipality) after the 72/144 hours (the 72/144-hour limit is calculated starting from 00:00 on the day after arrival, i.e. 24:00 on the arrival date).
  • Your passport must be valid for more than 3 months at the time of entry into China.
  • Your passport nationality is not eligible for the 72/144-hour visa exemption program.
  • You have Chinese visa refusal stamps in your passport.

3. Port Visas (Landing Visas)

If you don't have time to get a visa, or if you find it cumbersome to apply for a tourist visa, you could consider traveling to China through a port visa.

Port visas can be applied for a group at least including 2 people. You need to enter the country within 15 days after you get your entry permit. The port visa allows a stay period of 1 to 2 months.

Applicable ports include Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Xiamen, Guilin, Xi'an, Chengdu, etc.

Note: Tourists from America are not granted a port visa in Shanghai.

Book your China trip with us and we can help you apply for a port visa.

4. Visa Exemption for ASEAN Tour Groups to Guilin

In addition, tour groups from ASEAN member countries, including Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Myanmar, Brunei, and the Philippines, can visit Guilin for 144 hours without visas as long as they meet the visa-free transit policy requirements.

5. Shanghai Visa-Free Policy for Cruise Groups

Shanghai has a 15-day visa-free policy for foreign tourist groups entering China via a cruise. You must arrive and depart on the same cruise and be received by a Chinese travel agent at the Shanghai Cruise Terminal (or Wusong Passenger Center).

6. Hainan Visa-Free Access

No visa is required for staying on Hainan Island for up to 30 days for ordinary passport holders from 59 countries. Groups and individual tourists must book a tour through an accredited travel agency.

Find out whether you qualify for the policy here .

7. Visa Exemption for the Pearl River Delta Area

International travelers from Hong Kong or Macau are able to visit the Pearl River Delta area (Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, etc.) visa-free as long as they go with a registered tour provider, such as us.

8. APEC Cards

If you hold a valid APEC business travel card, you can simply enter China with the card without applying for a visa.

Travelers who hold a valid APEC business travel card can stay in China for up to 60 days.

  • 4-Day Beijing Private Tour - Essence of Beijing
  • 11-Day Beijing–Xi'an–Guilin–Shanghai Tour - Classic Wonders
  • 13-Day Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, Shanghai Educational Family Vacation

Do I Still Need a PCR Test or Antigen Self-Test to Enter China

No. Starting from August 30, all travelers entering China will no longer need to undergo any COVID-19 testing. You do not need to submit any test results for COVID-19 before departure.

  • 8-Day Beijing–Xi'an–Shanghai Private Tour - China Golden Triangle
  • 13-Day Riches of China - Beijing – Xi'an – Guilin/Yangshuo – Hangzhou - Suzhou – Shanghai

Hong Kong / Macau Travel Restriction

Hong kong entry requirements.

Travelers from any region bound for Hong Kong will no longer need to take pre-flight COVID-19 tests (no PCR test, no RAT test) from April 1.

There is also no need for any tests when traveling from Hong Kong to the Chinese Mainland. Hong Kong could be a good gateway for your China trip. See suggestions on China Itineraries from Hong Kong (from 1 Week to 3 Weeks).

Direct high-speed trains from Guangzhou and Shenzhen to Hong Kong are available now. In preparation for the Canton Fair, it is expected that direct high-speed ferries will be launched from Guangzhou Pazhou Port to Hong Kong's airport in mid-April.

  • 10 Top China Tours from Hong Kong

Macau Entry Requirement

From August 30, travelers from any region bound for Macau will no longer need to take pre-flight COVID-19 tests (no PCR test, no RAT test).

There is also no need for any tests when traveling from Macau to the Chinese Mainland.

Inbound and outbound international flights in the week beginning March 6th rose by more than 350% compared with a year earlier, to nearly 2,500 flights, according to Chinese flight tracking data from APP Flight Master.

At present, there are one or two direct flights a week from New York to Shanghai, Los Angeles to Beijing, Seattle to Shanghai, London to Guangzhou, etc.

There are also many flight options with stopovers that are more frequent and affordable. Testing at transit airports is now not required!

The Coronavirus outbreak in China has subsided. China looks like it did in 2019 again. No special measures (like PCR tests or health codes) are required when traveling around China. All attractions are open as normal.

Wearing a mask is not mandatory when traveling. In hotels, masks are off for the most part. But in some crowded places, such as airports or subway stations, many people still wear masks.

Weather-wise, the best times to visit China are spring (April–May) and autumn (September–October), when most of the popular places have their most tourism-friendly weather, except for the "golden weeks" — the first week of May and of October — when most attractions are flooded with Chinese tourists.

If you are looking for smaller crowds, favorable prices, and still good weather, you should consider March and April or September.

Tourism in cultural and historical destinations like Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi'an is hardly affected by weather conditions. They are suitable to be visited all year round.

  • 11-Day Family Happiness - Beijing–Xi'an–Guilin/Yangshuo-Shanghai
  • 13-Day Private Tour: Beijing – Xi'an – Chengdu –Yangtze Cruise – Shanghai - China Essence and Panda Tour
  • More Chengdu and Panda tours

China Highlights, Asia Highlights , and Global Highlights collaborate to provide families and couples with personalized and stress-free experiences in diverse destinations.

Tour China with Us

We've been building our team for over 20 years. Even over the past three years we have continued, serving over 10,000 expats with China tours and getting a lot of praise (see TripAdvisor ).

We are based in China and can show you the characteristics and charm of China from a unique perspective. Just contact us to create your China trip .

Our consultants will listen to and answer your inquiries carefully and prepare the best plan for you.

  • 8-Day Beijing–Xi'an–Shanghai Highlights Tour — the classic Golden Triangle
  • 11-Day Beijing–Xi'an–Guilin–Shanghai — our top itinerary for families
  • 2-Week Beijing – Xi'an – Chengdu – Yangtze Cruise – Shanghai Tour — the best choice for panda fans

Private China Tours

  • 8-Day Beijing–Xi'an–Shanghai Private Tour
  • 2-Week China Essence and Panda Tour
  • 11-Day Family Happiness
  • 14-Day China Natural Wonders Discovery
  • 12-day Panda Keeper and Classic Wonders
  • 13-Day A Broad Taste of China
  • 13-Day Beijing–Xi'an–Dunhuang–Urumqi–Shanghai Tour
  • 14-Day Classic China Photo Tour
  • 2-Week Riches of China
  • 3-Week Must-See Places China Tour Including Holy Tibet
  • How to Plan Your First Trip to China 2024/2025 — 7 Easy Steps
  • Best (& Worst) Times to Visit China, Travel Tips (2024/2025)
  • 15 Best Places to Visit in China for First-Timers, Families, Couples...
  • The 15 Most Beautiful Places in China (#7 Will Impress You)
  • One Week in China - 4 Time-Smart Itineraries
  • How to Plan a 10-Day Itinerary in China (Best 5 Options)
  • Top 4 China Itinerary Options in 12 Days (for First Timers) 2024/2025
  • 2 Weeks in China: 3 Top Itinerary Ideas for Couples, Families, and More
  • 17-Day China Itineraries: 4 Unique Options
  • How to Spend 19 Days in China in 2024/2025 (Top 5 Options and Costs)
  • How to Plan a 3-Week Itinerary in China (Best 3 Options & Costs)
  • China Itineraries from Hong Kong for 1 Week to 3 Weeks
  • China Weather in January 2024: Enjoy Less-Crowded Traveling
  • China Weather in February 2024: Places to Go, Costs, and Crowds
  • China Weather in March 2024: Destinations, Crowds, and Costs
  • China Weather in April 2024: Where to Go (Smart Pre-Season Pick)
  • China Weather in May 2024: Where to Go, Crowds, and Costs
  • China Weather in June 2024: How to Benefit from the Rainy Season
  • China Weather in July 2024: How to Avoid Heat and Crowds
  • China Weather in August: Tips for Family Travel
  • China Weather in September: a Quieter Month in the Peak Season
  • China Weather in October: Where to Go, Crowds, and Costs
  • China Weather in November: Places to Go, Costs, and Crowds
  • China Weather in December: Places to Go, Costs, and Crowds

Get Inspired with Some Popular Itineraries

More travel ideas and inspiration, sign up to our newsletter.

Be the first to receive exciting updates, exclusive promotions, and valuable travel tips from our team of experts.

The China Highlights Experience

Where can we take you today.

  • Top 10 Tours
  • Panda Tours
  • Family Tours
  • Nature Tours
  • Photography Tours
  • Visa-free Tours
  • Hiking Tours
  • Biking Tours
  • Festival Tours
  • Top Asia Tours
  • Beijing Tours
  • Chengdu Tours
  • Chongqing Tours
  • Great Wall Tours
  • Guilin Tours
  • Guizhou Tours
  • Harbin Tours
  • Hangzhou Tours
  • Huangshan Tours
  • Hong Kong Tours
  • Inner Mongolia Tours
  • Jiuzhaigou Tours
  • Pingyao Tours
  • Shanghai Tours
  • Suzhou Tours
  • Silk Road Tours
  • Tibet Tours
  • Taiwan Tours
  • Tours from Hong Kong
  • Tours from Shanghai
  • Xinjiang Tours
  • Xiamen Tours
  • Yunnan Tours
  • Yangtze River Tours
  • Zhangjiajie Tours
  • Thailand Tours
  • Vietnam Tours
  • Cambodia Tours
  • Japan Tours
  • Indonesia (Bali) Tours
  • India Tours
  • Myanmar Tours
  • Central Asia Tours
  • Egypt Tours
  • Morocco Tours
  • Turkey Tours

us travel advisory for china

  • Travel Agents
  • Loyalty & Referral Program
  • Privacy Policy

us travel advisory for china

China Highlights uses cookies to give you the best possible service. If you continue browsing, you agree to the use of cookies. More details can be found in our privacy policy .

Places the U.S. Government Warns Not to Travel Right Now

You may want to reconsider traveling to these countries right now.

Do Not Travel to These Countries

Man walking through an airport with his suitcase

(Getty Images)

Crime, civil unrest and terrorism are common risk factors for countries that end up on the State Department's "Do Not Travel" advisory list.

Global conflicts and climate crises , ranging from a series of coups across Africa to earthquakes and floods in catastrophe-prone countries, affected international travel patterns throughout 2023.

Still, international tourist arrivals reached 91% of pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter of 2023, according to estimates by the World Tourism Organization based on travel patterns through September. But some destinations warrant more caution than others. In December alone, about 6 million U.S. citizens left the country for international destinations, 16% higher than the same month in 2019, according to the International Trade Administration . But some destinations warrant more caution than others.

On Oct. 19, following the outbreak of war between Israel and Gaza and flaring tensions in the region, the U.S. State Department issued a worldwide caution advisory due to “increased tensions in various locations around the world, the potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations or violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests.” Prior to this update, the most recent worldwide caution advisory was issued in 2022 after a U.S. strike killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s successor as leader of Al Qaeda, causing “a higher potential for anti-American violence.” The worldwide caution advisory remains in effect.

The U.S. State Department also issues individual travel advisory levels for more than 200 countries globally, continually updating them based on a variety of risk indicators such as health, terrorism and civil unrest. Travel advisory levels range from Level 1, which means exercise normal precautions, to Level 4, which means do not travel there.

About 10% of countries – 20 total – have a Level 4: “Do Not Travel” advisory as of Jan. 23. In Level 4 countries, the U.S. government may have “very limited ability” to step in should travelers’ safety or security be at risk, according to the State Department. Crime, civil unrest, kidnapping and terrorism are common risk factors associated with Level 4 countries.

So far in 2024, the State Department made changes to the existing Level 4 advisories for Myanmar, Iran and Gaza, and moved Niger off of the Level 4 list.

Places With a Level 4 Travel Advisory

These are the primary areas the U.S. government says not to travel to right now, in alphabetical order:

Jump to Place: Afghanistan Belarus Burkina Faso Central African Republic Myanmar (formerly Burma) Gaza Haiti Iran Iraq Libya Mali Mexico North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) Russia Somalia South Sudan Sudan Syria Ukraine Venezuela Yemen

Afghanistan: The Central Asian country is wrestling with “terrorism, risk of wrongful detention, kidnapping and crime,” according to the State Department. U.S. citizens are specifically at risk for wrongful detention and kidnapping. In 2022, the government reinstituted public floggings and executions, and women’s rights are disappearing under Taliban control. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul halted operations in August 2021. Since the Taliban took control , many forms of international aid have been halted . Meanwhile, in October 2023, some of the year’s deadliest earthquakes killed more than 2,400 in Afghanistan while the country continues to face a years-long extreme drought.

Belarus: Belarus, which shares a western border with Russia and a southern border with Ukraine, has been flagged for “Belarusian authorities’ continued facilitation of Russia’s war against Ukraine, the buildup of Russian military forces in Belarus, the arbitrary enforcement of local laws, the potential of civil unrest, the risk of detention, and the Embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Belarus.” The U.S. Embassy in Minsk halted operations in February 2022.

Burkina Faso: Terrorism, crime and kidnapping are plaguing this West African nation. Terrorist attacks may target hotels, restaurants and schools with little to no warning, and the East and Sahel regions of the country are under a state of emergency. In late November hundreds died in clashes between state security forces and rebels near the country’s border with Mali. More than 2 million people in Burkina Faso are displaced due to “violence linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group.”

Central African Republic: While there have not been specific incidents of U.S. citizens targeted with violence or crime, violent crime and sudden closure of roads and borders is common. The advisory states that “Embassy Bangui’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens, crime, civil unrest, and kidnapping” is a factor in its assessment. Recent data from UNICEF suggests the country has the worst drinking water accessibility of all countries in 2022.

Myanmar (Formerly Burma): Armed conflict and civil unrest are the primary reasons to not travel to this Southeast Asian country, which experienced a military coup in early 2021. Limited health care resources, wrongful detentions and “areas with land mines and unexploded ordnance” are also listed as risk factors. After Ukraine and Israel, Myanmar had the highest conflict-related death toll in 2023.

Gaza : Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization as designated by the State Department, controls much of the Gaza Strip, which shares borders with both Israel and Egypt. On Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas fighters broke across the border into Israel, killing hundreds of civilians and soldiers in a brazen attack that stunned Israelis. On Oct. 10, Israel hit the Gaza Strip with “the fiercest air strikes in its 75-year conflict” according to Reuters . The conflict has since escalated into war between Israel and Hamas, with regular Israeli airstrikes leading to extensive civilian casualties in Gaza. As of mid-December, nearly 85% of Gaza’s population were displaced from their homes, according to UN estimates . The region continues to face shortages of food , water, electricity and medical supplies , with conditions deemed “far beyond a humanitarian crisis.” The State Department warns of terrorism and armed conflict within Gaza’s borders.

Haiti: In July 2023, the Department of State ordered all non-emergency U.S. government personnel and family members to leave the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince in response to the increased risk of kidnapping and violent crime in the country , as well as armed conflict between gangs and police. The travel advisory states that cases of kidnapping “often involve ransom negotiations and U.S. citizen victims have been physically harmed during kidnappings.” The travel advisory also states that “U.S. citizens in Haiti should depart Haiti as soon as possible” given “the current security situation and infrastructure challenges.” A series of gang attacks in late September 2023 caused thousands to flee their homes, and many aid groups have been forced to cut or suspend operations amid escalating violence in recent months.

Iran: Terrorism, kidnapping and civil unrest are risk factors for all travelers to Iran, while U.S. citizens are specifically at risk for “arbitrary arrest.” U.S.-Iranian nationals such as students, journalists and business travelers have been arrested on charges of espionage and threatening national security. Executions in Iran rose sharply between 2021 and 2022, bringing the country’s total to nearly 580 people over the year, according to a report by Amnesty International released in May 2023.

Iraq: The State Department cites “terrorism, kidnapping, armed conflict [and] civil unrest” as cause for the country’s Level 4 distinction. Iraq’s northern borders, and its border with Syria, are especially dangerous. Since the escalation of conflict in neighboring Israel in October, there has been an increase in attacks against Iraqi military bases, which host U.S. troops and other international forces. On Oct. 20, non-emergency U.S. government personnel and eligible family members were ordered to leave the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

Lebanon: Sitting on the Mediterranean Sea, Lebanon shares its northern border with Syria and its southern border with Israel, placing it in a region currently wrought with conflict . Following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war in early October, family members of U.S. government personnel and non-emergency personnel were authorized to leave the country, and the U.S. State Department raised Lebanon’s travel advisory level from a Level 3 to a Level 4 level due to “the unpredictable security situation related to rocket, missile, and artillery exchanges” between Israel and Hezbollah or other militant groups. On Dec. 19, the U.S. Embassy in Beirut returned to normal staffing and presence, but the country remains at Level 4 due to “crime, terrorism, armed conflict, civil unrest, kidnapping, and Embassy Beirut’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens.” The country’s borders with Syria and with Israel, as well as refugee settlements within Lebanon, are specifically noted as Level 4 regions.

Libya: Following the end of its dictatorship over a decade ago, Libya has been wrought with internal conflict between armed groups in the East and West. Armed conflict, civil unrest, crime, kidnapping and terrorism are all risk factors. U.S. citizens have been targets of kidnapping for ransom, with terrorists targeting hotels and airports frequented by Westerners. The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli halted operations in 2014. In mid-September 2023, floods, which some say were intensified by climate change , killed thousands in eastern Libya. Clashes between armed factions escalated across the country in the latter half of 2023, including in the capital city of Tripoli and in Benghazi.

Mali: After experiencing military coups in 2020 and 2021, crime, terrorism and kidnapping are all prevalent threats in this West African landlocked nation. In July 2022, non-emergency U.S. government employees and their families were ordered to leave the country due to higher risk of terrorist activity. A U.N. report in August 2023 said that military groups in the country, including both Mali security forces and possibly Russian Wagner mercenaries, were spreading terror through the use of violence against women and human rights abuses. Democratic elections were supposed to occur in February 2024, but Mali’s military junta postponed the plans indefinitely. In December, the U.N. officially ended a decade-long peacekeeping presence in the country, which had been among the agency’s deadliest missions, with hundreds of the mission personnel killed since 2013.

Mexico: Each state in Mexico is assessed separately for travel advisory levels. Six of the 32 states in Mexico are designated as Level 4: Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas. Crime and kidnapping are listed as the primary risk factors throughout the country. Nearly 112,000 people were missing across the country as of October, a number the U.N. has called “alarming.”

North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea): U.S. passports are not valid for travel “to, in, or through” this country, home to one of the world's longest-running dynastic dictatorships. The travel advisory states that the Level 4 distinction is due to “the continuing serious risk of arrest and long-term detention of U.S. nationals.” In July 2023, a U.S. soldier fled across the border into North Korea, where he is believed to be in North Korean custody, the first American detained in the North in nearly five years. He was returned to U.S. custody in September 2023.

Russia: The travel advisory for Russia cites its invasion of Ukraine , harassment of U.S. citizens by Russian government officials and arbitrary law enforcement as a few of the reasons for the Level 4 designation. Chechnya and Mount Elbrus are specifically listed as Level 4 regions. Terrorism, civil unrest, health, kidnapping and wrongful detention are all noted as risks.

Russia Invades Ukraine: A Timeline

TOPSHOT - Black smoke rises from a military airport in Chuguyev near Kharkiv  on February 24, 2022. - Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine today with explosions heard soon after across the country and its foreign minister warning a "full-scale invasion" was underway. (Photo by Aris Messinis / AFP) (Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Somalia: A severe drought resulting from five failed rainy seasons in a row killed 43,000 people in 2022, and caused a famine amid conflict with Islamist insurgents . Violent crime is common throughout Somalia , pirates frequent its coast off the Horn of Africa, and medical facilities, where they exist, have limited capacity. Crime, terrorism, civil unrest, health and kidnapping are all risk factors. In January 2024, some passengers aboard a U.N.-contracted helicopter were taken hostage by al-Shabaab militants after the vehicle crashed in central Somalia.

South Sudan: Crime, kidnapping and armed conflict are the primary risk factors for South Sudan, which separated from Sudan in 2011, making it the world’s newest country . Weapons are readily available, and travelers have been victims of sexual assault and armed robbery.

Sudan: The U.S. evacuated its embassy in Khartoum in April 2023, and the country closed its airspace due to the ongoing conflict in the country, only permitting humanitarian aid and evacuation efforts. Fighting has escalated in the region between two warring generals seeking to gain control after a military coup in 2021 ousted the country’s prime minister. Civil unrest is the primary risk factor for Africa’s third largest country by area. Crime, terrorism, kidnapping and armed conflict are also noted. The International Criminal Court began investigating alleged war crimes and violence against African ethnic groups in the country in 2023. Millions have fled their homes due to conflict, and the U.N. has said its efforts to provide aid have been hindered by a lack of support, safety and resources. As recently as December 2023, the United Nations warned of catastrophic famine , with millions of children at-risk for malnutrition .

Syria: The advisory states that “No part of Syria is safe from violence,” with terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, armed conflict and risk of unjust detention all potential risk factors. U.S. citizens are often a target for kidnappings and detention. The U.S. Embassy in Damascus halted operations in 2012. Fighting in neighboring Israel has escalated since October, and the conflict has spilled over into Syria, where the U.S. has carried out air strikes following drone and rocket attacks against American troops in Syria and Iraq, triggered by the Israel-Hamas war.

Ukraine: Russian setbacks in their invasion of Ukraine buoyed hopes in Ukraine in 2023. However, Ukraine is a Level 4 country due to Russia’s invasion, with crime and civil unrest also noted as risk factors. The country’s forces shot down two Russian fighter jets on Christmas Eve 2023, in a move Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said “sets the right mood for the entire year ahead.”

Venezuela: Human rights abuses and lack of health care plague this South American nation, which has been in a political crisis since 2014. In 2019, diplomatic personnel were withdrawn from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas. Threats in the country include crime, civil unrest, kidnapping, wrongful detention and poor health infrastructure.

Yemen: Six of the nine risk factors defined by the State Department – terrorism, civil unrest, health risks, kidnapping, armed conflict and landmines – are all present in Yemen. Despite private companies offering tourist visits to the Yemeni island of Socotra, the U.S. government argues those arranging such visits “are putting tourists in danger.” Civil war and cholera are also both present throughout the country. The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa halted operations in 2015. The country has experienced a relative lull in the civil war fighting, but as peace negotiations have gotten traction, flare ups in the fighting have jeopardized progress. Most recently, the U.S. and U.K. have carried out a series of airstrikes in the country, targeting Iran-backed Houthi sites.

Other Countries to Watch

Since Jan. 1, the State Department has updated travel advisories for 12 different countries as well as for the West Bank and Gaza, adding information about specific regions or risk factors, or simply renewing an existing advisory. Travel advisory levels can change based on several factors in a nation, such as increased civil unrest, policies that affect human rights or higher risks of unlawful detention.

The State Department has given about 25 countries an assessment of Level 3, meaning it recommends people “reconsider travel” to those destinations.

On Oct. 14, one week after the deadly Hamas attack on Israel, Israel and the West Bank were both moved from Level 2 to Level 3, while Gaza remains at Level 4. The region’s travel advisory was updated again in November to reflect travel restrictions for certain government employees who have not already left the area, and it was updated again on Jan. 3.

China became a Level 3 country in late 2020, with an update in December 2022 citing “the surge in COVID-19 cases, arbitrary enforcement of local laws, and COVID-19-related restrictions” as the reason for the advisory. In June 2023, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) was moved from the Level 3 to the Level 2 list, but travelers are still advised to be cautious in the area due to “arbitrary enforcement of local laws.” Meanwhile, Macau remains at Level 3.

Following an attempted coup in August 2023, Niger was elevated to Level 4 in August and the Department of State ordered all non-emergency U.S. government personnel and family members to leave the U.S. Embassy in Niamey. In early January 2024, the overall risk level for the country was lowered back to Level 3. Despite the new classification, the State Department still asks non-emergency government personnel and eligible family members to depart the country.

In mid-December 2023 there was an explosion at Guinea’s main fuel depot which has since affected access to health care and basic goods and services. The country was subsequently designated a Level 3 nation after having previously been Level 2. Concerns about civil unrest, health, crime and fuel shortages impacting local infrastructure were listed as the primary risk factors contributing to the change.

Several Level 3 countries are among the worst countries for human trafficking, as designated by the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report . Level 3 countries on this list include Papua New Guinea, Guinea Bissau, China and Chad. There are also nine Level 4 countries designated as among the worst for human trafficking: Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Russia, Syria, South Sudan and Venezuela.

Over 70 countries are currently at Level 2, meaning the State Department recommends travelers “exercise increased caution” when traveling to those destinations.

Sweden is designated a Level 2 country, with terrorism noted as the primary risk factor in the country. France, which saw nationwide protests throughout 2023, has civil unrest and terrorism noted as risk factors for its Level 2 status.

In September 2023, Gabon was added to the Level 2 list for civil unrest after having been Level 1. The month prior, a coup in Gabon ousted President Ali Bongo Ondimba, who had been in power since 2009, just minutes after it was announced he had been elected for another term. Within the week, the military junta swore in Gen. Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema – the former leader’s cousin and head of the republican guard – as the country’s head of state. The African Union suspended the country’s membership shortly after the coup. The cities of Libreville and Port Gentil are specifically noted for risk of crime, and some areas have a nighttime curfew in effect.

Bangladesh 's Level 2 travel advisory was updated in October 2023 to add a note about the country’s upcoming general election Jan. 7, 2024. The advisory states “demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.”

In November, several Level 2 travel advisories were updated with new cautionary information. The advisory for Ghana was updated in November 2023 to reflect threats against LGBTQI+ travelers specifically, noting “anti-LGBTQI+ rhetoric and violence have increased in recent years.” Meanwhile, the advisory for South Africa now notes that routes recommended by GPS may be unsafe with higher risk for crime.

Turkmenistan was moved off of the Level 2 list to become the newest addition to the Level 1 list on Jan. 22, meaning normal precautions are recommended but there are no risk factors causing travelers to practice increased caution.

The State Department asks travelers to pay attention to travel advisory levels and alerts , review country information pages for their destinations and read related country security reports before going abroad.

Join the Conversation

Tags: Russia , Ukraine , Travel , Coronavirus , Travel Tips , Israel , Gaza , violence , Civil War , crime , kidnapping

Recent Articles

Best countries.

us travel advisory for china

Best Countries Rankings

  • # 1 Switzerland
  • # 5 Australia
  • # 5 United States

us travel advisory for china

Health News Bulletin

Stay informed daily on the latest news and advice on health and COVID-19 from the editors at U.S. News & World Report.

You May Also Like

Switzerland is world's best country.

Julia Haines Sept. 6, 2023

us travel advisory for china

Photos: Best Countries Around the World

Sept. 6, 2023

us travel advisory for china

The 25 Best Countries in the World

Elliott Davis Jr. Sept. 6, 2023

us travel advisory for china

Italy-UK-Japan Fighter Jet Programme Could Open up to Others - Italian Defence Minister

Reuters Jan. 26, 2024

us travel advisory for china

For One Nazi Holocaust Survivor, Hamas' Oct. 7 Attack Hit Harder

us travel advisory for china

  • Search Please fill out this field.
  • Manage Your Subscription
  • Give a Gift Subscription
  • Sweepstakes

U.S. Issues Travel Warning for China, Hong Kong — What to Know

The State Department designated both mainland China and Macau as “Level 3,” recommending travelers “reconsider travel” there. Hong Kong was classified as a “Level 2.”

us travel advisory for china

WANG ZHAO/Getty Images

The U.S. Department of State re-issued a travel warning against heading to China, including Hong Kong and Macau, due to the possibility of being wrongfully detained and the arbitrary enforcement of laws.

The State Department designated both mainland China and Macau as “Level 3,” recommending travelers “reconsider travel” there. Hong Kong was classified as a “Level 2” city, recommending travelers “exercise increased caution” when going.

“The People’s Republic of China (PRC) government arbitrarily enforces local laws, including issuing exit bans on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries, without fair and transparent process under the law,” the department wrote in its advisory, adding “PRC authorities appear to have broad discretion to deem a wide range of documents, data, statistics, or materials as state secrets and to detain and prosecute foreign nationals for alleged espionage.”

In Hong Kong, the department warned China has “demonstrated an intent” to use a 2020 national security law “to target a broad range of activities such as acts of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign entities.”

The renewed warning comes months after China resumed issuing international tourist visas following some of the strictest COVID-19-related restrictions in the world. For its part, Hong Kong started easing travel restrictions last year and no longer requires visitors undergo any COVID-19 testing or quarantine measures.

The State Department regularly updates its travel advisories for countries all over the world, assessing the security and health situations in each country and adjusting the classification accordingly on a scale of one (which indicates travelers should exercise normal precautions) to four (which warns Americans not to travel there). Recently, the department issued similar travel warnings for both Colombia and Jamaica .

In general, the State Department recommends American travelers enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive alerts “and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.”

By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.

  • Skip to primary navigation
  • Skip to main content
  • Skip to primary sidebar

Travel China Cheaper

Travel China the smart way! Expert tips and travel advice for China tourists and expats.

PLANNING A TRIP TO CHINA? Start Here

China Travel Advisory | What This Means for 2024

January 20, 2024 By Josh Summers

The U.S. State Department issued a Level 2 Travel Advisory for citizens traveling to China starting in 2019 and continuing into 2020. The message was simple: exercise increased caution as you plan your trip to China . But what exactly does a travel advisory mean, and how could it affect your scheduled trip to China? Let me share with you a few thoughts.

China travel advisory

Travel Advisory 2020 Update

Due to recent events, this China travel advisory has been increased to Level 4. Instead of updating this entire article, I recommend you read this update on China travel due to the coronavirus .

US State Department China Travel Advisory

First of all, it should be noted that travel advisories are a dime-a-dozen. They’re issued all the time and the U.S. State Department lists literally hundreds of them on their travel advisories page .

But what about a “Level 2”? Isn’t that serious?

Let’s start by examining how the U.S. State Department breaks down their travel advisories:

Travel Advisory levels from the U.S. State Department

  • Level 1 Advisory: Exercise Normal Precautions
  • Level 2 Advisory: Exercise Increased Caution
  • Level 3 Advisory: Reconsider Travel
  • Level 4 Advisory: Do Not Travel

While we should certainly take notice of this new China travel advisory , you might be surprised to learn that the level 2 travel advisory isn’t uncommon. Other countries that hold this status include:

  • The United Kingdom
  • Netherlands

I doubt travel to any of these countries would be particularly dangerous for travelers, would you?

So that leaves us with one question I want to discuss today:

What is happening in China right now that warrants a Level 2 Travel Advisory and should I still continue with my travel plans?

What Does the China Travel Advisory Mean?

Per the email sent by the U.S. State Department in early 2019 and again in 2020, a China travel advisory was issued because of the following:

China has begun arbitrary enforcement of local laws as well as special restrictions on dual U.S.-Chinese nationals.

That sounds serious – and it is – but this is something that specifically affects two groups of people:

  • US citizens of Chinese descent as well as…
  • Expats/Business people .

The average tourist is not affected by this China travel advisory.

It may not come as a surprise to some, but China is very petty when it comes to international politics. The slightest bit of shame caused by another country makes China “offended” and they have been known to retaliate against expats living in their country by interrogating them, harassing them or giving them exit bans.

Tourists are rarely caught up in all of this.

Unblock the Chinese internet with ExpressVPN

Travelers are seen as a boost to the local economy and are welcomed for short periods of time. The only exception to this are the tourists that do something stupid, such as breaking a law , engaging in a brawl , or trying to start a protest .

Of course, there is a whole different set of rules for one particular group of people.

Special Attention: US Citizens of Chinese Descent

Whether you’re a U.S.-born citizen or you hold U.S.-China dual citizenship, those travelers of Chinese descent should heed a special warning.

Here’s the deal.

As a mostly homogeneous country, China has a hard time separating ethnicity from citizenship. In some ways, if you’re of Chinese descent, they think you belong to China.

It doesn’t matter what passport you hold.

This isn’t to say that you should walk around in fear if you look like a Chinese person. You should, however, exercise a much higher level of caution. This is especially true if you plan to travel to sensitive regions such as Tibet or Xinjiang .

Don’t put too much faith in your passport.

China has become such a big world power that they’re not very intimidated by the fact that you’re a legal citizens of another country. The majority of the time China does nothing more than question and release the people it detains, but one thing has become clear:

Get the bestselling China travel handbook by TravelChinaCheaper!

Your State Department will be powerless to do much to help you.

As a US citizen of Chinese decent, this China travel advisory is slightly more impactful. It’s a word of caution, though, not a major red flag.

Takeaway: What Should You Do?

I want to be transparent with you about the risks associated with travel, but I know that in doing so, I also run the risk of scaring you out of visiting China altogether. Let me reassure you.

If we step back and look at the China travel advisory levels again, you see that the second level really isn’t that scary.

The State Department isn’t asking you to reconsider your travel or telling you not to travel, they’re telling you to exercise caution .

And guess what.. .you should be exercising caution as you travel no matter where in the world you are!

You’re more likely to be a victim of theft than a victim of police harassment in China. For this reason, I recommend you review these 8 China travel safety tips as well as this list of common travel mistakes that most people make.

Oh yea…and use common sense . Don’t steal from a store; refrain from punching somebody in the face; don’t take pictures of the police.

Just relax, don’t freak out about this China travel advisory and enjoy your trip 🙂

Pin this Image on Pinterest!

Further Reading & Resources

10 China Travel Hacks

Traveling or Moving to China Soon?

Download "44 Tips You MUST Know Before Traveling to China". These simple but often overlooked tips could make or break your trip !

Download the Tips Here

Avatar for Josh Summers

About Josh Summers

Josh is the founder of TravelChinaCheaper.com who has been living in China with his family since 2006. Over that period of time he has traveled by plane, train, car, motorcycle and even camel to explore almost every corner of the country.

Reader Interactions

Avatar for Josh Summers

January 4, 2019 at 5:29 pm

GOod stuff. I’ve been to China 5 times starting in 2012. Many things have changed, some for the better some for the worse. It’s a great country, i love it! I would not hesitate to travel there tomorrow. I THINK china is not for a novice traveler. It has gotten more difficult, exchanging money accessing money. But i see more street signs in England, even in the eastern provinces.

Avatar for Josh Summers

January 4, 2019 at 6:47 pm

Great info Thanks! More relaxed for future trips

Avatar for Josh Summers

January 5, 2019 at 1:29 pm

Good article Josh, thanks for the info. I agree with your findings completely. my wife is Chinese and we own a home in Tieling in N.E. China. There are not many foreigners that come to Tieling and when I am there at 6′-2″ tall “I stand out in the crowd” . The local Police office is just a block away from our home, at times it can be frustrating, but they have been very courteous to me and as helpful as possible. I hold a Q2 visa which allows me to stay in china for up to 180 days at a time. I always carry my marriage booklet and I have my home address saved to my cell phone in Chinese, this has always been handy clearing immigration when I enter the country. My wife and I have traveled extensively thru china and my only recommendation is to make sure you understand the rules so to speak and follow them. Once again Josh thanks for the info. I very much enjoy your articles. Happy new Year and have a great Spring Festival.

Avatar for Josh Summers

January 5, 2019 at 1:56 pm

Thanks, David! I appreciate hearing your experience and I’m glad the articles have been helpful 🙂

Avatar for Josh Summers

January 7, 2019 at 11:08 am

Hi Josh, Thanks for sharing your take on the current mood. I did travel to China this year. It was an amazing experience and would encourage others to consider China a destination. With the understanding of the country’s rules and customs as you outlined.

I came home with a greater sense of appreciation for the people and the landscapes and treasures of an ancient civilization amongst the hustle of modern day.

Also wanted to thank you for your tips and info you sent to me prior to my trip. I wish you Happy New Year and safe travels to you and your family for 2019!

January 8, 2019 at 9:16 am

Thank you, Judy! So glad you had a good experience in China 🙂

Avatar for Josh Summers

January 15, 2019 at 11:28 am

Hello Josh, thank you for this article it helps a lot considering we are scheduled to fly into Beijing this April with the whole family (3 Kids). The wife was worried when she saw the travel advisory but this DEFINITELY put her at ease. Question for you. We will be taking advantage of the 144 Hr Free visa exception when we get there and would like to see what your thoughts about that is. Should i just get the full blown visa to avoid possible MISUNDERSTANDINGS? We certainly qualify for the 144 hr free visa but I feel nervous. Thanks and Great job with the page

January 15, 2019 at 7:28 pm

Thanks, Chester! I’m glad this was helpful for your wife. Concerning your thoughts on the 144-hr transit visa, I think you should be fine, but if you have any misgivings whatsoever, the safe bet is to get a traditional visa. I can’t make that call for you, unfortunately, but I can say that there have been some people who have been surprised with problems trying to get the transit visa.

Avatar for Josh Summers

March 2, 2019 at 10:16 pm

Hi Josh, I was born in america and feel very american, but my parents were born in china and, of course, I look quite chinese. My husband is peruvian, and one of my children looks chinese, while one looks more indistinct. I was planning to travel to china this june 2019, but i am worried about the travel advisory and whether the chinese officials would harrass us or prevent us from leaving the country. plus, because we are a mixed race couple, i am not sure how that would come across. we were planning to do a tour with china discovery so the plan is to have a tour guide with us the whole time, but i am about to call the whole thing off because i am worried about the travel advisory. what do you think about my situation? should we call off our travel plans?

March 5, 2019 at 7:58 am

Hi Cindy, I appreciate your concern but I don’t believe you have anything to worry about. Mixed race marriages are still somewhat new in China but it’s becoming more and more accepted. If you’re in the big cities as a tourist, I don’t think you’ll notice any extra attention.

As for being of Chinese descent, as long as your parents haven’t broken the law and you don’t plan to break the law, the Chinese have no reason to detain you for even a minute.

Avatar for Josh Summers

August 15, 2019 at 5:10 am

this is a well informed artiCle and i thank you for it. My husband and i will be traveling to china in the up coming wEeks with my father and brother. It caused My husband some conceRn when the advisory went in effect back in january. As we are of chinese descent. We will be in guangzhou one of the bigger cities. My dad says there’s nothing to worry abOut, we’ll be visiting a few of my Dads friends while over there.

Avatar for Josh Summers

September 29, 2019 at 8:21 am

Hi jOsh, Thank you for the ARTICLE…it has put my mind at ease a bit. My husband and i along with our adult children are PLANNING on taking our 14 year Old adopted chinese daughter back to china for a Heritage Tour with China Ties program. Do you BELIEVE we’ll encounter any issues as our daughter is Chinese and has US citizenship and has US passport. She dOes not have dual citizenship.

September 30, 2019 at 1:55 am

No, she should not have any issues while traveling with you. Enjoy your trip and don’t forget to grab a copy of my China travel handbook !

Are you planning to travel or move to China soon?

Don't miss out on these 44 money-saving tips!

© 2024 Go West Ventures LLC   |  Best-Selling China Travel Guide    |    Contact    |    Affiliate Disclaimer    |    Privacy Policy

  • Live In The D
  • Newsletters

US issues China travel advisory over laws that could lead to wrongful detention

Americans may be subject to interrogations, detention.

Joseph Goral , Digital News Intern

The U.S. Department of State last week issued a travel advisory for Mainland China due to “arbitrary enforcement of local laws” that could harm Americans.

The advisory comes weeks after a 78-year-old U.S. citizen was sentenced to life in prison in China after being convicted of spying . The Department of State said the travel advisory asks U.S. citizens to reconsider travel to China due to enforcement of exit bans and the risk of wrongful detention.

“U.S. citizens traveling or residing in [China] may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime,” the advisory said . “U.S. citizens in [China] may be subjected to interrogations and detention without fair and transparent treatment under the law.”

The advisory also says many foreigners in China, including U.S. citizens, have been interrogated and detained by officials for alleged violations of China’s national security laws. Those affected include U.S. citizens living and working in China, businesspeople, former foreign-government personnel, academics, relatives of Chinese citizens involved in legal disputes, journalists, and others, officials said.

It also tells readers that U.S. citizens could be deported or detained for sending messages critical of China, Hong Kong, and Macau Special Administrative Regions’ governments.

According to the advisory, U.S. citizens who decide to travel to Mainland China should do the following:

  • Check with the Chinese embassy in the U.S. for updated information.
  • Know the Department of State does not provide direct medical care to U.S. citizens abroad.
  • Never consume drugs in, or prior to, arriving in China.
  • Keep your passport and valid visa on you.
  • Read travel information for China , and enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program .
  • Keep a low profile and avoid demonstrations like protests.
  • Use caution while near protests.
  • Ask police or prison officials to notify U.S. Embassy Beijing or the nearest U.S. Consulate General immediately if you are arrested or detained.
  • Review the China Country Security Report .
  • Follow the Department of State on social media.
  • Visit the CDC for travel health information.
  • Prepare an emergency plan.

Click here for more information and to read the whole travel advisory.

Copyright 2023 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.

Click here to take a moment and familiarize yourself with our Community Guidelines.

  • Travel Planning Center
  • Safer Travel
  • Airline Partners
  • Check-in & Security
  • Delta Sky Club®
  • Airport Maps & Locations
  • Flight Deals
  • Flight Schedules
  • Destinations
  • Onboard Experience
  • Delta Cruises
  • Delta Vacations
  • Shop Hotels
  • In-Flight Wi-Fi
  • Trip Protection
  • How to Earn Miles
  • How to Use Miles
  • Buy or Transfer Miles
  • Travel with Miles
  • SkyMiles Partners & Offers
  • SkyMiles Award Deals
  • SkyMiles Credit Cards
  • SkyMiles Airline Partners
  • SkyMiles Program Overview​
  • How to Get Medallion Status​
  • Benefits at Each Tier
  • News & Updates
  • Help Center
  • Travel Planning FAQs
  • Certificates & eCredits
  • Accessible Travel Services
  • Child & Infant Travel
  • Special Circumstances
  • SkyMiles Help

Updated U.S. Entry Requirements for Travelers From China

Travelers no longer need to get tested and show the negative COVID-19 test result, or show documentation of recovery from COVID-19, prior to boarding a flight to the U.S. from the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Macau, effective from Mar 10, 2023 at 3 PM ET. Individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. must still show proof of vaccination.

New Adjustments to Chinese Visa and Entry Policies:

  • Valid multi-year multiple entry visas issued before March 28, 2020 by the Chinese visa authorities abroad shall resume function.
  • Travelers may apply for all types of visas (including those for tourism and medical treatment).
  • Port visas shall once again be issued in line with the relevant laws and regulations.
  • The visa-exemption policy for Hainan, visa-exemption cruise policy for Shanghai, visa-exemption policy for foreigners to visit Guangdong from Hong Kong and Macao, and visa-exemption policy for ASEAN tour groups to Guilin and Guangxi shall resume operation.
  • Investor Relations
  • Business Travel
  • Travel Agents
  • Comment/Complaint
  • Browser Compatibility
  • Accessibility
  • Booking Information
  • Customer Commitment
  • Tarmac Delay Plan
  • Sustainability
  • Contract of Carriage
  • Cookies, Privacy & Security
  • Human Trafficking Statement (PDF)

The US Department of State released a new travel advisory Friday for US citizens traveling to mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau suggesting travelers “reconsider travel” to the areas due to “arbitrary enforcement of local laws…and the risk of wrongful detentions.”

The advisory for mainland China states:

U.S. citizens traveling or residing in the PRC may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime. U.S. citizens in the PRC may be subjected to interrogations and detention without fair and transparent treatment under the law.

The advisory for Hong Kong specifically mentions the country’s National Security Law , saying:

Since the imposition of the National Security Law on June 30, 2020, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has demonstrated an intent to use the law to target a broad range of activities such as acts of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign entities. The National Security Law also covers offenses committed by non-Hong Kong SAR [semi-autonomous region] residents or organizations outside of the Hong Kong SAR, which could subject U.S. citizens who have been publicly critical of the PRC and/or the administration of the Hong Kong SAR to a heightened risk of arrest, detention, expulsion, or prosecution.

The move comes amidst strain between the US and China. Just this past Wednesday, China enacted a law to allow “countermeasures” against those that impose sanctions on the country. On the US side, President Joe Biden has also been slowly ramping up his language surrounding Chinese President Xi Jinping. In 2022 Biden stated , “From China to Russia and beyond, they’re betting that democracy’s days are numbered.” Then in April, he stated that Xi was an “autocrat” and China was “essentially a dictatorship.” And on June 21, Biden called Xi a “dictator.”

The State Department has largely supported Biden’s remarks, with a spokesperson saying , “The President believes that diplomacy…is a responsible way to manage tensions, clear up misperceptions, avoid miscalculations…That does not mean, of course, we will not be blunt and forthright about our differences.”

The move also comes soon after a US citizen, John Shin-wan Leung , was sentenced to life in prison in May for “espionage.” His is one of many high-profile arrests in China that have raised international concerns. In 2021, China arrested Australian journalist Cheng Lei on a similar charge. Another Australian citizen, Dr. Yang Hengju , was detained in January. And two Canadian citizens, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor , were charged with “stealing state secrets” in 2020.

India constitution ratified

On January 26, 1950, India ratified its constitution , formally creating a republic. On the same day, Rajendra Prasad was inarguated as the republic's first president. The anniversary is celebrated today as Republic Day in India.

Tennessee became first state to ban alcohol sales

On January 26, 1838, Tennessee became the first US state to pass a law prohibiting the general sale of alcohol; fines paid by lawbreakers were put towards the support of public schools. Read more about the history of Prohibition .

us travel advisory for china

  • China Daily PDF
  • China Daily E-paper
  • Asia-Pacific
  • Middle East
  • China-Europe
  • China-Japan
  • China-Africa

US travelers benefiting from China's visa rules

us travel advisory for china

Visa: Lack of interviewer causes long wait

People from the United States who travel to China have expressed satisfaction with the country's newly streamlined visa policies.

Beijing has made it easier for US residents to travel to China by no longer requiring certain documents for a visa application as of Jan 1.

"I was happy when I saw the announcement that they would no longer require proof of round-trip airfare, hotel bookings and itinerary for tourist visas," a tourist who asked to be identified only as George told China Daily.

George applied for a tourist visa at the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles earlier this year. He went to the consulate on a Monday morning. "I didn't have to make an appointment; I just walked in," he said.

He was roughly 15th in line, and his name was called about an hour and a half later.

"After I went up to the window, it was done in about five minutes. I wasn't asked for any of the paperwork, and I was told to come back in four days to pick up my visa. The whole process was smooth sailing.''

George, a computer engineer, said he plans to travel to China in March for about two weeks.

"I appreciate the new visa policy because it provides me with flexibility. I have only booked hotels for the first week. I do have a plan, but who knows, I might want to visit a place I haven't thought about while there. It's nice to be able to be spontaneous."

Chinese Ambassador to the US Xie Feng announced the streamlined visa process at a forum earlier this month in Atlanta, Georgia.

"Tourist visa applicants within the United States will no longer be required to submit round-trip air ticket booking record, proof of hotel reservation, itinerary or invitation letter," Xie said at a forum celebrating the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Xie said it is important to remove obstacles and spark a new boom in exchanges.

"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and worsening China-US relations, a chill loomed over people-to-people exchanges in the past few years," he said. "When travel went down, estrangement and misunderstanding went up."

Elizabeth Hin, president of The White Rose Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes understanding and harmony among the world's religions, said the change represents the deepest value in US-China relations, which is "trust and reciprocity of trust".

Hin, who attended the Atlanta forum, said she first visited China in 1978, when the country began to open up, and has gone back and forth since. "It's not that difficult to do the application and have an invitation letter," she said. "But there is a welcoming sense (in forgoing such a requirement)."

Blaine Glass, director of The White Rose Foundation, said the discussion at the forum stirred his desire to visit China again, and the easier visa application is certainly welcome. The last time he visited China was more than 20 years ago, when he toured the Xizang autonomous region. "I wanted to learn tai chi," Glass said.

As China moves to improve people-to-people contact between the two countries, Xie, the ambassador to the US, said that Beijing hopes "the US side will work with China in the same direction by taking measures to clear obstacles in travel, visa and border-entry policies, further increase direct flights significantly, and adjust the China travel advisory as soon as possible".

Jing Quan, minister of the Chinese embassy in the US, told China Daily that due to a shortage of wide-body planes among US airlines, it has been difficult to increase the number of direct flights between China and the US.

In China, the wait time for a US visa application interview is about six months. "It's just impossible to arrange your itinerary with such a long wait," Jing said.

Dennis Wilder, a senior fellow for the Initiative for US-China Dialogue on Global Issues at Georgetown University, agreed that the long wait period for a US visa interview is a big problem.

"The problem is we need more American officers to do the interviews, and we don't have enough State Department people," Wilder said. "It is not easy to solve, because for Congress, it's not a priority."

us travel advisory for china

Flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS A lock ( Lock A locked padlock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

us travel advisory for china

U.S. Embassy & Consulates in China

Side Navigation Logo

Last updated: [1/27/2023]

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) requirement of proof of vaccination for non-U.S. citizen nonimmigrants to travel to the United States is still in effect.  For more information, see the Requirement for Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Air Passengers .

Check the CDC website for additional information and  Frequently Asked Questions .

Entry and Exit Requirements

  • Are there COVID-related entry requirements for U.S. citizens?  Yes.  The People’s Republic of China (PRC) currently allows foreign nationals with valid residence permits and valid visas to enter the country under certain limited conditions.  The U.S. Embassy is not involved in the creation of these policies, and they are subject to change at any time.
  • Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) required for entry?   Yes.  Please follow guidance on the  PRC Embassy website to identify timing requirements for the pre-departure test and information regarding labs approved by the PRC.
  • Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry?  Yes , incoming passengers will have their temperature taken via scanner.

Quarantine Information 

Effective January 8, 2023, there is no longer a requirement of quarantine for international arrivals entering the PRC.  Note that regulations in the PRC can change quickly, so please review the PRC-specific Travel Advisory when planning travel and again shortly before departure.

  • U.S. citizens in the PRC should follow PRC and U.S. CDC guidance for prevention, signs and symptoms, and treatment of COVID-19 .

COVID-19 Testing

Are PCR and/or antigen tests available for U.S. citizens in the PRC?   Yes.

Some of several COVID-19 testing sites in Beijing are:

Sanfine International Hospital: 010 6413 6688

Beijing Hospital: 010 85132266

Peking University International Hospital:  010 69006900

Beijing Shijitan Hospital:  010 63926600

Beijing United Family Hospital Jianguomen Clinic:  4008-919191 (24-Hour)

  • For a nationwide list of COVID testing centers, please see  here  (Mandarin)
  • WeChat users can select “official accounts (公众号)” and then press the “+” key to search for “city name (本地宝)” to find additional testing locations. Follow the account, type “核酸检测” into the search bar at the bottom of the screen, and then click the hyperlink that leads to a list of all testing locations.
  • For a list that includes testing centers with English language services, please see  here . (933 KB)

Are test results reliably available within 24 hours?   Yes;

  • COVID-19 tests are widely available throughout the PRC. COVID-19 tests are available at most hospitals and clinics. Test results are often returned within 12-24 hours. The cost of the COVID-19 test is about $17 US dollars but can vary.
  • Test results may be delivered by a variety of methods: email, text, or an update to the local COVID-19 monitoring app are the most common methods.
  • Please refer to local health authorities for more information on COVID-19 testing.
  • Beijing Consular District:  [email protected]
  • Guangzhou Consular District:  [email protected]
  • Shanghai Consular District:  [email protected]
  • Shenyang Consular District:  [email protected]

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Are vaccines available in the PRC for U.S. citizens to receive?  Yes.

  • The PRC government has conditionally authorized several vaccines that are currently available to foreigners residing in the PRC.  The two most commonly available, Sinopharm and Sinovac, have not yet received approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States.  Sinopharm and Sinovac have received approval for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO).  Please contact your local health authorities for more information.
  • Visit the FDA’s website to  learn more about FDA-approved vaccines  in the United States.

Movement Restrictions

Is a curfew in place?  No.

Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? No.

Local Resources

  •  The PRC State Council’s COVID-19 webpage  
  • COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov  
  • CDC page on COVID-19  
  • PRC Travel Information  
  • Map of Number of Daily New COVID-19 Cases by Province  – Last updated on 1/11/2023 (PDF 341 KB)

us travel advisory for china

  • Smart Traveler Enrollment Program The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Enroll Now
  • Looking for the nearest embassy or consulate? Visit the official list of embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions from the U.S. Department of State. Find the nearest Embassy or Consulate
  • Coronavirus.gov A portal for public information that is curated by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force at the White House, working in conjunction with CDC, HHS and other agency stakeholders. Visit Coronavirus.gov .
  • Contact your nearest embassy or call 1-888-407-4747 (U.S./Canada) or +1-202-501-4444 (overseas)
  • Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate
  • Enroll for Alerts

Use up to three keywords instead of using a full sentence for the best search results.

product warranty

free shipping offer

Would you help us improve our website

Note: This feature is strictly for feedback about your experience using the website. All other questions and feedback will be disregarded. Thank you for your understanding. You are visiting a website that just underwent a redesign. Please take a few moments to provide us with your valuable feedback.

Note: This feature is strictly for feedback about your experience using the website.

Please take a few moments to provide us with your valuable feedback. Note: This feature is strictly for feedback about your experience using the website. All other questions and feedback will be disregarded.

{{ error }}

* Please see our Contact Us page for more information on how to reach us.

Thank you for sharing your feedback!

Please call: 010-8531 4000

Outside of Office Hours, contact: 010-8531-3000

Outside of China: (+86) 10-8531 4000

  • Skip to content
  • Skip to main navigation
  • Skip to search
  • Skip to footer
  • 台灣- English English 繁體中文 繁體中文
  • 中国- Chinese English English 前往中華航空大陸站 简体中文
  • 香港- HongKong English English 前往中華航空香港站 繁體中文
  • 日本- Japanese English English 日本語 日本語
  • 한국- English English 한국어 한국어
  • Singapore- English English 繁體中文 繁體中文
  • ราชอาณาจักรไทย- Thai ไทย English English
  • မြန်မာ- English English
  • Việt Nam- English English Vietnam Tiếng Việt
  • Philippines- Philippines English
  • កម្ពុជា។- English English
  • Malaysia - English English 繁體中文 繁體中文 Bahasa Malaysia Bahasa Malaysia
  • Bahasa Indonesia- English English Indonesia Bahasa Indonesia
  • Deutschland- English English Deutsch Deutsch
  • Nederland- English English Nederlands Nederlands
  • Italia- English English Italiano Italiano
  • Austria- Austria English English Austria German Deutsch
  • Czech Republic- Czech Republic English English Czech Republic German Deutsch
  • United Kingdom- English English 繁體中文 繁體中文
  • United States- English English 繁體中文 繁體中文
  • Canada- English English 繁體中文 繁體中文
  • Australia- English English 繁體中文 繁體中文
  • New Zealand- English English 繁體中文 繁體中文
  • Explore the site menu

us travel advisory for china

  • {{((memberObj.mmname.length > 0)?memberObj.mmname:showName)}} Log Out Manage My Account

Frequently Used Functions

  • Mileage Overview
  • Update Personal Profile
  • Upgrade Awards
  • Award Tickets
  • Award Transfer
  • Mileage Correction

Dynasty Flyer Program

  • How to Earn Miles
  • How to Use Miles
  • Skyteam Benefits
  • Customer Service Hotline
  • Membership Privileges & Obligations

Exclusive for Members

  • Explore the Deals
  • Birthday Special Discount
  • Dynasty Flyer Welcome Offer
  • Membership Tiers and Premium Benefits
  • Member News

Travel Advisory

  • Title Publish Date

Handling guideline for cancellation or schedule change over 3 hours of CI/AE operating flights to/from Frankfurt affected by Heavy Snowfall. Passengers who are holding CI/AE valid tickets issued on/before 16JAN24 with confirmed bookings on CI/AE affected flights must file applications on/before 17APR24.

  • Rebooking/Reissue/Reroute (a)Rebooking to other CI/AE operating flights with the same Booking Class/Carrier/Ticketed point including airport shown on the ticket within ticket validity and new flight date within 14 days prior to/after the affected flight shall be revalidated or reisued once free of charge. (b)Any Fare/Tax difference incurred by rebooking with different Booking Class/Carrier or Routing shall be paid by passengers but reissue charge and reissue service charge can be waived once. (c)For tickets issued via CI website, please contact call center or branch offices. Other tickets please contact original issuing offices for rebooking and reissue.
  • Refund Refund service charge will be waived. Original tickets issued via China Airlines Offical website, call centers and branch offices can apply refund via CI Website . Chargeable seat and Prepaid excess baggage can be full refunded. Other tickets please contact the original issuing offices. Group and discount tickets are not applicable to the guidelines above. Other airlines tickets with confirmed booking on CI/AE operated flights must follow the guidelines of ticket issuing airlines.

Due to the forecasted snow in Frankfurt, Germany, China Airlines would like to bring your attention to important information for those traveling to Frankfurt on January 17, 2024, and departing from Frankfurt on January 18, 2024.

We strongly advise passengers to check the latest flight status before heading to the airport. Stay updated through the following channels:

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

Effective from 14th February 2024, the Bali Provincial government introduces the international tourism levy with the amount of Rp. 150.000,00 per person.

Please refer the website https://lovebali.baliprov.go.id for detail and conduct the payment before visit.

  • Remain the original Unaccompanied Minors(UM) (5-7 years old) regulations Applicable Class: Premium Economy Class/Economy Class. Applicable Fare: Adult FIT fares with RBD W/U/Y/B/M, AWARD TICKET/AD/ID tickets are excluded.
  • Add Unaccompanied Minors(UM) (8-11 years old) regulations Applicable Class: Business Class/Premium Economy Class/Economy Class. Applicable Fare: Adult FIT fares with RBD J/C/W/U/Y/B/M, AWARD TICKET/AD/ID tickets are excluded.

DB services will be massively affected nationwide from 10 January from 2 a.m. up to and including 12 January due to a strike by the GDL.

Please plan your journey in advance.

  • Make contact with an original ticketing travel agent for ticket reissuance if needed;
  • Make sure the reservation on the ticket could be updated to synchronize with new bookings before going to the airport;
  • Avoid going to show up at the airport without any booking.

Dear passengers, 

Thank you for choosing China Airlines. In compliance with environmental policies and to adhere to the EU single use plastic ban, we will gradually discontinue providing plastic straw services onboard. If you require a straw, please feel free to bring your own. We appreciate your understanding and support as we work together to help preserving our planet. 

Best regards, China Airlines

Link to Facebook Page

  • About China Airlines Go to CAL at a Glance page About Us Go to Careers page Careers Go to Media Center page Media Center Go to Investor page Investor Relations
  • Services and support Go to Download Application Forms page Download Application Forms Go to Flight Messaging page Flight Messaging Go to Accessibility page Accessibility Plan and Feedback Process
  • Related Websites Go to Sustainability page Sustainability
  • Policies Go to Privacy Protection page Privacy Protection Go to Privacy Protection page Do not sell my personal information Go to Cookie Policy page Cookie Policy Go to Terms & Conditions page Terms & Conditions

Mandarin-Airlines

   Indicates external site which may or may not meet accessibility guidelines.

Official websites use .gov

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

us travel advisory for china

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Kerry’s Travel to the People’s Republic of China

Office of the Spokesperson

July 11, 2023

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry will travel to Beijing, People’s Republic of China (PRC), from July 16 to July 19.  During meetings with PRC officials, Secretary Kerry aims to engage with the PRC on addressing the climate crisis, including with respect to increasing implementation and ambition and promoting a successful COP28.

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected].

U.S. Department of State

The lessons of 1989: freedom and our future.

  • Entertainment
  • KSAT Insider
  • Newsletters

WEATHER ALERT

6 warnings and an advisory in effect for 24 regions in the area

Tensions simmering in the south china sea and violence in myanmar as laos takes over asean chair.

David Rising

Associated Press

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

A Chinese high-speed train moves across a bridge over the Mekong River, north of the Laotian city of Luang Prabang on Dec. 12, 2023. Laos has grown increasingly beholden to its giant neighbor to the north with massive amounts of debt to Chinese state banks for multiple infrastructure projects, including a new high-speed rail line across the country, said Muhammad Faizal, with the Institute of Defense and Strategic studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. (AP Photo/David Rising)

BANGKOK – Simmering tensions in the South China Sea between China and several Southeast Asian nations now regularly spark direct confrontation . Fighting in Myanmar against the military government that seized power three years ago has grown to the point that most say the country is now in a civil war .

Hopes were high that Indonesia might be able to make significant inroads on both issues during its 2023 chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, using its clout as the bloc's largest country, but little progress was made. Now Laos, the bloc's poorest and one of its smallest countries, has taken over the rotating chair.

As foreign ministers gather in Luang Prabang for this year's first top-level meetings over the weekend, many are pessimistic that ASEAN can keep its biggest challenges from festering and growing.

“There were so many expectations when Indonesia started its presidency and some of those expectations fell short,” said Shafiah Muhibat, an expert with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Indonesia.

“So with Indonesia moving on to Laos, I think the expectations are quite low in terms of what Laos can actually do.”

After the military seized control of Myanmar in February 2021 from the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, ASEAN — comprised of Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Brunei and Laos — came up with a “Five-Point Consensus” plan for peace.

The military leadership in Myanmar has so far ignored the plan . At the same time, a humanitarian crisis is growing, with more than 2.6 million people forced from their homes due to escalating violence , according to the United Nations.

Indonesia, despite touting more than 180 “engagements” with stakeholders in Myanmar, was unable to achieve a breakthrough .

ASEAN's plan calls for the immediate cessation of violence, a dialogue among all concerned parties, mediation by an ASEAN special envoy, provision of humanitarian aid through ASEAN channels, and a visit to Myanmar by the special envoy to meet all concerned parties.

“ASEAN actually has very little leverage on Myanmar; Myanmar doesn’t care about ASEAN at all,” said Muhammad Faizal, with the Institute of Defense and Strategic studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. “They don’t give a hoot about the five-point consensus.”

During its ASEAN chairmanship, Indonesia established an official office of the special envoy, increasing the resources for the position, and the veteran Laotian diplomat who assumed the role has already been to Myanmar and met with the head of the ruling military council and other top officials. To ensure continuity in dealing with Myanmar, Indonesia also established a troika mechanism made up of the past, current and next chair of ASEAN — currently Indonesia, Laos and Malaysia.

The troika will provide “capacity and support” for Laos during its year as chair, meaning the country won't have to go it alone, said Peter Haymond, former United States Ambassador to Laos from 2020 to 2023 who is now with the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii.

“ASEAN only really carries weight if it's able to speak as one group … so this troika is put together specifically by the ASEAN partners with Lao concurrence,” he said on the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Southeast Asia Radio podcast in November.

“I think Lao was looking for help.”

Still, it's likely Laos will approach the situation in Myanmar from its own perspective as the first ASEAN nation since the military takeover to share a border with the country, Faizal said.

“They want to maintain the cross-border security cooperation with the Myanmar junta, and think that it is probably in their interest to make sure that the junta remains the authority in Myanmar. Though, in reality, that may not be the case," he said in a telephone interview.

At the moment, the Myanmar military is losing ground to a concerted offensive launched in October by three powerful militias that have since been joined by several others around the country.

China is seen to be at least tacitly supporting the initial group, known as the Three Brotherhood Alliance, stemming partially from Beijing's growing irritation at the flourishing drug trade and other criminality across its border with Myanmar. It also has strong influence with the country's military rulers.

Communist Laos is one of the ASEAN countries with the closest ties to Beijing, so it will be interesting to see whether it tries to enlist Chinese support in resolving the Myanmar conflict, Faizal said.

“It’s quite obvious that both the junta and the other groups are trying to gain the support or the favor of China,” Faizal said.

Beijing maintains it will not interfere in the internal affairs of other states, so it’s unclear whether it would want to take on a greater role in trying to end the conflict in Myanmar, even if it were acceptable to other ASEAN members.

Many are locked in maritime disputes with China over its claims of sovereignty over virtually the entire South China Sea , one of the world’s most crucial waterways for shipping.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei, all have their own claims over islands, reefs and undersea resources in the region. Indonesia has also expressed concern about what it sees as Beijing’s encroachment on its exclusive economic zone in the waters.

In 2012, China and ASEAN agreed to a declaration on conduct in the South China Sea, seeking to “enhance favorable conditions for a peaceful and durable solution of differences and disputes,” but there has been little sign of goodwill recently.

The decades long territorial dispute escalated between Beijing and Manila last year, sparking fears it could degenerate into a major conflict that could involve the United States, a longtime treaty ally of the Philippines.

Chinese coast guard ships and accompanying vessels used military-grade laser and water cannons against Philippine coast guard and supply vessels and undertook dangerous maneuvers near disputed shoals, prompting the Philippines to file a large number of diplomatic protests against China.

In December, China vowed to keep up its military pressure on the Philippines, and Philippine officials have grown increasingly discontented by what they see as a lack of support from other ASEAN countries.

The situation is unlikely to change under landlocked Laos' leadership, especially given its ties to Beijing, Faizal said.

During its past chairmanship in 2016, Laos was able to strike a balance between all sides, coming up with a compromise that officials later characterized as making everyone equally unhappy.

However, Laos, with a population of 7.4 million, has since grown increasingly beholden to its giant neighbor to the north, Faizal noted, with massive amounts of debt to Chinese state banks for multiple infrastructure projects, including a new high-speed rail line across the country .

“They will have come under a lot of pressure from China, because they're basically dependent upon China for everything,” he said. “I believe they will probably just try to maintain the status quo — not doing more, but just maintaining what is there now.”

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

IMAGES

  1. Travel advisory world maps: U.S. vs. China

    us travel advisory for china

  2. U.S. State Department raises Travel Advisory for mainland China to

    us travel advisory for china

  3. China Travel Advisory

    us travel advisory for china

  4. The U.S. Department of State

    us travel advisory for china

  5. US Department Of State Issues Travel Advisory For China

    us travel advisory for china

  6. Travel Warnings From US Consulate For Being in China

    us travel advisory for china

COMMENTS

  1. China Travel Advisory

    U.S. Visas Intercountry Adoption International Parental Child Abduction Replace or Certify Documents Travel.State.Gov > Travel Advisories > China Travel Advisory China Travel Advisory Travel Advisory June 30, 2023 See Summaries - Mainland China, Hong Kong & Macau O D

  2. China Travel Advisory

    China Travel Advisory - U.S. Embassy & Consulates in China Emergency Information for American Citizens Travel Advisory China - Level 3: Reconsider Travel By U.S. Mission China 16 MINUTE READ December 23, 2022 Travel Advisory China - Level 3: Reconsider Travel Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.

  3. China International Travel Information

    June 30, 2023 See Summaries - Mainland China, Hong Kong & Macau O D Reconsider travel to Mainland China due to the arbitrary enforcement of local laws, including in relation to exit bans, and the risk of wrongful detentions. Exercise increased caution when traveling to the Hong Kong SAR due to the arbitrary enforcement of local laws.

  4. Americans should reconsider travel to China due to the risk of ...

    CNN — Americans should reconsider travel to China due to the risk of wrongful detention, the US State Department warned in an updated travel advisory issued Friday. Although the...

  5. Travel Advisories

    China Travel Advisory: Other: June 30, 2023: Colombia Travel Advisory : Level 3: Reconsider Travel: January 2, 2024: Costa Rica Travel Advisory : Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution: ... Subscribe to get up-to-date safety and security information and help us reach you in an emergency abroad.

  6. US recommends Americans reconsider traveling to China due to arbitrary

    BEIJING (AP) — The U.S. recommended Americans reconsider traveling to China because of arbitrary law enforcement and exit bans and the risk of wrongful detentions. No specific cases were cited, but the advisory came after a 78-year-old U.S. citizen was sentenced to life in prison on spying charges in May.

  7. China Travel Advisory

    September 29, 2020 Reconsider travel to the People's Republic of China (PRC), including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), due to COVID-19 and arbitrary enforcement of local laws. Read the Department of State's COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.

  8. Advice

    With the end of its "zero covid" strategy, China has dropped significant measures like its frequent coronavirus testing and digital health codes for locals, or presenting negative covid tests or...

  9. China

    travel advisories and alerts Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) While at your destination (s) Why does CDC recommend packing these health-related items? Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness.

  10. US Government Issues China Travel Advisory

    As of June 30, 2023, mainland China has gotten a Level 3 travel warning from the US Department of State, advising people to reconsider travel due to the arbitrary enforcement of local laws, including in relation to exit bans, and the risk of wrongful detention.

  11. You Are Planning to Visit China: Here's What You Need to Know

    On June 30, the U.S. Department of State issued a travel advisory urging U.S. citizens to reconsider traveling to China due to concerns over "the arbitrary enforcement of local laws,...

  12. China's Open for Travel But Few Tourists Are Coming or Going

    A U.S. travel advisory recommends reconsidering travel to mainland China "due to the arbitrary enforcement of local laws, including in relation to exit bans, and the risk of wrongful detentions ...

  13. Travel to China 2024/2025: Entry Requirements, Visas, Tours

    From December 1st, 2023 to November 30th, 2024, travelers from France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia can enjoy a 15-day visa-free entry to China for tourism, business, transit, and visiting friends and relatives in China. Starting from August 30, all travelers entering China will no longer need to undergo any COVID-19 testing.

  14. Places the U.S. Government Warns Not to Travel Right Now

    About 10% of countries - 21 total - have a Level 4: "Do Not Travel" advisory as of Dec. 27, 2023. In Level 4 countries, the U.S. government may have "very limited ability" to step in should...

  15. U.S. Issues Travel Warning for China, Hong Kong

    Hong Kong was classified as a "Level 2.". The U.S. Department of State re-issued a travel warning against heading to China, including Hong Kong and Macau, due to the possibility of being ...

  16. China Travel Advisory

    April 3, 2023 By Josh Summers. The U.S. State Department issued a Level 2 Travel Advisory for citizens traveling to China starting in 2019 and continuing into 2020. The message was simple: exercise increased caution as you plan your trip to China. But what exactly does a travel advisory mean, and how could it affect your scheduled trip to China ...

  17. COVID-19 Travel Information

    December 29, 2022 COVID-19 Testing Required for Air Travelers Entering the United States from the People's Republic of China, including Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR.

  18. US issues China travel advisory over laws that could lead to wrongful

    The U.S. Department of State last week issued a travel advisory for Mainland China due to "arbitrary enforcement of local laws" that could harm Americans. The advisory comes weeks after a 78 ...

  19. Updated U.S. Entry Requirements for Travelers From China

    Updated U.S. Entry Requirements for Travelers From China. Travelers no longer need to get tested and show the negative COVID-19 test result, or show documentation of recovery from COVID-19, prior to boarding a flight to the U.S. from the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Macau, effective from Mar 10, 2023 at 3 PM ET.

  20. US issues travel advisory for China and Hong Kong due to 'arbitrary

    The US Department of State released a new travel advisory Friday for US citizens traveling to mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau suggesting travelers "reconsider travel" to the areas due to "arbitrary enforcement of local laws…and the risk of wrongful detentions.". The advisory for mainland China states: U.S. citizens traveling or residing in the PRC may be detained without access ...

  21. Number of foreign visitors to China in 2023 down more than 60% ...

    CNN —. It has been a year since China reopened its borders, but despite loosening its stringent Covid-19 restrictions, foreign travelers have been slow to return to the country with numbers down ...

  22. US travelers benefiting from China's visa rules

    Beijing has made it easier for US residents to travel to China by no longer requiring certain documents for a visa application as of Jan 1. "I was happy when I saw the announcement that they would ...

  23. China's Foreign Visitor Numbers Slow to Recover

    In June of last year, the U.S. State Department re-issued its level 3 travel alert on China with an update to reconsider travel there due to the "risk of wrongful detentions."

  24. COVID-19 Information

    The People's Republic of China (PRC) currently allows foreign nationals with valid residence permits and valid visas to enter the country under certain limited conditions. The U.S. Embassy is not involved in the creation of these policies, and they are subject to change at any time.

  25. Travel Advisory

    Travel Advisory. Title Publish Date. China Airlines is weighing passengers before boarding on certain flights, as part of a survey to determine average passenger weight. 25 Jan, 2024. Adjustments on prepaid excess baggage discount of CI/AE international sectors 19 Jan, 2024. Please beware of scams via phone calls or e-mails. 17 Jan, 2024.

  26. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Kerry's Travel to the People's

    Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry will travel to Beijing, People's Republic of China (PRC), from July 16 to July 19. During meetings with PRC officials, Secretary Kerry aims to engage with the PRC on addressing the climate crisis, including with respect to increasing implementation and ambition and promoting a successful COP28. For media […]

  27. Tensions simmering in the South China Sea and violence in Myanmar as

    Simmering tensions in the South China Sea. ... 6 warnings and an advisory in effect for 24 regions in the area ... former United States Ambassador to Laos from 2020 to 2023 who is now with the ...