Official Global Travel Advisory
Avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice.
As foreign governments implement strict travel restrictions and as fewer international transportation options are available, you may have difficulty returning to Canada or may have to remain abroad for an indeterminate period.
If you are outside of Canada:
- you may have difficulty obtaining essential products and services
- you may face strict movement restrictions and quarantines
- your insurance may not cover your travel or medical expenses
- we may have limited capacity to offer you consular services.
If you are currently outside Canada or you are returning home, see COVID-19 safety and security advice for Canadians abroad.
If you need financial help to return to Canada, see COVID-19: Financial help for Canadians outside Canada.
Avoid all cruise ship travel due to COVID-19.
China Register Travel insurance Destinations
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Latest updates: The Health tab was updated - travel health notices (Public Health Agency of Canada)
COVID-19 – Global travel advisory
Effective date: March 13, 2020
Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.
This advisory overrides other risk levels on this page, with the exception of any risk levels for countries or regions where we advise to avoid all travel.
China - AVOID NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL
Avoid non-essential travel to China due to widespread community transmission of COVID-19.
Safety and security
Safety and security
COVID-19 - Local response
Preventative measures and restrictions are in place.
- Follow the instructions of local authorities, including those related to physical distancing
- Avoid crowded areas
You may travel within the country if you have not travelled internationally and have not visited an area of increased risk in China in the past 14 days. In certain locations, you may be requested or required to use a mobile health application to share your movements with local authorities.
Most airlines have suspended or reduced flights to and from the country. A number of countries are denying entry to foreigners who have been in China up to 14 days before their planned arrival.
All travellers arriving from outside of China are required to self-isolate for 14 days. Those travelling within China may also be required to do so. You may be required to self-isolate in your residence or at another designated location, including in central quarantine facilities, at your own expense. Compliance with the period of isolation may be monitored by local authorities.
Beijing authorities require that all international passenger flights bound for Beijing be diverted to a third location for passengers to undergo health checks and clear customs before they arrive in the capital. Expect lengthy delays. You risk having to stay in the third location for a period of quarantine that could last 14 days.
At any point, you may be required to undergo COVID-19 testing or be quarantined based on your health condition, previous location or contact with others. Temperature checks are conducted in many locations, including hotels, stores and shopping centers.
Concern over imported cases of COVID-19 remains high. Foreigners may be refused entry to certain businesses and other sites, including hotels and restaurants.
Many shops, restaurants, schools, and cultural and entertainment sites are closed.
The Government of Canada’s ability to provide in-person consular assistance is limited, especially in areas where restrictions have been imposed.
Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
It is normal to see armed police in Xinjiang. Security checks are also common. Chinese authorities are increasingly detaining ethnic minorities in the region, without due process. Family members of Canadian citizens with Chinese citizenship have been detained.
Though accurate information remains hard to obtain, violence and unrest in the region has appeared to subside since 2016. The situation remains tense. Extraordinary security measures remain in place. Expect significant travel delays due to these extraordinary security measures. Authorities may impose curfews and restrictions on short notice.
Avoid gatherings and demonstrations, always carry ID and follow the instructions of local authorities.
There is a threat of terrorism. Since early 2014, a number of explosions and knife attacks have occurred in public places, including in busy railway stations, resulting in injuries and fatalities. There is a higher risk of attacks in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
Further attacks cannot be ruled out.
Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, purse snatching and theft of mobile phones and laptop computers, is prevalent, even during the day. Criminals target foreigners, especially in major cities and tourist areas.
Be vigilant in all crowded locations.
Don’t carry large sums of money. Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times. While violent crime is relatively rare, foreigners have been attacked and robbed and some have been killed.
Petty crime and sexual harassment can occur on buses and overnight trains. Ensure that the train compartment contains packages belonging only to you and other occupants. Store personal belongings in a safe place and do not leave the compartment unattended. Doors should be securely locked.
There is a risk of armed bandit attacks in remote parts of China.
Police presence may be poor around border areas.
Exercise caution in popular tourist areas (particularly in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square and Shanghai’s the Bund, East Nanjing Road and People’s Square), where scammers target foreigners.
Taxi, motorcycle and pedicab drivers have sometimes overcharge clients, especially at airports. They may also attempt to give you counterfeit currency. Most taxi drivers don’t speak English or French, so you should arrange for a Chinese-speaking person to write out your destination in Chinese characters before you go.
To minimize the risk of being overcharged:
- Use only reputable taxis.
- Avoid unlicensed “black taxis.”
- Do not agree to multiple passengers.
- Negotiate fares prior to entering the taxi, and/or request that the taxi driver use the meter.
- Request that the driver provide you with a receipt or “fapiao.”
- Request that the driver remove your luggage from the trunk (if applicable) before you pay the fare.
Locals may invite foreigners to a nearby establishment for a drink (usually tea or alcohol), a massage or other services. The targets of the scam then have to pay an exorbitant bill (sometimes thousands of dollars), sometimes under threat of injury. In some cases, the person was harmed.
Be cautious of unsolicited requests from strangers to “practice English” or to accompany them to an art gallery, teahouse or an unknown location.
Should you find yourself the victim in such a scam:
- Get to a safe location immediately.
- Take note, as soon as possible and while your memory is still fresh, of the name and address of the facility where you were held. This information is required by police to identify the persons involved and issue a report.
- Report the incident to the police and obtain a police report.
- Call your credit card company to report the scam. They will likely request a copy of the police report to cancel the transaction.
Foreigners have received calls from a caller claiming to be the police. The caller says that local authorities are investigating them for identity theft or money laundering operation, and requests a fund transfer to resolve the issue. Don’t send any money in this type of situation.
Internet censorship and cyber security
China blocks access to several websites and online services within its territory, including Google, Gmail, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and some foreign news sites.
Learn about cyber security while travelling.
Tensions on Korean Peninsula
Tensions on the neighbouring Korean Peninsula could escalate with little notice, and the security situation could deteriorate suddenly. Tensions may increase before, during and after North Korean nuclear and missile tests, military exercises or as the result of incidents or military activities at or near the inter-Korean border. Monitor developments, remain vigilant and follow the instructions of local authorities. We strongly recommend that you register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service to receive latest updates.
Demonstrations are illegal without prior approval from the Chinese government. Participants may be subject to severe legal action.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Road conditions vary throughout the country. Drivers often don’t respect the rules of the road and traffic laws are not consistently enforced.
China has an extensive passenger train system, including high-speed trains. You must present a passport to purchase a ticket and to board the train.
Taxis are available in major cities and are easier to obtain at hotels or taxi stands. Local taxis will sometimes avoid picking up foreigners to avoid the inconvenience of clients who don’t speak Chinese. Self-drive (rental) or chauffeur-driven cars are available for rent in major cities. Ride sharing services are also available in China.
Ferry accidents have occurred in China. Exercise caution and common sense when using marine transportation. Always use available safety equipment, such as lifejackets and seatbelts, and do not board ferries that appear overloaded or unseaworthy.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.
Live piracy report - International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre
If you intend to trek:
- never do so alone and always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
- buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
- ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
- ensure that you are properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
- inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back to camp
- know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal
- obtain detailed information on trekking routes before setting out and do not venture off marked trails or slopes
COVID-19 - Entry, exit and transit restrictions
In an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), most governments have implemented special entry and exit restrictions for their territory. Consider even your transit points, as many destinations have implemented strict transit rules which could disrupt your travel. Before travelling, verify if the local authorities of both your current location and destinations have implemented any specific restrictions related to this situation.
Restrictions imposed could include:
- Entry bans, particularly for non-residents
- Exit bans
- Quarantines of 14 days or more upon arrival, regardless of where you are arriving from
- Health screenings
- Border closures
- Airport closures
- Flight suspensions to/from certain destinations, and in some cases, all destinations
- Suspensions or reductions of other international transportation options
Additional restrictions can be imposed suddenly. Airlines can also suspend or reduce flights without notice. Your travel plans may be severely disrupted, making it difficult for you to return home. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance related to changes to your travel plans.
- Monitor the media for the latest information
- Contact your airline or tour operator to determine if the situation will disrupt your travel plans
- Contact the nearest foreign diplomatic office for information on destination-specific restrictions
Foreign diplomatic offices in Canada – Global Affairs Canada
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from Chinese authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months upon entry into China.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Working visa: Required
All visas and residence permits issued before March 28, 2020, to foreign citizens currently outside of China are suspended until further notice. You may re-apply for a visa if you must travel for exceptional reasons.
Pay particular attention to the length of stay permitted after each entry on your Chinese visa. Overstaying can lead to fines and administrative detention.
Temporary suspension of entry by foreigners – Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Transit without visa and visa-free stays
Transit without visa and visa-free stay programs have been temporarily suspended.
Temporary suspension of entry by foreigners – Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Visa application outside of Canada
If you are applying for a visa outside of Canada, check with the Chinese embassy or consulate nearest you to make sure that it issues visas to Canadians.
Visiting Hong Kong and Macao
Obtain a visa allowing multiple entries if you plan to travel between Hong Kong, Macao and mainland China.
Applying for visas for mainland China in Hong Kong - China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Hong Kong
Proof of onward travel
Be prepared to show proof of onward travel, including all of the documents you need to enter your next destination.
Chinese immigration officials will take and retain the fingerprints of Canadians between 14 and 70 years old upon their entry into the country. Some exceptions may apply.
Screening of digital devices
Increased screening of travellers’ digital devices has been reported at border crossings between mainland China and Hong Kong.
All foreigners (tourists, visitors and long-term residents) must register their place of residence with the local public security bureau within 24 hours of arrival. If you are staying in a hotel, registration is normally done as part of the check-in process; those staying with family or friends in a private home must register themselves. Failure to do so can result in fines and/or detention. Carry proof of your registration.
Foreigners holding Z, X or J-1 visas must also apply for a residence permit, within 30 days of entry, from the Exit and Entry Department of the local public security bureau.
Tibet and Tibetan autonomous prefectures
You must obtain a permit and be taking part in an organized tour to travel to Tibet. Contact a reputable travel agency, either within or outside of China, for more information. Chinese authorities occasionally suspend issuing permits to foreigners. Where possible, make full payment for travel conditional upon a travel permit being secured, while noting that changes in the security situation in Tibet can affect travel and related government policies at any time.
Chinese authorities occasionally deny tourist entry to Tibetan autonomous prefectures in Sichuan and Qinghai. Contact a reputable travel agency before travelling to these regions.
Chinese authorities may place an exit ban on an individual to prevent them from leaving the country. An exit ban can relate to investigations into an individual, their family or an employer, and in criminal and civil matters, including business disputes. You may not be aware that authorities have placed an exit ban on you until you try to leave the country. It is difficult to obtain information on bans from Chinese authorities. If you are unable to leave the country because of an exit ban, consult a lawyer and contact the closest office of the Government of Canada.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Pandemic COVID-19 all countries: avoid non-essential travel outside Canada - April 19, 2020
- Polio: Advice for travellers - February 4, 2020
- Global Measles Notice - July 23, 2019
- Avian influenza - January 28, 2019
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain. It is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is low for most travellers. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to mosquito bites (e.g., spending a large amount of time outdoors) while travelling in regions with risk of Japanese encephalitis.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Polio *Proof of vaccination*
- Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up to date.
- One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended as an adult.
Proof of vaccination:
If you are staying more than 4 weeks in this country, you may need to show proof of polio vaccination when you leave the country.
Make sure that the polio vaccination is documented on the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis. This is the only document accepted as proof of vaccination.In Canada, they are provided at Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres.
Carry the certificate as proof of vaccination.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
- Tick-borne encephalitis is present in some areas of this country.
- It is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
- It is spread to humans by the bite of infected ticks or when you consume unpasteurized milk products.
- Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to ticks during outdoor activities.
- A vaccine against TBE does exist but is only available in countries where the disease is present.
- Learn more on what you can do to prevent tick-borne encephalitis (TBE)?
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in East Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in East Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral disease that typically causes fever, bleeding under the skin, and pain. Risk is generally low for most travellers. It is spread to humans though contact with infected animal blood or bodily fluids, or from a tick bite. Protect yourself from tick bites and avoid animals. There is no vaccine available for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.
- In this country, dengue fever is a risk to travellers year-round. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue fever can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue fever changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. After a decline in reported dengue cases worldwide in 2017 and 2018, global numbers have been steeply rising again.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in some areas in Eastern Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
There have been human cases of avian influenza in this country.
Avian influenza is a viral infection that can spread quickly and easily among birds. In rare cases, it can infect people.
- avoid high risk areas such as poultry farms and live animal markets
- avoid areas where poultry may be slaughtered
- avoid contact with birds (alive or dead)
- avoid surfaces that may have bird droppings or secretions on them
- ensure all poultry dishes, including eggs, are well cooked
Hand, foot and mouth disease
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common viral illness that mainly affects infants and children. Travellers are at increased risk if visiting or living in overcrowded conditions. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against this disease.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Medical care is widely available in urban areas, but not in remote areas. Ask doctors and dentists to use sterilized equipment. Medical care in clinics offering international standard services to foreigners is much more expensive. Payment is expected at time of service. Medical evacuation can be very expensive and you may need it in case of serious illness or injury.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Tibet, Qinghai, western Sichuan and parts of Xinjiang are situated at altitudes exceeding 3,000 meters. Acute mountain sickness may occur at high altitudes. Be well informed about the potential health hazards at high altitudes.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You must abide by local laws.
Chinese authorities apply, sometimes arbitrarily, the death penalty for both violent and non-violent crimes.
Detention during the investigative period before charges are laid is common and can be lengthy. Some defence lawyers may be reluctant to accept cases involving foreigners. Consult a Canadian government office in China if you experience such difficulty.
Carry adequate identification, such as a passport and valid visa or residence permit, at all times. Police carry out random checks and failure to produce proper identification could potentially lead to fines or detention. Keep a photocopy of your passport in case of its loss or seizure.
Endangering national security
Chinese authorities may define certain behaviours and activities as “endangering national security” that would not be considered as such in Canada. If you are suspected of endangering national security, you will be subject to questioning. Chinese authorities may detain you for up to 6 months before you are formally arrested. Note that access to legal representation is frequently denied in the initial stages of a national security case, and trials often take place in closed court. If you are detained, you should immediately request access to a lawyer and request notification of the nearest Canadian diplomatic mission. Canadian diplomatic missions can provide you or your family with a list of lawyers.
If you previously occupied a position that was in any way affiliated with the government of China, and left your position without receiving authorization or without following formal procedures, you may be considered a defector by Chinese authorities. This can be the case regardless of the seniority of the position you occupied, even if you left this position a long time ago and you did not handle sensitive or classified materials. Authorities may detain you even if you have previously travelled to or resided in China without issue. Consult a Chinese criminal lawyer to understand how this may apply to you.
Penalties for possession, use, production or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict and include the death penalty. These laws are strictly enforced and apply to persons 14 years and older. Penalties can be assigned arbitrarily.
Local authorities conduct random drug tests (urine or hair). Police have raided nightclubs and bars and subjected patrons to on-the-spot drug testing. Based on positive drug test results, authorities can prosecute drugs crimes regardless of where or when drugs were consumed. This applies to drugs consumed legally in a foreign country before entering China.
There are absolute prohibitions against arms, drugs and plant or animal products considered infested with disease or pests. There are also restrictions on the entry of printed matter, film, photos, videotapes and CDs considered detrimental to the interests of China.
If you intend to reside in China, be advised that only one pet (dog or cat) per person can be imported. A Canadian animal health inspection certificate and vaccination certificate should be stamped by your local Animal Health Office of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Animals without the proper documentation will be held in quarantine at the port of arrival and could be destroyed if the proper documentation is not provided.
Find the Animal Health Office nearest you - Canadian Food Inspection Agency
There are restrictions on certain religious activities, such as preaching, distributing literature and associating with unapproved religious groups, including some Christian, Buddhist and Muslim organizations. Chinese law also prohibits overseas nongovernmental organizations from engaging in or sponsoring religious activities. The Falun Gong movement is banned in China. Participants in Falun Gong activities or Falun Gong-related demonstrations are subject to legal action that may include detention, arrest, imprisonment and deportation.
There are restrictions on political activities, including participating in public protests or sending private electronic messages critical of the government. Participants may be detained and future travel to China may be restricted by Chinese authorities.
Travel near military installations is restricted. Photography of military installations or government buildings is prohibited and offenders may be detained, arrested and imprisoned. Seek permission from local authorities before taking photographs.
Gambling and the promotion of gambling activities is illegal in mainland China.
China does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Same sex marriages are not legally recognized in China. Some prejudice still exists against LGBTQ2 communities and authorities sometimes censor social media content on LGBTQ2-related topics.
Canadian and international driving licences are not recognized in China. Foreigners must hold a foreigner residence permit and meet local requirements to obtain a Chinese driver’s licence.
Carefully consider the implications of driving in China. Foreign drivers involved in an accident face harsh penalties. Police officers have the right to detain foreigners suspected of being responsible for road accidents until their case is closed, which can take years.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in China.
If local authorities consider you a citizen of China, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk.
If you are a Canadian of Chinese origin travelling to China, you may be asked to provide your Chinese name by border authorities. Ensure that you are well informed about Chinese law and practices relating to determination and loss of Chinese citizenship, including cancelling a household register (hukou) and applying to renounce Chinese citizenship. Contact the nearest Chinese diplomatic or consular office for more details.
Canadian children born to at least one parent who is a Chinese citizen may be deemed Chinese citizens under China’s Nationality Law. The child’s Canadian citizenship may not be recognized by Chinese authorities, and the family may be subject to family planning regulations.
Doing business in China
Canadian business travellers have been detained and had their passport confiscated as a result of business disputes with their Chinese counterparts. Seek legal advice from professionals in China, as well as in Canada, before proceeding with business agreements or arrangements. Ensure that all documents are translated so that conditions, terms and limitations are understood. Disputes are often costly and prolonged, and you may be subject to a travel ban restricting you from leaving the country until the matter is resolved.
There have been incidents involving foreigners being held against their will at their work place. These incidents, which can be accompanied by threats of violence, are often the result of other companies or disgruntled employees attempting to resolve business and employment disputes.
Doing business in China - Canadian Trade Commissioner Service
There are many teaching opportunities in China. However, make sure you are well informed before signing a contract. Ensure that the contract specifies the maximum number of classroom hours per day and per week, maximum work days per week, and vacation periods. Canadians teaching in China, particularly at newly established private secondary schools and private English training centres, have often found their employers unable or unwilling to honour contract terms or to assist in obtaining Chinese employment visas and other permits required for foreigners to teach lawfully in China.
If you are travelling to China to work or study, you may be required to possess medical insurance (coverage of 400,000 renminbi). Verify this stipulation with the school or employer prior to arriving in China. It is illegal to work on a tourist (L) visa or on a working (Z) visa linked to a company other than your employer. Canadian citizens have been detained and forced to leave the country for working illegally.
Learn about studying abroad if you plan to study or conduct research in China.
The currency is the renminbi (RMB). The basic unit of currency is the yuan. Counterfeit renminbi are relatively common, especially in southern China. It is illegal to use foreign currency. Exchange foreign currency at officially approved facilities only. Generally, only international hotels and some larger shops accept international credit cards. Some Chinese banks will provide cash advances using credit card accounts, but they may charge for the service. It is possible to use bank cards to draw on your Canadian bank account at an increasing number of ATMs, especially in urban areas. Credit cards are not always accepted and the availability of ATMs is limited outside major cities.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Typhoons and monsoons
The typhoon and monsoon (rainy) season extends from April to October. Typhoons usually occur along the southern and eastern coasts. During this period, even small storms can quickly develop into major typhoons. Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged.
Flooding is common in central, western and southern China, particularly areas bordering the Yangtze River. The Karakoram and Khunjerab Pass routes can be hazardous due to landslides.
If you decide to travel to China during the typhoon and monsoon season:
- know that you expose yourself to serious safety risks
- be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
- stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
- carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
- follow the advice and instructions of local authorities
Air pollution can be severe across much of China. Monitor air pollution levels, which change quickly.
Some cities maintain air pollution alert systems. During periods of severe air pollution, expect school closures, outdoor event cancellations and car usage limitations and disruptions to transportation. During periods of high pollution, limit your activities outdoors, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.
- Air pollution in China - World Air Quality Index
- Pollution alert level for Beijing - Municipality of Beijing
- Pollution alert level for Shanghai - Municipality of Shanghai
China is located in an active seismic zone and is prone to earthquakes. Familiarize yourself with the security measures in place at your accommodations while in China. In the event of an earthquake, pay careful attention to all official warnings and follow evacuation orders issued by the Government of China. Aftershocks could occur for hours, days or even weeks after the initial earthquake.
What to do during an earthquake - Government of Canada
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 110
- medical assistance: 120
- firefighters: 119
- roadside assistance: 112
Beijing - Embassy of Canada
Chongqing - Consulate General of Canada
Guangzhou - Consulate General of Canada
Shanghai - Consulate General of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the nearest Canadian government office and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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