China Opens Its Borders to Essential Workers

June 26, 2020


China has begun to open its doors to business travelers and is permitting the entry of essential foreign workers performing necessary and urgent economic, trade, scientific or technological activities.

The Chinese government does not have a single definition of who is an essential worker and is reviewing each applicant on a case-by-case basis.

Individuals who qualify as essential should generally meet one or more of the following criteria: indispensable to large projects, necessary for continuity of business significant to China, vital in the development of science and technology, associated with the preservation of Chinese jobs, or executing urgent or important contracts or any work or business involving massive investments or economic benefits.

As a rule of thumb applicants should include but are not limited to: VVIP’s, C-level, mission critical staff of multinational corporations or humanitarian organizations.

These essential workers will only be admitted after a rigorous and thorough review of each applicant’s eligibility, a government-issued Letter of Invitation (LOI), and the issuance of a new business visa (M Visa) in the applicant’s home country.

Moreover, residents of Singapore, South Korea and Germany qualifying for an M visa invitation letter for necessary and urgent economic, trade, scientific or technological activities may now qualify for a fast-track route, exempting them from the 14-day quarantine requirement in certain provinces and cities (Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Tianjin and Zhejiang).

The applicant needs to obtain negative COVID-19 test results in their home country after their M visa is issued and no more than three days before traveling. On arrival, they are tested again and quarantined for 1-2 days. The local district government in China will assign a designated car and driver to transport the foreign national during at least their first 14 days in China, and may pay some other costs.

Travelers who need to travel between the fast lane regions in China within the first 14 days upon arrival must, through the host company or government agency, obtain in advance the approval of the provincial/municipal government of the next destination. Travelers will only be allowed to travel outside the six fast lane regions after staying in the fast lane region(s) for 14 days.

Newland Chase can help your organization determine if an individual meets eligibility requirements. Please contact a member of our team for additional support.

New Accelerated Webinar – China Reopens Borders: Navigating the Essential Worker Application Process

Newland Chase is hosting two short, coffee-break length accelerated webinars of 30-minutes each that focus on China’s gradual reopening to business travelers. With on-the-ground experience and extensive knowledge of the entire China market – Edward Hu and Jane Li from our offices in Shanghai and Tianjin will be your expert visa and immigration guides to the rigorous application process for your mission-critical business travelers. Register below: