China Reopens Borders Webinar Q&A | Return to China with Our Guided-Entry Visa Solution

September 29, 2020

Q&A Report Prepared by Newland Chase

Watch On-Demand Webinar Now – China Reopens Borders: Return to China with Our Guided-Entry Visa Solution

Q: What is an M visa, and what is an S2 Visa?

An M visa is a single-entry visa for foreigners who intend to go to China for commercial and trade activities. An S2 visa is for foreigners who intend to visit their family members who are foreigners working or studying in China, or for those who intend to go to China for other private matters. The intended duration of stay in China is no more than 180 days.

Q: What are the quarantine rules & COVID tests prior to, and upon, arrival in China? Will travelers know where they will be quarantined before arrival?

Approved travelers, including Chinese nationals and those traveling for short durations to attend essential meetings, should expect to spend 14 days in a quarantine facility. Upon entry into China, an additional nucleic acid test and an antibody test will be administered. Furthermore, if anyone aboard the flight tests positive for COVID-19 on arrival in China, then additional procedures may apply.  Travelers will not know in which facility they are to be quarantined.

Q: What if an individual has already been issued with a visa? Is it still valid or is a new application for a visa necessary?

It is still valid but it is retained since 28 March 2020. A new visa issued after 28 March is required if your current visa issued before 28 March.

Q: What are the requirements to be eligible for a visa to China?

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and various municipality governments have jointly issued various measures to facilitate the entry into China of essential employees for urgent/ critical business operations, scientific research or humanitarian aid.

Q: If I already have an M visa, do I need to get a new one as well as a Letter of Invitation (LOI)? How long is the application process?

Yes, an LOI is required and you need to apply for a new M visa. The application process is four weeks for the LOI and approximately one week for the visa application.

Q: What are some examples of “essential workers”?

The individual must be involved in any urgent or essential project(s) which would be adversely affected due to the individual’s inability to travel.

Q: What is the process for the Singapore-China Fast Lane? Can Newland Chase help clients based in Singapore?

Newland Chase is able to assist residents of Singapore to fly to China visa under the fast track.  We can assist with the preparation of documents, secure an appointment at the consulate and file the application on behalf of the client.  The fast channel must be applied for before the LOI – in coordination with our team in China, we can secure the LOI.

Q: When will a US citizen with a multiple entry visa be permitted to return to China?

If the individual has an urgent or critical business operation, they should apply for an LOI issued by the Foreign Affairs Office in China and a new M visa in order to reenter China.

Q: Can I apply for a Z visa in order to travel to Shanghai?

The Z visa is only issued in very limited circumstances. The most common visa type for essential travelers is the M – Business Visa. The M visa holder is allowed to apply for a work permit and residence permit while staying in Shanghai according to current policy, but the assessment of work eligibility should be carried out beforehand.

Q: Is China opening its borders to foreigners who do not fall into the essential worker categories?

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and various municipality governments have jointly issued various measures to facilitate the entry into China of essential employees for urgent/ critical business operations, scientific research or humanitarian aid.

Q: What are the required entry requirements and supporting documents from different countries into China for essential travel?

This depends on the country where the visa application will be lodged. Contact your Newland Chase immigration specialist for specific advice, or check with the Chinese embassy where you will apply for your visa.

Q: What rules apply to an individual returning to Shanghai from Singapore after a business trip?

The individual needs to apply for an LOI and a new M visa to reenter China.  A 14-day quarantine is required.

Q: If an individual has a valid work permit, but no visa or valid residence permit, can they apply for an LOI under the Essential Worker route and continue with their work permit and residence permit application after arrival in China?

This is permitted in Shanghai, but not in every city. Contact your Newland Chase immigration specialist for specific advice.

Q: Is a work permit application different to a business visa application?

A business visa is the most critical for those who intend to enter China. Watch our webinar on-demand for more information about business visas.


This white paper was prepared by Newland Chase. View as a downloadable PDF


On-Demand Webinar | China Reopens Borders: Return to China with Our Guided-Entry Visa Solution

With on-the-ground experience and extensive knowledge of the entire China market, join Newland Chase’s immigration and visa experts Edward Hu and Jane Li from our offices in Shanghai and Tianjin as they guide you through the rigorous application process for your mission-critical business travelers. Watch now.


Learn more about our Guided-Entry Visa solution. We are uniquely positioned to assess your eligibility to reenter China, navigating you through the complex visa issuance process and assisting in arranging any required documentation. Schedule a consultation with one of our experts for:

  • A personalized assessment to determine visa eligibility
  • Guidance on every step of the visa process, including complex government documents and assistance in obtaining them
  • Access to our expert consultant, a single point of contact, who will manage the process from start to finish


We’re here to help with all global immigration needs. Contact us to schedule a consultation to learn how we can support your business during and after the COVID-19 pandemic and keep up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 travel and immigration updates on our dedicated online resource – COVID-19: Latest Travel and Immigration Disruption.

This publication is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. Readers are reminded that immigration laws are subject to change. We are not responsible for any loss arising from reliance on this publication. Please contact Newland Chase should you require any additional clarification or case-specific advice.
Newland Chase, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CIBT, is the leading global provider of immigration and visa services for corporations and individuals with over 1,700 expert immigration and visa professionals, attorneys and qualified migration consultants located in over 70 offices in 25 countries.  
With thirty years of experience, CIBT is the primary service provider to 75% of Fortune 500 companies. CIBT offers a comprehensive suite of services under two primary brands: Newland Chase, focused on global immigration strategy and advisory services for corporations worldwide and CIBTvisas, the market leader for business and other travel visa services for corporate and individual clients.