Level 4: Do Not Travel

Country Affected:


Advisory Issued: 

June 5, 2020

Do not travel to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) due to continued COVID-19 travel and quarantine restrictions. Effective March 28, 2020, the PRC suspended entry into the PRC by foreign nationals holding visas or residence permits. Most commercial air carriers reduced or suspended routes to and from the PRC. While exceptions may be granted by PRC authorities, U.S. citizens who are able to enter the PRC will likely be subject to strict mandatory testing and quarantine requirements.

The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. Those currently in the PRC with an intent to depart should attempt to do so by commercial means. Travelers should be prepared for the possibility of travel restrictions with little or no advance notice, including flight cancelations and delays. U.S. citizens remaining in the PRC should follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and PRC health authorities’ guidance for prevention, signs and symptoms, and treatment. We strongly urge U.S. citizens remaining in the PRC to actively monitor and follow local health requirements and restrictions. In the event the situation deteriorates further, the ability of the U.S.  Embassy and Consulates to provide assistance to U.S. nationals within the PRC may be limited.

On January 23, 2020, the Department of State ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. personnel and their family members from Wuhan. On January 29, 2020, the Department of State allowed for the voluntary departure of non-emergency personnel and family members of U.S. government employees from the PRC. On January 31, 2020, the Department of State ordered the departure of all family members under age 21 of U.S. personnel in the PRC.

The CDC has issued a Global COVID-19 Pandemic Notice (Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel). The CDC has published suggestions on how to reduce your risk of contracting the novel Coronavirus. Visit the CDC webpage for expanded information about the novel Coronavirus, including prevention, signs and symptoms, and treatment.

Exercise increased caution in the PRC due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws for purposes other than maintaining law and order, including the use of exit bans.

Country Summary: The PRC government has asserted broad authority to prohibit U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries from leaving the PRC by using “exit bans,” sometimes keeping them in the PRC for years. The PRC government uses exit bans:

• to compel individuals to participate in PRC government investigations,

• to pressure family members to return to the PRC from abroad, and

• to aid PRC authorities in resolving civil disputes in favor of PRC national parties.

In most cases, U.S. citizens only become aware of their exit ban when they attempt to depart the PRC, and there is no reliable mechanism or legal process to find out how long the ban might continue or to contest it.

U.S. citizens may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime. U.S. citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention for reasons related to “state security.” Security personnel may detain and/or deport U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the PRC government.

Extra security measures, such as security checks and increased levels of police presence, are common in the Xinjiang Uighur and Tibet Autonomous Regions. Authorities may impose curfews and travel restrictions on short notice.

The PRC government does not recognize dual nationality. U.S.-PRC citizens and U.S. citizens of Chinese heritage may be subject to additional scrutiny and harassment, and the PRC government may prevent the U.S. Embassy from providing consular services. Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to the PRC:

• Enter the PRC on your U.S. passport with a valid PRC visa and keep it with you.

• If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or the nearest consulate immediately.

• If you plan to enter North Korea, read the North Korea Travel Advisory. Travelers should note that U.S. passports are not valid for travel to, in, or through North Korea, unless they are specially validated by the Department of State.

• Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

• Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter. Follow the U.S. Embassy on Twitter, WeChat, and Weibo.

• Review the Crime and Safety Reports for the PRC.

• Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Last Update: Reissued after periodic review with edits.

See the full advisory at the U.S. Department of State Website. 

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