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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

To travel to China, you will need to issue a health passport

We waited! Three years have passed – and China has slightly opened the borders to Russians. Since March 15, the issuance of all types of Chinese visas to foreigners has resumed. I arrived in Changchun earlier, when only a student, family or business visa was issued. Even before March 15, they tried to transport tourists with a business visa, which can be issued directly at the border post in the border towns of Suifenhe and Hunchun. Chinese travel agencies make an invitation and help you get a visa to enter China. Admittedly, the length of stay in China is limited.

<p class="">This is my second time in a month in China.  The first time he crossed the border as part of an official delegation on February 22.  Then the visa was issued by the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Vladivostok.  There was an official invitation from the Chinese side.  I am now in China at the invitation of a Chinese company in Chunchun, which deals with tourism.  Therefore, the visa is different.</p>

To receive an official invitation for a visa through the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese face certain difficulties. A series of approvals are required – why, to whom, who is inviting. Therefore, in order to bypass bureaucratic obstacles, it is easier to obtain a business visa directly at the border. However, you will need to contact the Consulate General who must apply for student visas, family visas and other types of visas.

It took me about 20 minutes to apply for a business visa at the border post. I had the invitation and all the documents, application forms with me. I just signed up. Here they photographed, printed the visa form and stuck it in the passport. Then the standard procedure: you first go through a quarantine cordon, then through border guards and customs. The whole thing took about 40 minutes. On the one hand, at the border post you can get a business visa to complete all the procedures faster, but if you suddenly make a mistake in your passport, you will have to redo everything. And there is no internet at the customs checkpoint, roaming does not work for everyone. Plus the language barrier.

Photo: Olga Bukharova</p><p class="">When foreigners crossed the border into China, all procedures remained standard.  But there was an innovation - it is necessary to fill out a health passport.  You will have to go through <a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href="">chinese website</a> and get a barcode.  Without it, they won't let China in and out.  A few terminals have been installed at the border post, through which you can print a health passport, but if there is a flow of tourists, the procedure will take some time.
<p class="">On the Chinese site, you must answer a number of questions: have you had COVID-19, what is the host country, where are you going to live, on which bus did you come (indicate its number) .  And most importantly, you must confirm that if the quarantine starts because of you, then you are responsible under Chinese law, which provides for up to three years in prison for spreading a coronavirus infection.  Do not be afraid, you can also answer the questions of the questionnaire on the site in English.</p>

I was driving from Vladivostok, to the border village of Kraskino, where the customs post is, I had to manage on my own. There is a car border crossing here, and from there buses run on schedule to the Chinese city of Hunchun. During the transition, few traveled to China for tourism. I met eight Russian tourists. There was also a married couple – he is Russian, she is Chinese and has a son. The woman was visiting her daughter who lives in China. Two businessmen were also traveling with me on the bus, they were met by partners at the border.

Photo: Konstantin Bakhirev

You immediately notice that in China almost everyone wears masks – on trains, in public places and even in private vehicles. It even becomes somewhat awkward that you are without it. But no one will say you have to wear a mask. The Chinese have already become a habit, even though all restrictions have been lifted. But they are apparently still fearful, or very disciplined. Even in the elevator, I encountered echoes of the pandemic – there were cotton swabs to press a button without contact.

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