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After Flattening the COVID-19 Curve, China Says No To Foreigners . . . For Now

Effective at midnight China Standard Time on Saturday, March 28, 2020, China is temporarily suspending the entry of foreign nationals who hold a valid ordinary visa or residence permit. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the ban extends to all foreign nationals except holders of diplomatic, service, courtesy, and ordinary C (crew members of international transportation, including aircraft, trains, ships, and trucks) visas. Entry with all other ordinary visas, including residence permits (category D), transit (category G), tourism (category L), and commerce and trade (category M) are suspended.

The travel restrictions also extend to region-specific entry policies such as holders of APEC Business Travel Cards, Hainan 30-day visa-free waiver, Shanghai 15-day visa-free policy for cruise tour groups, Guangdong foreign tours through Hong Kong or Macao SAR, and Guangxi visa-free tours from ASEAN countries. Foreign nationals may enter China with an ordinary visa issued at a Chinese embassy after March 26 for “necessary” economic, trade, scientific, or technological activities, or emergency humanitarian needs.

The entry restrictions are part of a broader Chinese policy to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) into China from foreign countries. Simultaneously with the entry restrictions, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) is restricting the number of international flights in and out of the country. Effective March 29, the CAAC is limiting all Chinese airlines to just one weekly flight on a single route to any one foreign country. The same directive permits foreign airlines to operate one weekly flight on a single route into China. Planes may not exceed 75% capacity. These restrictions will likely limit the ability of Chinese citizens currently abroad to return to China.

Local governments are also imposing restrictions on all international travelers. Effective immediately, all international travelers into Shanghai will be required to quarantine for 14 days. Hong Kong and Macau have already banned entry by foreigners and implemented a mandatory quarantine for those arriving from other parts of China, as has Taiwan.

The Chinese government has not announced how long the entry restrictions will remain in place, but has indicated that “[t]he suspension is a temporary measure that China is compelled to take in light of the outbreak situation and the practices of other countries.”

© Copyright 2020 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP

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Frank Samolis, Squire Patton Boggs Law Firm, International Trade Attorney
Partner

Frank Samolis is co-chair of our International Trade Practice. He advises clients on international trade matters, including trade law, trade policy and legislation, and international trade negotiations. He is also chair of our India Practice Group and the leader of our Colombia Desk, Latin America Task Force.

Frank handles matters before the Office of the US Trade Representative, other Executive Branch Trade agencies, the US International Trade Commission, US Court of International Trade, US Customs Service and the US Congress. Frank has represented foreign sovereigns or foreign...

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Rory Murphy, Squire Patton, public policy guidance lawyer, business diplomacy attorney
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Rory Murphy is a member of our Public Policy Practice, where he focuses on providing US public policy guidance, global cultural and business diplomacy advice that helps US and foreign governments and entities with doing business around the globe.

Rory joins the firm after spending two years as a Policy Analyst at the US Export-Import Bank (EXIM), where he represented the agency at international negotiations on export finance at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and at the International Working Group on Export Credits. He briefed and advised Chairman Fred Hochberg, board members and senior staff members on issues related to China, trade policy and international developments in export lending. Rory has in-depth experience in analyzing bank programs and policies and assessing their compliance with international obligations.

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Stacy Swanson, Public Policy Specialist, Squire Patton Boggs Law Firm
Public Policy Specialist

Stacy Swanson helps sovereign governments successfully navigate Washington and understand United States Government policy. She regularly provides clients with strategies which effectively leverage existing relationships to advocate policy objectives before the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government. 

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Ludmilla Kasulke International Trade Attorney
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Ludmilla (Milla) Kasulke draws on her experience in both domestic and international policy to assist clients on trade matters. Milla provides multinational corporations, sovereign governments and entities, and quasi-government entities with advice on a wide range of trade policy, legal, and regulatory issues. She has been actively engaged in all aspects of the Section 232 process, including the exclusion petition process, and regularly advises clients on the impacts of current and potential new actions. Milla also regularly counsels clients on the impacts of current and potential new trade...

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