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Do's and Don'ts When Traveling in China


Foreigners wanting to travel in China can register in travel agencies in their countries or in China, which will arrange the trip. Travelers can also make arrangement by themselves. They should apply with a local Chinese organization of foreign affairs, consulates, or other organizations authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for tourist visas. In the event of more than five persons, the organizer has to apply for group tourist visas, which will be handled on their behalf by the organizer.

For foreigners whose government has signed visa agreement with the Chinese government, they could follow the agreement. Foreign travelers who want to travel in Tibet could apply for visa with the prior permission of the Tibetan Tourist Administration or its overseas offices.

Foreigners with tourist visas must enter or exit through passes opened to foreigners or designated passes especially for foreigners, and follow all entry-exit procedures. Foreigners are not allowed to enter areas not opened to them. Foreigners who want to visit, on official business, an area not opened to them should apply with the local public security organ for a Foreigner's Travel Permit. The permit should be used along with the passport.

A foreigner staying in China with tourist visa is not allowed to engage in activities unfitted to his position, such as employment, study, and illegal journalist interviewing. Foreigners staying in China must abide by Chinese law and respect Chinese habits and customs.

Foreigners traveling with their own transport vehicles should apply for approval before they enter China. These include bicycles, motorcycles, cars, boats, and aircraft.

A foreign tourist may travel in China during the approval period of his stay. If he continues traveling after the approved term of his stay expires, he should apply with the local public security organ for the elongation of his stay.


Inbound and outbound passengers should follow:

1. Customs Clearance

According to related laws and regulations, the luggage of inbound and outbound passengers must be under customs supervision and control. Passengers should make factually declaration to the customs on the actual information on the luggage they carry into or out of the territory.

2. Restricted Inbound and Outbound Items

Cigarettes, Liquor

Passengers Set Bounds to Duty-free Tobacco Products Set Bounds to Duty free>12°~ Liquors
Inbound and Outbound Hong Kong and Macao (including passengers from and to Hong Kong and Macao) 200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars, or 250 grams of cut tobacco One bottle (less than 0.75 litres)
Forth and back within 24 hours, or shuttle between the mainland and Hong Kong and Macao many times within a short period of time 40 cigarettes, or 5 cigars, or 40 grams of cut tobacco Not allowed for duty free
Others 400 cigarettes, or 100 cigars, or 500 grams of cut tobacco Two bottles (less than 1.5 litres)

Note: The limits on importation of non-duty-free cigarettes and liquor are the same as those of duty free; Passengers under 16 years old are not allowed to carry any cigarettes nor liquor.

Passenger's Personal Articles

Each passenger is allowed to carry a camera, a portable tape recorder, a small movie camera, a portable video-camera, and a portable word processor. If exceeding the scope, he or she should
make declaration to the customs. Passengers should bring what they have brought with them back on their departure with the permission of the customs.

Gold, Silver, and Articles Made of These Metals

Passengers with gold, silver, and articles made of these metals, each exceeding 50 grams, should make declaration to the customs, and should carry out. Gold, silver, and their products (including new arts and crafts articles, such as inlays and containers) bought from fixed shops shall be released by the customs after examination of the Special Receipts issued by the People's Bank of China.

Foreign Currencies

There is no limitation for the amount of foreign currencies, traveler's check, and credit card. Inbound passengers who are residents of China carrying more than US$2,000 or non-resident passengers with more than US$5,000 or an equivalent amount in other foreign currencies should make a declaration to the customs. When the passenger leaves China, outbound customs will release remaining foreign currency after examination against the declaration form issued by the customs
upon entry. For outbound passengers with foreign currencies exceeding the above-mentioned, the customs shall release the foreign currency after examination against the Foreign Currency Carriage Permit issued by the State Administration of Exchange Control.

Renminbi (RMB)

The limit of Renminbi for inbound and outbound passengers is 6,000 yuan. Inbound and outbound passengers with more than 6,000 yuan will not be allowed to enter or leave the territory.

Cultural Relics (including works of died famous contemporary calligraphers and painters)

If inbound passengers with cultural relics want to carry the relics out of the territory, they should make a clear declaration to the customs. Passengers could carry out the relics bought in China with the appraisal by the Chinese administrative departments for cultural relics. When cultural relics
leave the territory, the customs shall release them after examination against the export permit from these departments and the appraisal marks stamped on the relics.

If passengers carry cultural relics out of the territory but fail to declare them to the customs, the customs shall deal with them in line with law.

Raw and Prepared Traditional Chinese Medicines

The limit for tourists bound for foreign countries on raw and prepared traditional Chinese medicines is 300 yuan; for tourists to Hong Kong and Macao, 150 yuan. To mail to foreign countries, the limit is 200 yuan; to Hong Kong and Macao, 100 yuan. Outbound tourists carrying a reasonable amount of raw and prepared traditional Chinese medicines for personal purpose bought with foreign currency will go through the customs with related receipts and foreign currency exchange certificate.

Musk and raw and prepared traditional Chinese medicines exceeding the customs limit will not be allowed to exit.

Tourist Commodities

There is no restriction as to amount, value and variety for overseas tourists carrying tourist souvenirs and handicraft articles purchased with foreign currency in China except the variety of duty or with export permit in line with national regulations. The customs will release against related receipts and foreign currency exchange certificate.

3. Rules for Duty of Luggage and Mail Articles

To simplify customs procedure, Chinese Customs has instituted special tariff rules and rates for inbound passengers' luggage and inbound mail. The tariff rate includes 10%, 30%, 80%, and 100%. The tariff of articles will be charged ad valorem import rate. The CIF prices are approved, published
and carried out according to the retail prices on international market.

4. Articles Prohibited from Entry and Exit

Articles Not Allowed Into China

1. Various weapons, imitation weapons, ammunition, and explosives;
2. Counterfeit money and forged securities;
3. Printed matter, negatives, records, films, audio and video recordings, laser optical video-discs, computer storage media and other articles containing materials deemed harmful to China politically, economically, culturally, or ethically;
4. Deadly poisons;
5. Opium, morphine, heroin, marijuana, and other narcotics;
6. Dangerous bacteria, harmful insects, and other harmful animals, plants, and their products;
7. Food, drugs, and other articles from epidemic-stricken areas if such articles may be harmful to human beings and animals.

Articles That May Not Be Taken Out of China

1 . All articles mentioned above as prohibited for entry;
2. Manuscripts, printed matter, negatives, photos, records, films, audio and video recordings, laser optical video disc, computer storage medium and similar articles if they contain state secrets;
3. Cultural relics and relics not permitted to exit;
4. Endangered and rare animals and plants (including specimens), their seeds and breeding materials.

Quarantine Service

Inbound and outbound passengers must accept health quarantine inspections by frontier quarantine services if so requested.

Persons carrying such objects as microorganisms, tissues from the human body, biological products, blood, or blood products cannot enter or exit unless they apply with a health quarantine service and accept required quarantine inspections.

Persons who enter or leave China carrying, or consigning for shipment luggage or objects which may cause the spread of contagious disease must submit to health quarantine inspections. The quarantine inspection service is obliged to treat or destroy such articles as foodstuffs, drinks, and aquatic products if they are contaminated by contagious diseases.

Persons arriving from areas infected with yellow fever must present certificates of inoculation against yellow fever to the quarantine department when entering China. Any such person not having the above mentioned certificate will be detained for observation until the sixth day after leaving the infected area, or such person may be inoculated and detained until the time when the inoculation is deemed effective.

Health quarantine services are obliged by law to prevent any foreigner suffering from AIDS, venereal disease, leprosy, mental illness, or active tuberculosis from entering China.

Animal & Plant Quarantine

The following objects may not be brought into China:
1) Animal and plant pathogens (including bacterial and venomous vaccines), pests and other injurious
2) animals and plants, their products, and other quarantinable objects from countries and regions infected by infectious diseases;
3) animal carcasses;
4) soil.

Persons intending to bring animals, plants, and related products or other quarantinable objects into China must submit application forms to the customs and they should be examined by the frontier quarantine department. Those who bring animals into China must present quarantine and other certificates issued by the country or region of origin.

Each passenger is allowed to bring one pet into China.

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