Change to Advisory Sparks Concern, but Travel Remains OK
On January 3, 2019, the State Department issued an updated Travel Advisory for China. The update prompted concerns and questions for some travelers. Despite the change to the advisory, we do not recommend deferring or canceling travel to China. Our Watch List risk rating for China is consistent with the State Department’s level 2 rating.
Below, you can review our background information on the travel advisory and our advice for continued travel to China.
The 2019 State Department Travel Advisory
The State Department updates its level 1 and level 2 advisories at least once per year. The previous advisory for China was issued in January 2018, and so an updated advisory in January 2019 was not unexpected. The content remains largely unchanged from previous years. The January 2019 update emphasizes existing concerns over arbitrary detentions, exit bans, denied access to home country consular services, and restrictions for dual U.S.–China nationals. Chinese authorities are known to arbitrarily enforce local laws and special restrictions.
If you're traveling to China, read the China Travel Advisory and follow the advice.
Register your travel
We strongly encourage you to enter your itinerary and contact information in the International SOS MyTrips platform. Doing so allows International SOS and our staff to expedite assistance if you need help while abroad. It also enables us to advise you before your departure should changes to a travel advisory affect your trip.
Check your visa
Ensure that you have the appropriate visa for travel to China. For group travel, all members of the same group should obtain the same visa. Read our advice on visa requirements. You can also contact Travel Document Systems, Inc. (TDS), our visa and passport services vendor, for help. For free, they’ll advise you on your requirements, and for a small fee, they’ll assist you with routine and expedited applications.
Understand local laws
Review local laws and regulations, including the use of digital surveillance. To learn more about China, read the country guide on our International SOS member portal. You can also sign up to receive email alerts about major incidents and events in China that could affect your travel.
Additionally, we encourage you to:
- Review the Overseas Security Advisory Council's travel tips for China.
- Review our data security guidance.
- Download the International SOS app.
- Contact us if you have questions or concerns, or if you'd like to schedule a security consultation.
In an Emergency
If you’re arrested or detained while in China, or denied exit from the country, you should request immediate consular notification and call International SOS at +1-617-998-0000 or connect through the Assistance App.
If you need emergency medical or security support while traveling abroad, call the local equivalent of 911, if appropriate; then call International SOS at +1-617-998-0000 or connect through the Assistance App.