Can I leave and return to China with my residence permit?

This is a hot topic among foreigners who stayed in China during the first days of the pandemic and they need to leave and return to China to handle emergency family matters and return. They all have a valid residence permit (Work/Personal matters/Family reunification), and they’d like to know if they can return to China with their existing residence permit (without having to file for a new visa outside)?

As we shared previously here on March 5, the Chinese Embassy/Consulates in the following 13 countries (Canada, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, France, Russia, Ukraine, India, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and South Africa) published news on their websites stating that if you enter those 13 countries, your residence permit will be temporarily invalid and you will need to apply for a new visa if you want to visit China.

However, on March 15, 2021, we published that 110 Chinese Consulates worldwide issue a Notice on Providing Facilitation for Visa Applicants Inoculated with COVID-19 Vaccines Produced in China.

So the question now is: If I’ve already been inoculated with Chinese vaccination and I will be visiting one of these 13 countries, can I leave and return to China with my valid Residence Permit (Work/Personal matters/Family reunification) without having to file for a new visa?

9 out of those 13 Chinese embassies have responded to this question via email and stated with statements similar to the following (this one from the Visa Center in the UK):

“Dear Applicant,

Based on the requirement from the Chinese Embassy, you do not need to apply for a new visa to travel to China given that you have already been inoculated with Chinese Vaccine and had a valid Chinese residence permit for work. However, the pre-flight Covid test of Health declaration is still required before your flight.”

The 9 embassies that responded are as follows:

  • Canada
  • UK
  • Belgium
  • Italy
  • France
  • Ukraine
  • Ethiopia
  • South Africa (*)
  • USA (*)

(*): Before purchasing an airline ticket to China, the Chinese embassy requests that you contact them for confirmation.


You are strongly advised to avoid unnecessary travel because the pandemic is still a real threat outside of China, and no one can guarantee that the policy will be the same tomorrow as it is today.

If you must travel, though, being vaccinated with the Chinese vaccination before departing would be a better option.