Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 14 December 2023, 10:25 NZDT
  • Still current at: 29 May 2024

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If you are planning international travel at this time, please read our COVID-19 related travel advice here, alongside our destination specific travel advice below.

Exercise increased caution

Exercise increased caution in China (Level 2 of 4).

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China has low crime rates generally, however petty theft targeting foreigners such as pickpocketing, purse snatching and theft of passports, laptops and cellphones occurs. You should take appropriate steps to ensure that your belongings are secure, particularly on public transport, in popular tourist locations and shopping districts. New Zealanders should also be wary of ATM and credit card fraud, and only use ATMs in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business. There is also some risk of receiving counterfeit currency.

While serious crime, such as personal attacks against foreigners is relatively rare, incidents can occur, including through drinks being spiked. Care should be taken to ensure your food and drink is never left unattended. We recommend against accepting drinks from strangers or recent acquaintances.

There is a risk of armed banditry in remote areas bordering Pakistan, Myanmar, Laos, Viet Nam and Russia. Be vigilant if travelling in these areas.

Terrorist attacks are possible in China. New Zealanders in China are advised to pay close attention to their personal security at all times, monitor local media for security threats and follow any instructions issued by local authorities.

New Zealanders should be wary of scams targeting tourists when travelling in China. Common scams involve a tourist being invited for a massage, tea tasting or to a café or bar for a variety of reasons including to practice English. The tourist is then pressured to pay an exorbitant bill which may be accompanied with threats of violence, assault and credit card skimming.

Civil Unrest
Demonstrations occur from time to time and there has been civil unrest in the Xinjiang Uyghur and Tibet Autonomous Regions that has sometimes led to violence. The Chinese Government prohibits unpermitted demonstrations and unauthorised public gatherings may be dispersed by force. New Zealanders in China are advised to avoid all protests and demonstrations and comply with any instructions and restrictions issued by the local authorities.

Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
There have been instances of violent unrest. Increased security measures are in place. People of Uyghur descent are particularly affected. Security checks, curfews and restrictions on movement may be imposed or adjusted with little warning. Carry photo identification at all times.

Tibet Autonomous Region
Travel to the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) by foreigners requires a permit and participation in an organised tour. Entry conditions for foreigners are subject to change by the local authorities at short notice. Even if they already have been granted a travel permit, New Zealanders intending to travel to the TAR should check with their travel agent for updates before departure.

Severe Weather Events
China can experience severe weather events, such as typhoons, especially May – November, affecting southern and eastern coastal regions in particular. Contact your travel operator or airline for the latest departure information, and monitor local weather forecasts.  If there is a severe weather event, or natural disaster, follow the advice of the local authorities and update your family and friends in New Zealand about your situation.

General Travel Advice
Visa restrictions are strictly enforced in China. If you require a full visa you must obtain this prior to travel. Transit visas (issued on arrival) are available for some short visits, however, strict conditions apply, including the need to remain within a specified area and to provide evidence of onward travel to a third destination within a specified time limit. Visa and other entry and exit conditions can change at short notice, New Zealanders should contact the nearest Embassy of China or Consulate of China for up-to-date information.

Foreign nationals must register their place of residence with the Public Security Bureau within 24 hours of arrival in China or face fines and/or detention. Registering with a hotel will often fulfil this requirement; if unsure, advice should be sought from the Chinese authorities.  New Zealanders in China are also advised to carry their passport at all times. Police may undertake random checks and failure to provide identification may result in fines and/or detention.

New Zealanders should be aware that China has strict laws in relation to national security which may be interpreted broadly. Key concepts like ‘state security’, ‘national interest’, and ‘state secrets’ may have wide-ranging definitions in Chinese law. You could break the law without intending to and for activities that are not illegal in New Zealand. Travellers should be aware that public communications, including social media, may be monitored. Political statements critical of Chinese authorities could attract the attention of police.

Chinese authorities can place an exit ban upon individuals to prevent them leaving the country. An exit ban may relate directly or indirectly to any investigation Chinese authorities deem relevant, including criminal, civil or commercial matters. You may not be aware of the exit ban until you attempt to leave China.

China does not recognise dual nationality. Dual citizens travelling to China on a Chinese passport or identity card may not be granted access to New Zealand consular assistance. Travellers should read our advice on dual citizenship here.

If you have formally renounced Chinese citizenship, you should carry clear evidence that you have done so.

New Zealanders are urged to take note of China’s strict, and stringently enforced, laws against the possession, use or sale of illegal substances. Local authorities may undertake random drug tests and have conducted on the spot drug tests (urine or hair) in nightclubs and bars. If you test positive, the Chinese authorities may prosecute you regardless of where or when you consumed the drugs. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe and can include fines, lengthy imprisonment or the death penalty.

Air pollution levels may particularly affect children, the elderly and those with pre-existing heart and lung conditions. Some cities maintain air pollution alert systems and will issue a red alert when pollution is expected to be especially bad. You can check the pollution index levels for Beijing and other cities on the Air Quality Index website.

New Zealanders travelling or living in China should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders in China are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s SafeTravel website.

Travel tips

The New Zealand Embassy Beijing, China

Street Address 1 Ritan Dongerjie, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100600 Telephone +86 10 8532 7000 Email Web Site Hours Mon - Fri 0830 - 1700 hrs

New Zealand Consulate-General Guangzhou, China

Street Address Suite 3006, TaiKoo Hui Tower 1, 385 Tianhe Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou 510620 Telephone +86 20 8931 9600 Fax +86 20 8931 9610 Email Web Site Hours Mon - Fri 0830 - 1700 hrs

New Zealand Consulate-General Shanghai, China

Street Address 2801-2802A & 2806B-2810, Corporate Avenue 5, 150 Hu Bin Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai 200021 Telephone +86 21 5407 5858 Fax +86 21 5407 5068 Email Web Site Hours Mon - Fri 0830 - 1200, 1300 - 1700 hrs

See our regional advice for North Asia

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New Zealand Embassy China

Street Address
1 Ritan Dongerjie, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100600

Telephone: +86 10 8532 7000



Hours: Mon - Fri 0830 - 1700 hrs

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