Immigration weekly update: January 30, 2020

Coronavirus: Effects on travel and immigration

Restrictions implemented in China and other countries attempting to minimize the spread of coronavirus may affect business travel plans, as well as foreign nationals already overseas whose immigration documents are due to expire.



  • The Chinese immigration authorities are expected to grant a grace period to foreign nationals who have temporary visas or residence permits that are due to expire
  • Wuhan: all public transport has been suspended, and all rail and air departures from the city have been cancelled. The travel ban has extended to several other cities in the Hubei province. Various services for Chinese citizens have been suspended including passport processing, exit-entry permits, and endorsements for Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. Citizens returning to China will continue to receive services at exit and entry offices at all ports
  • Beijing and Shanghai: exit and entry services are suspended until Feb. 2, 2020
  • Shanghai: all non-essential enterprises will remain closed until Feb. 9, 2020

Hong Kong

  • Most immigration services are suspended until Feb. 2, 2020, as civil servants have been asked to remain at home
  • The following measures have also been taken to limit travel between Hong Kong and the mainland:

– Suspension of new visas to mainland tourists

– Closures of six borders

– Reduction of the number of flights to mainland China

– Suspension of the MTR’s intercity services and closure of West Kowloon station

  • An entry ban has been issued to anyone who is a resident of Hubei or has visited in the last two weeks


  • Quarantine measures have been put in place for Singapore citizens, permanent residence and long term pass holders who have visited Hubei in the last two weeks, as well as for holders of PRC passports issued in Hubei
  • All PRC passport holders issued in Hubei, and all new visitors to Hubei, in the last two weeks will not be granted entry to Singapore or allowed to transit through
  • Previously issued visas, as well as visa-free transit facilities and the issuance of new visas to PRC passport holders issued in Hubei will be suspended. They will not be allowed to enter Singapore
  • The Ministry of Manpower (MoM) will reject all new work pass applications for foreign workers from Hubei


  • Visitors from the Hubei province will not be granted entry, as well as any foreign national that has visited China (PRC) in the last two weeks will not be allowed entry into Taiwan
  • The following temporary application suspensions are in place from Chinese citizens: for tourism, social exchanges, professional exchanges or aesthetic medical care. Chinese citizens who have obtained an entry permit will have their entry postponed. Those permitted to enter Taiwan on an entry permit or with Taiwan residence are required to conduct self-health management for two weeks
  • Applications for business activities, excluding contract execution and corporate internal transfers, will be suspended
  • Chinese citizens will not be allowed to visit Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu Islands for all purposes
  • Additional documentation will be required for new visa applications

Other countries

Macao: entry restrictions are in place for non-residents from the Hubei province and those who have visited Hubei in the last 14 days, unless proof of non-infection is provided. Quarantine measures are in place for travelers from Hubei already in China.

Malaysia: the issuance of entry visas, work permits and dependent permits from passports issued in Wuhan City have been put on hold.

Vietnam: the issuance of tourist visas to Chinese citizens (including people from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau) have been temporarily suspended.

South Korea: penalty fees will not be imposed on foreign nationals who have overstayed their permitted period and who are coronavirus patients until they have recovered. Medical institutions must officially confirm these patients.

Philippines, Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan: all visa-on-arrivals from China have been suspended.

Mongolia: the border with China has been closed.

India: the e-visa service for Chinese passport holders and applicants of other nationalities residing in China has been suspended. e-Visa’s are issued online for the purpose of tourism, business, medical etc. Visas that have already been issued will no longer be valid.

U.S.: the State Dept has issued a Travel Alert Level 4, their highest travel advisory and is warning U.S. citizens not to travel to China at all. Commercial carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China. Those currently in China should consider departing using commercial means. On Jan. 23, the Department ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. personnel and their family members from Wuhan. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in the Hubei province.

Looking ahead

At Crown, we will monitor the situation and continue to provide updates as they become available. We will contact individual clients to advise further on any new or existing applications that are already in progress in the affected locations. For any urgencies in the APAC region, please contact Debra Beynon, Regional Immigration manager, or Roberta Carnaccini, Global Operations Director, Immigration.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from Peregrine Immigration Management. Further information is available from the National Immigration Administration.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Debra Beynon, Regional Immigration Manager, APAC.

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