Chinese officials recently outlined the procedures recipients of “non-inactivated” U.S. COVID-19 vaccinations should follow when applying for QR health codes to travel from the U.S. to China.

Key Points:

  • Vaccination doses. Travelers should complete “all prescribed doses” of their COVID-19 vaccine before planning travel. More information on the required doses is available here.
  • PCR and IgM antibody test. Travelers must take PCR and IgM antibody tests before traveling. Officials have stressed that because non-inactivated vaccines may yield positive IgM antibody tests, applicants should ask test centers to complete a second IgM antibody test for the N protein if an initial test for the S protein is positive. Applicants should consult the relevant Chinese embassy or consulate’s webpage for information on which testing centers are designated for purposes of obtaining a QR health code. Travelers should also give consent to the testing institutions to provide test results to the relevant embassy or consulate.
  • Letter of Commitment. Travelers must complete a “Letter of Commitment on COVID-19 Vaccination,” providing information about their COVID-19 vaccination. They must attach a copy of their vaccination certificate, e.g., their CDC COVID-19 vaccination record card. Commitment letters can be obtained on the relevant embassy or consulate webpage.
  • Documentation requirements. When applying for a QR health code, travelers must provide (1) their PCR/IgM antibody test records, including results of their N protein antibody test, if applicable; (2) their letter of commitment; (3) their vaccine certificate; and (4) copies of their passport and valid Chinese work permit/residence permit.
  • Verification. The relevant embassy or consulate will verify the authenticity of vaccine and testing records, including contacting vaccination institutions or testing centers when necessary. Officials will not issue QR health codes if applicants provide false statements or records or if the authenticity of records cannot be verified.

Additional Information: Travelers who have received a Chinese-made “inactivated” vaccine should follow the same process described above only they do not need to request the N protein antibody test. Applicants with a negative PCR test and positive IgM antibody test result after being vaccinated with an inactivated vaccine can apply for a health code as usual. Unvaccinated travelers may still complete “double testing” and apply for a QR health code through the WeChat App (for Chinese nationals) or online through this website (for non-Chinese travelers). More information is available here.

Analysis & Comments: Travel to China remains restricted. Applicants in the United States must have an urgent reason to travel to China and must contact the embassy or consulate with jurisdiction over the location of the airport of final departure to get their travel approved before departing. While unvaccinated travelers can still apply for a QR health code to travel to China, they will likely only be approved in the most urgent of situations. In Deloitte’s experience, inoculated travelers have a better chance of obtaining a QR health code than those who are not inoculated with a similar urgency to travel to China.

The response to COVID-19 continues to develop, and Deloitte will provide additional updates as information becomes available. Please check Deloitte’s COVID-19 Digital Map, available here, for information on travel restrictions and immigration changes in China and other countries.

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