The U.S. State Department has ordered the departure of nonemergency employees and their family members from the Consulate General Shanghai district.

Key Points:

  • The State Department ordered the mandatory departure due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and the related local heath control measures.
  • U.S. Mission staff will continue to be available 24 hours a day across China to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens. The State Department has adjusted staffing throughout the Mission to respond to the demand for emergency citizen services, including providing supplemental support to Consulate General Shanghai by a team at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Where conditions permit, U.S. citizen and visa services remain available to the public at this time; facilities at the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai will reopen to the public as soon as possible.
  • Commercial flights for U.S. citizens wishing to depart Shanghai are available on a limited basis. U.S. citizens are encouraged to register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program and can contact this email for questions regarding accessing confirmed flights due to local health control measures.
  • The State Department has urged U.S. citizens to “reconsider travel” to China and not to travel to Shanghai, Jilin province or Hong Kong.

Additional Information: Chinese authorities continue to expand COVID-19 prevention and health control measures. These measures may include residential quarantines, mass testing, closures, transportation disruptions, lockdowns and possible family separation. Individuals with questions regarding other parts of China should contact the Embassy or Consulate General of the district to which they are traveling. More information regarding the current COVID-19 outbreak in Shanghai is available here.

BAL Analysis: Although visa services are available, U.S. citizens should expect delays at this time. The State Department’s ordered departure means that only emergency personnel will be present in Shanghai to provide consular services. Supplemental support from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing may further create delays in Beijing visa processing. Employers and employees should continue to consult their BAL professional before planning international travel.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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