Press Conference on Suspending Issuance of Ordinary Passports and Other Exit-Entry Documents for Non-emergency and Non-essential Purposes
Guest: Liu Haitao, director general of the Department of Frontier Inspection and Management of NIA
Venue: Press Conference Hall of the National Health Commission of the People's Republic of China
Date: August 4, 2021
Imported COVID-19 cases keep rising and we are still facing severe challenges in guarding against imported cases, especially after the outbreak in Nanjing Lukou International Airport. Will National Immigration Administration (NIA) take new measures to prevent imported cases?
Currently we are seeing an obvious resurgence in COVID-19 cases outside China, so preventing imported cases remains a grave challenge. NIA has been closely following global COVID-19 trends and will, apart from continuing our previous work, strengthen exit and entry administration at ports and borders to strictly prevent imported COVID-19 cases. We have also strengthened existing measures to build a line of defense against imported cases.
I. Further tighten administration at ports and borders. At airports, inbound flights will be checked and inspected in a special area, passengers entering the border will be screened more strictly, and inspection and administration for personnel at exit-entry port administration area will be more tightened. At sea ports, stricter control measures will be imposed on vessels engaged in international voyages and crew members by restricting personnel from embarking on and crew members from, disembarking from these vessels and restricting these vessels from berthing alongside other vessels under non-essential circumstances. At land ports, the policy of allowing cargo conveyance while tightening restrictions on human mobility as well as other exit-entry administration and pandemic prevention and control measures will be strictly implemented. The most rigorous prevention and control will be maintained in frontline border areas to strengthen patrol, prevention and control at China's borders.
II. Strictly restrict cross-border flow of personnel under non-emergency and non-essential circumstances. Public awareness of the seriousness of the situation will be further enhanced, and the approval and issuance of exit-entry documents for citizens will be stricter. The issuance of ordinary passports and other exit-entry documents under non-emergency and non-essential circumstances will be suspended.
III. Vigorously crack down on cross-border illegal and criminal activities. Efforts to combat crimes that obstruct national border administration will be intensified. We will take resolute actions against illegal and criminal activities involving smuggling, and severely punish those who are involved in human smuggling to prevent imported COVID-19 cases by people who enter the country illegally.
IV. Enhance cooperation with neighboring countries and regions in immigration law enforcement. Through joint patrol and law enforcement with the border control, exit-entry and immigration administration departments of countries and regions sharing land borders with China, administration will be strengthened in border administration areas, and illegal border crossings and other illegal and criminal activities will be combated through joint efforts.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, NIA has taken a series of measures to persuade Chinese citizens not to cross the border under non-essential and non-emergency circumstances. I would like to ask how NIA helped citizens who indeed need to go abroad with the application of ordinary passports and other exit-entry documents.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, NIA issued exit-entry documents including ordinary passports more strictly in order to protect people's health and safety, as well as to prevent cross-border transmission of the epidemic. The mass people have actively responded by either canceling or delaying their plans of traveling abroad. As a result, the number of people leaving and entering China has dropped significantly, effectively lowering the risk of infection. This fully demonstrates that the people are responsible for the health and safety of themselves and others, and NIA will continue to strictly implement the current policy measures regarding cross-border travel.
At the same time, NIA requires all exit-entry administration departments to analyze and deal with situations in a case-by-case manner. For applicants who indeed need to go abroad for study, work or business, we will process their applications and issue exit-entry documents as soon as the information is verified. For Chinese citizens who need to go abroad for work resumption or to participate in the global efforts of preventing and fighting COVID-19, we will examine and approve their applications as soon as possible or provide expedited processing services for them, so as to support the global fight against COVID-19 and facilitate economic recovery. Should applicants have any questions while applying for exit-entry documents, they can reach us by calling 12367, the 24/7 China Immigration Service Hotline, and our staff will help them solve the problem in a timely manner.
Currently, the coronavirus is still raging across the world, with new variants complicating the situation. NIA will continue to uphold the social consensus that people should not travel abroad under non-essential and non-emergency circumstances, to cherish and consolidate the major strategic achievements that we have made in the fight against COVID-19.
Notice: The English version is only for reference. To learn more, please refer to the authoritative Chinese version.