The preparation you need depends on the purpose and duration of your trip. Regardless
of where you are travelling in China and how long you will stay, ensure you have the proper documentation:
You will need a Canadian passport that is valid for at least six months after
your intended departure date from China. Applications for Canadian passports are available on-line, and at passport offices and postal outlets in Canada. There are separate forms for adults and children. The processing of
an application accompanied by the required documentation usually takes up to 10 working days if the application is presented
in person at a passport office, or at least 20 working days if it is mailed. So plan to apply well before your departure.
If you’re planning
to visit Hong Kong for up to 90 days or Macao for up to 30 days, you do not need a visa. For a longer stay, you can obtain
a visa on arrival in Macao or Hong Kong, provided you have the necessary documentation. A visitor fee of 100 patacas for each
adult and 50 patacas for each child up to 12 years old is applied on arrival in Macao. There is no visitor fee for Hong Kong.
If you’re travelling
to other parts of China, you will require a visa, which can be obtained in Canada.
Health Insurance and Questionnaire
It is unlikely that your health insurance in Canada will provide adequate coverage
while you are abroad. You must obtain appropriate health insurance before you leave. Make sure you understand the terms of
your policy; it should cover all your needs and those of all accompanying dependants.
Visitors to China are required to complete a health questionnaire on arrival,
and it is prudent to carry documentation demonstrating that you have received all necessary immunizations. Statements made
on the health questionnaire (for example, admitting that you are HIV positive) could result in denial of entry.
Health authorities in
Canada can advise you about recommended precautions and vaccinations. Take into account that, in general, sanitation standards
in China do not match those in Canada, and there are high levels of air pollution in the major cities. As in many Asian countries,
drinking water can also be a problem. Take your prescription or over-the-counter medicines with you.
Residency and Work Permits
If you stay in China
for an extended period, or if you receive remuneration from Chinese sources, you will need residency or work permits that
must be obtained in China after your arrival. However, you should gather information on the process prior to your arrival
in China from a Government of China embassy or consulate. This process can be bureaucratic and time consuming, so be sure
to allow adequate time for proper certification.
Learn About Your
Before you go, take
time to read about the social, political and economic environment in China. The Internet is a good source of information.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has brought together information on a wide range of programs and
services related to China on the Canadian embassy site.
If possible, learn some
basic Mandarin or Cantonese, depending on your destination. These languages are tonal, and you may find pronunciation more
difficult than with Western languages. However, the Chinese people you meet will appreciate your effort to communicate with
them in their own language, even if it is just a few phrases.