Newland Chase | German Business Travel to China Challenges and Solutions

July 9, 2021

Q&A Report Prepared by Newland Chase

Watch On-Demand Webinar Now – Resuming Business Travel to China: Challenges & Best Practices

Q: What is a ‘PU’ Letter?

A PU letter is an official letter of invitation issued by the provincial Foreign Affairs Offices (FAO) or provincial commerce department in China; only essential business or work purpose is allowed to apply for PU letter under current practice. The FAOs in different cities have various requirements and processing times. ‘PU’ stands for ‘普通’ in Chinese, which means the letter is issued to ordinary passport holders.

Q: How long does it take to get a PU letter?

Generally, it will take about 4 – 8 weeks to get a PU letter, which excludes the document preparation time. The actual processing time varies by district/city. The process may take longer if the authorities require additional documents.

Q: I learnt that applications for PU letters for business travelers are suspended. Are there any changes or updates to this?

PU letter applications for essential workers or business travelers are not suspended but the issuance of PU letters is subject to strict scrutiny.

Q: PU letters cannot be obtained for family members. However, it is stated that family members can obtain visas, yet one of the required documents is a PU letter. Could you please clarify?

Family members of Talent R visa applicants, or dependents of essential workers or business travelers who are inoculated with Chinese vaccines, can apply for a new visa to China without a PU letter in most countries; the issuance of a PU letter in most of the cities in China is suspended for family members at the moment.

Q: Is there any indication of when PU letters for family members might be made available again?

There is no timeline for the resumption of issuance of PU letters to family members. Currently, PU letters are normally issued to essential workers or business travelers.

Q: According to our Chinese colleagues, the invitation must be related to an actual project. What if one of our employees needs to go to China to support manufacturing, i.e., no special project assigned?

If your employees need to go to China in person for supporting and manufacturing a project/equipment in China, it should have a legal entity to support the PU letter and visa applications. Documents for the project and sponsoring company will be required.

Q: What does that mean for travelers who have previously been infected or where the anti-body test results were positive?

Travelers who have previously been infected or have received positive anti-body test results must consult the relevant Chinese diplomatic and consular missions in home country / legal longterm residential country per jurisdiction about how to apply for health code application at least three weeks in advance.

As an example, please refer to this link: for detailed information and contact details of the Chinese diplomatic and consular missions in Germany.

Q: It is possible to visit China without a vaccine?

Yes. It is possible to travel to China if the traveler has a PU letter to obtain a new China visa and the Chinese consulate/ embassy is willing to issue the health code to allow boarding a flight to China upon presentation of a negative report of a nucleic acid and anti-body test.

Q: Is it necessary to take IgM anti-body tests?

Yes, both a nucleic acid test and an anti-body test are required when applying for health code. For applicants who are fully vaccinated, both N-protein and S-protein anti-body tests would be required. If the report were positive, the N-protein and S-protein anti-body tests will help the Chinese consulate to identify whether the applicant was infected with the virus or vaccinated.

Q: Are foreigners permitted to apply for visas if they have received a China-produced vaccine? What if they have already received a non-China produced vaccine?

If foreigners are able to receive a China-produced vaccine, normally they can apply for a China visa without a PU letter. In most countries, please note that the visa approval will be always subject to Chinese Consulate/ Embassy’s discretion. However, foreigners still need a PU letter if they receive a non-China produced vaccine. 

Q: How much time should I plan to apply for an M visa? Is one month before the start of the trip sufficient?

If you need to get a PU letter, you should plan ahead. PU letter processing times range from 4- 8 weeks, or even longer. Applications for an M visa at the Chinese consulate/embassy in the home country takes around two to several weeks, depending on different Chinese consulate/embassy’s practice.

Q: Are foreigners able to take any trips during the health monitoring period after they finish quarantine in a designated facility?

All overseas passengers should strictly follow the health requirements issued by the local Health Committee of their first point of entry and the destination city. In most cities, overseas passengers are not allowed to leave to travel to another district/region while under health monitoring. They will be required to stay at home, not take public transportation or go to public places. For passengers who don’t have domicile of their own, they should finish the health monitoring in a designated hotel.


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On-Demand Webinar | Resuming Business Travel to China: Challenges and Best Practices

China continues to have strict travel restrictions and quarantine requirements. However, business travel to China is slowly beginning to restart. Watch our exclusive Germany-to-China focused business travel webinar examining China’s current travel and entry rules and the current Consular process in Germany. Our experts are joined by Yina Liu, HR Specialist International Assignment Outbound Germany, from Robert Bosch GmbH. Watch now.


Need Support Evaluating the China Immigration and Business Travel Strategies Discussed? Contact us today to receive expert advice tailored to your organization. Reach out to your dedicated Newland Chase or CIBTvisas representative or contact us to schedule a consultation.

We’re here to help with all global immigration needs. Contact us to schedule a consultation to learn how we can support your business during and after the COVID-19 pandemic and keep up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 travel and immigration updates on our dedicated online resource – COVID-19: Latest Travel and Immigration Disruption.


This publication is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. Readers are reminded that immigration laws are subject to change. We are not responsible for any loss arising from reliance on this publication. Please contact Newland Chase should you require any additional clarification or case-specific advice.
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