🇨🇳 🛂 China | Carrying ID while traveling in China

Is it necessary to carry your passport around on your person when sightseeing in China? Or, will a photocopy suffice? Thanks

Best to have it with u, u don’t want any possible type of trouble with chinar police

Yes. I’ve been carded.

1 Like

When I lived in China for a number of years I never carried my passport around with me, and never had any issues. Other foreigners I knew also didn’t carry theirs. However when sightseeing I did because you need the passport to check into hotels and its probably safer not to leave valuables like that in hotel rooms. You also need it to book onto highspeed rail when travelling.

however, if you were living there with proper residence permit to work or stay longer that a short stay, you should have brought with your such residence permit which would act in stead of the passport. Am I right?

When I lived there in the early 2010’s there wasn’t a resident permit type id for foreigners working in China. (Don’t know if that is still the case.) So you needed to use your passport for id. However most people didn’t carry it all the time, just when they knew that they were going to need it. Otherwise there were too many risks of loosing it.

1 Like

I heard the new rule was you have to hold it out in front of you at all times.


Does that involve a fine/penalty Marco?

That’s exactly what I did too.

Yup, same here. I looked when I saw the thread yesterday, and it seems like even now only permanent residents get a separate card. Otherwise it’s just a Z or whatever visa sticker in the passport.

I had a separate passport-like “Foreign Expert Certificate” too, but I just stuck that in a drawer and carried it even less than the passport.

For a trip I’d probably carry it though, for the reasons you mentioned. I remember needing ID to do the usual tourist things (get a SIM card, register at almost all hotels, buy train tickets), as well as some less expected ones (some checkpoint near Tiananmen Square — don’t remember if I was entering the square itself or just passing around the outside).



That sounds pretty fancy. I wonder if they also have senior/high-level foreign experts, as well as special foreign experts, just to spice up the mix a bit.



I never really knew what it was for or what to do with it tbh. I think when it arrived on my desk one day I mostly just felt like a bit of an imposter. :whistle:

When I was in China I got stopped and asked for ID a times. It is. Requirement to carry ID. Same in Taiwan

1 Like

Are you implying that I can carry other forms of ID other than my Passport and it should be OK?

It should be okay anyway. I believe it’s written down in some law that everyone should carry (or “have”) valid ID, which isn’t so unusual, but police etc. are usually pragmatic about this — if they happen to come into contact with a foreign tourist who doesn’t have a passport they’re not going to shoot them on the spot. That must happen all the time. The worst case scenario is they’ll accompany them back to their hotel to get it, and I suspect most of the time for non-serious situations photos of the photo page and visa page would suffice (though I wouldn’t rely on this working for hotel registrations, travel, etc.).

I would say just carry your passport if possible, but if you’re really against it just keep photos of the photo and visa pages on your phone and it’s unlikely you’ll get into serious trouble (at most some inconvenience). I’ve also kept photocopies of that info in my wallet before.

Wouldn’t bother at all with some other form of ID, like a foreign driving license or whatever. That will most likely just baffle a police officer or whatever in China, and if someone is being strict about wanting to see your passport they’ll want to see your passport.

I carried the China TBZ issued to ROC citizens. I would assume a Taiwan ARC would also suffice if you dont have a passport.

Yeah, I believe the TBZ would be alright. I wouldn’t like to try using an A(P)RC though… I think that’ll just be confusing for 99.99% of Chinese police lol.


It is as its a China government issued ID for Taiwan Compatriots.
The first time I entered China with one in 2000 I was interviewed for over 4 hours by immigration and other government officials… They ask me where did you get the TBZ from? My reply your government issued it to me. DUH!!!

They thought it could be fake.

I ask them, did you really think a white dude would use a fake TBZ to try and enter China and become an illegal overstayer? I ask its not like you wouldn’t notice a white dude with a TBZ at all right? The this does not compute look on their faces was priceless. There must be some mistake, you don’t look Ethnically Chinese?

This was back in the day when people from Taiwan HK Macao had a separate queue.

1 Like

that’s literally Chinese ID for TW folks, so for all uses and purposes that’s it.

Even for regular inter-city trains, or some of them anyway. Not necessarily a passport but some kind of ID.

Iirc it was either show ID or pay a 50 yuan fine, but I reckon the hotel thing would work too.

1 Like

What would happen if you lose your passport in China? Can’t take trains, flights, sleep in any hotels, and many national parks require passport or Chinese ID to enter so can’t even sleep on a park bench. Walk to the nearest embassy and sleep there til they give you a replacement passport?