RV'ing in China as Foreigner/Tourist.

RV’ing in China as Foreigner/Tourist.

March 21, 2021

After one user asked questions about how to travel by motor-home in China, we took it as a challenge to find out as much as possible. These are just some baseline of the rules and regulations.

This is purely according to my understanding of Chinese law.

We cannot take any responsibility as we are only sharing tips and ideas of the RV’ing in China.

As a tourist, these would be the steps.

  • At arrival, Hotel accommodation or rental flat, where the hotel/landlord registers you in the PSB systems. Some cities have an online system also.
  • Chinese temporarily driving license C1 grade, minimum validity 2 months. This should be OK after we consulted CTRIP . Chinese multinational online travel company that provides services.
  • Rental of motor-home. Passport, local driving license needed. And of course money, WeChat, Alipay, Chinese credit card, or cash.
  • Careful planning the trip including reputable campsites who can do the registration to PSB. We don’t have the list so that needs to be done in advance when you plan the trip. Meaning calling and checking.
  • Basically, you cannot stay overnight at places where the registration cannot be done. For example service station parking lot.
  • Registration is supposed to be as simple as showing up at the police station and saying I’m going to be here, however, there are not currently any specific regulations to point to when it doesn’t turn out that simple. Therefore, you should assume that it’s not official legal for you to just stay anywhere. However, as is so often the case in China, it’s not a problem unless it’s already a problem.
  • Some changes in China is ongoing and one of them is the recognition of other countries driving licenses.
    • South China Morning Post have some information
    • It is understood that some countries has already achieved mutual recognition and renewal of driving licenses with the UAE and Belgium, and signed mutual recognition and renewal agreements with Serbia. Source

A person with a residence permit, should not have any issues with renting or traveling. Surely you must have a valid C1 class driving license, and the validity of the license must be minimum a of 2 months. But you still need to register with PSB by visiting police station or let the camping site do it.

Tourists, it is more complicated. Registration is mandatory in the Public Security Bureau (PSB) for tourists who enter China through the local police station and apply for the China Provisional Driving Permit.

Just some rhetorical question by myself, what if you travel by only staying 20 hours in each destination?

For China Provisional Driving Permit there are many websites describing how to obtain it, so I will not list it here. Below link for one of the sites where you can get more detailed information.

Example Chinese driving license

Example of C1 license in China. Travel China cheaper have some good information on how to obtain the license

Below is some information regarding the registration process for PSB

Be prepared for some local variations in procedures. For example:

How do you register when you’re camping or staying in a recreational vehicle?

Unclear. According to rules to which have been repealed,  both the foreign national lodging in “movable living facilities” and the person who provides the site where the foreign national is staying must register.

Meaning the camping site must do the registration

Below Google translated paragraphs concerning traveling by motor-home. The web version is in Chinese and there might be some minor mistakes in the translation below.

Article 30 Foreigners in the home of a Chinese resident in urban areas, shall, within 24 hours of arrival, the lodger people or himself lodger’s passport and certificate of the live human booklet to the local public security authorities to declare, fill in temporarily Accommodation registration form; in rural areas, it must be reported to the local police station or household registration office within 72 hours

Article 33 Aliens who accommodate in mobile lodgings shall submit a report within 24 hours of the local public security organs. Institutions or individuals that provide venues for foreigners’ mobile accommodation tools should report to the local public security agency 24 hours in advance.

Article 34  Foreigners traveling are not open to foreigners cities, counties travel, subject to prior to the city or county public security bureau to apply for a travel permit before they go after approved. To apply for a travel permit, you must complete the following procedures:
    (1) Submit your passport or residence certificate for inspection;
    (2) Provide proof related to the travel reason;
    (3) Fill out the travel application form.

According to Article 33, it should be possible to travel by motor-home in China. Meaning you should register within 24 hours at the local police station and if staying at a camping ground they should be able to register you. As they travel by tourist in RV’s is almost none in China, I assume campgrounds there might be some struggle registering, but it should be OK.

If there is someone who would know more about this issue please contact us.

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