On February 9, 2017, the Ministry of Public Security in China announced that the Chinese border control authorities will start to collect the fingerprints of inbound foreign nationals aged from 14 through 70 at the nationwide open entry ports. This new policy is based on the “Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Administration of Exit and Entry” which stipulates that the Ministry of Public Security may implement certain measures to collect the biological identification information (such as fingerprints) for passengers passing through the border if required.

Shenzhen is the first city to implement this policy on a trial basis. Immigration officers at Shenzhen airport will instruct foreign nationals to leave ten fingerprints as part of the process to go through the immigration desk to enter China. It is expected that other open entry ports will follow this policy in batches as instructed by the Ministry of Public Security.

According to the Ministry of Public Security, the fingerprints collection process may be waived under certain circumstances, for example, for foreign nationals who hold diplomatic passports or visas and individuals who cannot provide any of the ten fingerprints. Business travellers should expect to be requested to leave fingerprints when entering China in the coming months which may prolong the immigration clearance process.