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[ Return to China via Shanghai ] Pudong Airport Arrival and Quarantine Process


When I arrived back in Shanghai in late March, I received a lot of help from members of the Shanghai Arrivals and QuaranTEAM wechat groups. Sine then I've been involved as Admin and have been helping a lot of people return to China. The thing with ever changing policies is that it happens so quickly, and outside of the required items for entry (such as a visa and COVID PCR test) most processes are not published by the government, and even if it is, it's all in Chinese. We rely heavily on the first hand experiences of people arriving. And thank you to all of the Admins and generous group members sharing their arrival experience, I was able to create this document. 

Please note that this document was created on September 24th, 2020. Information is subject to change, and please check official government websites for updates. 

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Safe Travels!


A little bit of background story...

What do I do for work?
I actually get asked this a lot, "Are you a travel agent?" "Are you some kind of travel consultant?" No, I've based most of my career in IT hosting and enterprise software, and never done any jobs related to travel. Currently I'm taking a break to raise my toddler who's only 1.5yo! 

How did I get involved in these groups?
When we were returning from HK to Shanghai, I joined one of the Shanghai Arrival wechat groups. Back in March the policies were already changing quickly even before border closure. There were almost daily changes on what arriving in Pudong airport looked like, and I was so glad to be a part of those groups so my family was prepared for our 18hr door to door journey. While I was in quarantine, I had a lot of spare time, and started answering more questions in the groups. One of the admins reached out to me and see if I wanted to help out, and I've been helping out ever since! 

Throughout the months, we've discovered other groups, and now we have an affiliate network of 40+ groups helping people return to China. They are all managed by selfless amazing individuals that are doing this voluntarily out of their spare time. Our country groups span from North, South America to Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceana. These groups cover the process before departure: how to get a visa, which visa centres are issuing what, what documents are required, where to get a covid test, what fights are flying. Then we have the arrival groups or return groups. These cover cities across China like Shanghai, Beijing, Xiamen, Guangzhou, and entire provinces where overseas travellers are arriving to. These groups discuss what landing in the airport is like, how long the wait is, what the hotels are like, how to get approved for home quarantine etc. 

What's most difficult about managing these groups?
When new policies are announced, they are usually posted in Chinese. And even as a Chinese native speaker, the announcements still always come with some vagueness. Then there's a wave of confusion and lots of speculation. One of the most difficult part of being admin is ensuring accurate sharing and crosscheck of any information shared in groups. I tend to edge on the conservative side. Just because one person was able to get around the rules, or deviate from the standard rules of quarantine, it doesn't mean that everyone universally can follow (a good example is adults sharing rooms, family getting large suites, having alcohol delivered to your quarantine hotels). It's also difficult to strike a balance between being supportive and stiring up hope for something out of normal regulation. But for the most part, out group members have been amazing at helping each other out. We almost never get anyone rude. 

Why do I continue to admin these groups?
I also get asked this a lot. It definitely requires a lot of time and patience to manage these groups. But coming from a place of compassion, our family received a lot of help and I am just trying to give back. I have a soft spot especially for women traveling alone with young or multiple children. It's such a tough journey and to do it while not speaking Chinese sounds even more daunting. If there's anything I could do to help make the process smoother, I'm happy to do it. There's also so many individuals that I've connected with since March that were finally able to return in August or September. The best feeling is when they send a selfie in front of their house, or a picture of their husbands/wives/children/pets that they haven't seen for 9 months. I've even seen a video of kids running up to their ayis in tears because they're finally back and reunited!

A special thanks to all the admins, Bebe/Janette/Nikki who created the Shanghai groups, SK, Irene, Daphne, Keira, Joanne, Silver and all of the other country/city admins that have been helping out. Also of course all of the members who have been a part of our groups and contributing incredible information that helps put the people who are arriving soon at ease. It is such an incredible and supportive community that we've built, and I'm so honored to be a part of it. 

Link to a few interviews I've done about these groups:

Follow me on instagram @ariel.land for more fun in Shanghai and around the world!








 

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