For Onsite Participants:

COVID-19 Containment & Prevention Policy

China has launched its own containment and prevention polices in consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic. International travelers are required to follow certain protocols and guidelines to enter China.

For detailed information, please visit here.

Passport and Visa

You will need both a current passport (valid for 6 months or more after entry) and a visa to visit mainland China (unless you are a Chinese citizen).

We recommend that you apply for a tourist visa, at least a month or more before your journey (if by then the international travel restriction to China on COVID-19 is lifted). If needed, there are services available to expedite the process and shorten the wait time. (You do NOT need an invitation letter for a tourist visa.)

One may apply for a visa at the Chinese Embassy in your capital city or at the nearest Chinese Consulate at your nearest domestic metropolis. Alternatively, many travel agencies will assist you with the visa application and some can submit it on your behalf. For detailed information, please contact your local Embassy, Consulate, or travel agency.

If you wish to apply for a business visa, instead of a tourist visa, the conference organizer can issue an official invitation letter to you. To pursue this option: (1) Complete the online registration form and pay the registration fee. (2) Complete the application form for the visa invitation letter (including your name, passport number, etc.). (3) Scan the passport information page. (4) Email the required documents above to:

Since it takes two weeks to issue an official invitation letter for a business visa application, we advise that you complete and send all documents before June 1 2022.

Visa Exceptions (Visa-Free Transits)

Citizens of 55 countries and regions including USA, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, and Netherlands can now stay visa free within Shanghai for up to 72 hours (3 days) if transiting through China via Shanghai Pudong International Airport or Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport to a third country or region destination. The 72-hour limit is calculated by starting with the zero hour for the next day of the traveler's entry.

Since January 30, 2016, China's 144-hour visa-free transit policy is carried out in Shanghai-Jiangsu-Zhejiang region to facilitate international travelers. It allows passengers from 53 countries or regions to transit in for no more than 144 hours (6 days) without holding a visa. Passengers can enter and leave from any of the above ports. Eg: One can take a cruise to Shanghai and leave by air from Hangzhou or Nanjing. Passengers need to offer their passport valid for at least 3 months from the date of entry, ticket to a third country with confirmed seat and date, and fully completed Arrival/Departure Card for their application.

It counts from 00:00 of the day following passengers' arrival. That is to say, the allowed time to stay is actually longer than 144 hours. Eg: If one arrives at 6:00 am on July 1, the layover time counts from 00:00 of July 2 and the passenger should hold a ticket with the scheduled departure time before 23:59 of July 7. In this case, the allowed stay period is 162 hours in maximum.

For further details, please see the following additional information.


To protect yourself and your personal belongings while you are traveling in China, please be sure that your insurance coverage is adequate for your journey. You may wish to contact your current insurer and purchase additional medical and travel insurance. As a side benefit, many credit cards also provide some built-in insurance coverage (please check terms and conditions before booking your trip).


Electricity is supplied at 220V, 50Hz in China. Most modern electronics are dual-voltage capable and can be used without a problem. However, if you have old 120V only electronics, please be sure to bring a step-down voltage converter or use the 120V outlet in the lavatory of your hotel room (if available). In addition, the electrical outlet configuration will be different from many other countries – please be sure to bring an international plug adapter. (Your hotel may have some available to borrow at the front desk, if you forget.)

Currency Exchange and Card Use

Before your trip, we recommend that you inform (online or via telephone) your banque and credit card companies that you will be traveling overseas — listing each country and duration. Also, make sure to verify that you indeed have a working PIN for each card (or allow at least two weeks for the PIN to be mailed to you).

In China, RMB is the only accepted currency. To receive the most favorable exchange rate, we recommend that you obtain any needed cash from an ATM upon arrival at the destination airport or at any ATM located in a major banque in Shanghai. Some debit cards will rebate foreign ATM withdrawal fees (Charles Schwab, First Republic, etc.) or you can search online to locate appropriate in-network ATMs.

Alternatively, bureaux de change can be found at airports, most hotels, and in large shopping centers. The exchange rate is about USD 1 = RMB 7.12 (but a significant fee will also be incurred). Oanda and XE smartphone apps give current conversion rates. When exchanging money, keep your receipt; you can change any remaining RMB back to foreign currency when leaving China.

Visa and Master Card are accepted in many department stores and hotels. If feasible, bring credit cards that waive foreign transaction fees (Capital One, Citi, Chase Sapphire, etc.). Make sure that your card is charged in RMB and not in a foreign currency; dynamic currency conversion adds extra charges.

The Bank of China and most hotels will cash traveler’s cheques issued by any major foreign banque or financial institution (for which you must show a passport and pay a 0.75 percent commission). Traveler’s cheques signed over to a third party cannot be cashed in China, but can be presented for collection through the Bank of China. All on-site conference payments can be paid by the above-mentioned credit cards; however, traveler’s cheques are not acceptable.

Internet, Mobile Phone, and Digital Services

Please check with your current mobile phone carrier regarding international roaming availability for mainland China — hotspot capability (tethering or pocket) and rates (data, texting, and phone calls). If necessary, you may wish to upgrade your service for the duration of your trip.

We do not recommend trying to purchase a SIM card in China for your mobile device; it is an uncertain and often complicated process for a short-term visit.

Wi-Fi is commonly available in airport lounges, malls, and coffee shops (Starbucks, Costa, Maan, etc.). However, for Wi-Fi outside of your hotel, you will have to provide a phone number in order to access it. For Wi-Fi available VOIP services to communicate overseas, consider these services: Signal, TeamViewer,, Skype (SkypeOut for landline connections), etc.

Portable internet for multiple devices can be accessed either by using your mobile phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot via tethering, or by purchasing (or renting) a pocket Wi-Fi device from your carrier or third-party vendor — either before your trip or at the airport upon arrival. (See below.)

VPN services are recommended for your security in public spaces and to access otherwise inaccessible sites. Your institute may already offer a VPN for your use. If not, you may wish to purchase a private VPN service (see below). Alternatively, limited free VPN services are available either via free trial membership or via proxy server services (Lantern, Shadowsocks, Tor with Bridges, etc.).

Alternatives & Suggested Digital Services

Microsoft (, Hotmail, Bing, etc.): email, search, file storage
Yandex: email, search, file storage, document sharing

Yahoo: email, search, weather
Zoho: document sharing
Pocket & Instapaper: offline article storage
Maps app (iOS only) app
Google Translate app: translation via camera, microphone, or typing
(download app and Offline translation packs before your trip)

Travelling Shanghai

Shanghai is one of the four municipalities under the direct administration of the central government of the People's Republic of China. With a population of more than 24 million, it is the largest and traditionally the most developed urban area in China. Shanghai is a global financial, innovation and technology, and transportation hub, with the world's busiest container port. Located in the Yangtze River Delta, it sits on the south edge of the estuary of the Yangtze in the middle portion of the Eastern China coast. Shanghai has been described as the "showpiece" of the booming economy of mainland China. The city is renowned for its Lujiazui skyline, museums, and historic buildings—including the City God Temple, the Yu Garden, the China pavilion, and those along the Bund—and for its sugary cuisine and unique dialect, Shanghainese. Every year, Shanghai hosts numerous national and international events, including Shanghai Fashion Week, the Chinese Grand Prix, and ChinaJoy.


Shanghai is hot and rainy weather over the month of July. Summer also brings occasional torrential rain and typhoons. Seasonal clothing such as shorts, shirts, and skirts is advised. Ultraviolet radiation is quite strong in July. Wear a hat and sunglasses, if you venture outside, and remember to apply sunscreen and mosquito repellent.

By Air

Shanghai-Hongqiao International Airport (IATA: SHA) and Shanghai Pudong International Airport (IATA: PVG) are two major airports in Shanghai. They have both direct international routes and domestic flights. The Hongqiao International Airport is 13 km (8 mi) west from central Shanghai and Pudong International Airport is 30 km (17 mi) east from central Shanghai.

Intra-city Transportation


Taxis in Shanghai are abundant. Shanghai taxi drivers almost always use the meter as required by law. During daytime, taxi in downtown charges CNY14 for the first 3km, CNY2.5/km from 3 -15km, and CNY3.6/km over 15km. At night, it charges CNY18 for the first 3km and CNY3.1/km from 3 -15km.

Do not accept solicitations for rides to the city. Sometimes, people will stand at the arrival area and ask if you need a taxi. These are illegally operated and use unmarked vehicles. They usually cost a lot more than licensed taxis since many travelers do not know the cost of airport transportation.

Overall, not many of the city’s taxi drivers speak English. It is therefore important that you present the driver with the name of the destination (in written Mandarin), present them with a printed taxi card from your hotel (see your hotel's website for further details), or be able to point out your destination on a map.


Opened in 1993, the Shanghai Metro is a rapid transit rail network in Shanghai, operating urban and suburban transit services to 14 of its 16 municipal districts and to Huaqiao Town, Kunshan, Jiangsu Province. The Shanghai Metro system is the world's largest rapid transit system by route length. The fare ranges from ¥3 to ¥14. Most of the signs and announcements are in Mandarin and English. There are currently 17 lines in operation. Metro schedules are available online or at the stations, or apps on your smartphone can help you to navigate the subway system.

Shanghai Metro is the largest component of the Shanghai metropolitan rail transit network, together with the Shanghai maglev train, the Zhangjiang Tram, the Songjiang Tram and the China Railway-operated commuter rail services to Jinshan. The metro system is also integrated with other forms of public transport in Shanghai.


Pocket Wi-Fi (‘MiFi’; Mobile Hotspots) or Tethering

Privacy Tools (VPN providers, limited proxy server services, etc.)

Travel & Tourist Information

Shanghai Airport

Shanghai Taxi

Shanghai Metro