If we’ve learnt anything in the past few months, it’s that you should always be prepared for what life throws at you in China. For those who live in China with their families, whether foreign or Chinese, this is even more important. In order to be best positioned in a crisis, here are five things to always have ready in case of an emergency in China.
This one is most pertinent for those who have Chinese family members. Most countries require Chinese citizens to apply for a visa before visiting, and obtaining these visas can involve a long application process that requires various types of documentation. In an emergency, you may not have the time or the documents on hand to complete the application, and in some cases, visa services may even be suspended in emergency situations. There have also been several cases reported recently of foreign families who were unable to leave China during the coronavirus outbreak because they had failed to get passports for their infant children.
With that in mind, it’s important to ensure that your family has valid passports as well as travel visas for the country you would plan to escape to. Ideally, they should have the right to travel to your home country, but at the very least, consider having valid travel documents for Hong Kong and Macau,. These may still be of use depending on the exact circumstances of the emergency.
Likewise, if you have pets in China, be sure you have a contingency plan for them, too. It can take up to four months to get all the right documentation to ship dogs and cats out of the country, but in many circumstances the documents are then valid for the life of the animal as long as you keep up with regular vaccinations. If you have a pet in China, talk to your vet to ascertain the steps you need to take to get your furry friend out quickly if needs be.
Although it’s getting easier to access Chinese bank accounts from abroad – Union Pay works on more ATMs than before in the West, while Alipay and WeChat Pay are becoming more widespread in Asia – it can still be a headache to withdraw money from your Chinese bank account while overseas. Often, only capitals or major cities will have branches of your Chinese bank, and it’s not unusual to find yourself walking around city centers in search of an ATM that works with your card or spending hours online doing complicated transfers.
It doesn’t hurt, therefore, to keep a bank account in your home country active and with a healthy balance. Perhaps get in the habit of transferring a small amount of your salary each month to the account. That way, if you find yourself suddenly going home, you’ll have funds and easy access to them. It could end up saving you a lot of time and hassle.
If you’re leaving China in a rush, you never know what documents you and your family may need. Immigration authorities in other countries may need more documentation during an emergency, and once you arrive wherever you’re heading, you may need to apply for additional visas, residence permits or even passports.
With these things considered, make sure to grab any documents you might need before skipping the country, because once you leave, you might not get the chance to come back any time soon. Wedding certificates, birth certificates, university degrees, bank statements, employment contracts, health insurance cards; anything you can think of. It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
The importance of this will vary depending on the health system in the country you’re traveling to and the status of your family members in it, but it’s wise to always have worldwide health insurance for the whole family — although admittedly, it may be too expensive to find a package that covers the US.
Being uninsured in a foreign country can end up costing you an arm and a leg. Especially if you’ve just travelled short notice on an expensive flight, the last thing you need is a hefty hospital bill on top of that.
This may seem less critical than some of the other points on the face of it, but you never know when you have to call a relative or need an important address. In an age when we tend to keep in touch by instant messaging or email, it’s easy to forget to make a note of people’s digits and addresses.
It can require a conscious effort to keep track of these sorts of details, and while it may seem over-the-top to do so, that one time in an emergency when you need to call your long-lost aunt in Bulgaria will make it all worthwhile. When traveling in an emergency and under stress, these kinds of problems can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
What other tips do you have for facing emergency situations in China? Drop them in the comments box below. We’re sure you’re all experts by now!
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Keywords: emergency in China
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You can add many ID pictures to this list, if ongoing to another country... This is now easier than before, because many countries now use a standard ID pic size, and in many cases, the size does not matter, because nowadays they all get scanned and can be enlarged electronically (within reason), then printed onto new visa stickers (that get stuck in your passport by national authorities), and onto/into other travel/labour documents... Also, USB POWERBANKS, and POWER ADAPTERS for both transit locals (ie. HK. Dubai) and final destination.
Mar 25, 2020 15:00 Report Abuse
6) contact information for your embassay/consualte. If there is an emergency evacuation required, it helps if you can contact them immediately. 7) a First Aid kit (fully stocked) as it is a challenge even to get something as basic as bandages. Also a knowledge of First Aid would be an advantage in dealing with many minor cuts / burns etc.
Mar 24, 2020 21:47 Report Abuse