Many countries still have travel restrictions in place, which means students who plan to study abroad in Asia might still have to wait until further notice. Source: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP

Countries are gradually reopening their borders or loosening restrictions, which means international students can expect to go back to or start at their universities in the coming months.

For those studying in or interested in studying at Asian universities, which Asia borders are reopening to international students?

Here’s what we know so far:


travel restrictions

Travel restrictions have meant travel plans of international students have been severely disrupted. Source: John MacDougall/AFP

International students still cannot enter China.

Although it has flattened the curve, the country still has strict movement control in place. 

According to Al-Jazeera, on March 26, China announced that it was temporarily banning the entry of most foreign nationals, excluding diplomatic workers, to curb the number of imported cases of COVID-19.

The report added that the Chinese authorities announced on April 8 that the city of Suifenhe would be placed under lockdown after receiving an influx of infected travellers who crossed the border from Russia.

Starting on March 28, the foreign ministry said that even foreign citizens with residence permits would be prevented from entering.

Hong Kong

At the time of writing, all non-Hong Kong residents arriving by plane will be denied entry until further notice.

If you’re a student from China, however, you may be able to enter Hong Kong without quarantine.The authorities have introduced a plan to allow some business travellers and students from mainland China to enter without quarantine.

TIME reported that Hong Kong hasn’t recorded a community-transmitted case of COVID-19 for over three weeks.


travel restrictions

Singapore is among the Asia borders with strict travel restrictions in place. Source: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP

Singapore’s government states that all short-term visitors will not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore until further notice. 

“The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will only allow the entry/return of work pass holders, including their dependents, for those providing essential services, such as in healthcare and transport,” it said.

Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long term pass holders returning to the country will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

South Korea

Currently, there are strict checks in place in South Korea.

According to Al-Jazeera, South Korea said ion March 17 it would tighten border checks for all overseas arrivals.

Currently, the government already imposes strict border checks on visitors from China, Italy and Iran, requiring them to sign up by a smartphone application to track whether they have any symptoms, such as fever.

The government also issued a “special travel advisory” on March 23, calling on its citizens to cancel or postpone their trips abroad over the spread of the new coronavirus, said the report.


travel restrictions

Taiwan is among the Asia borders that have not reopened. Its President Tsai Ing-wen delivers her address to soldiers amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic during her visit to a military base in Tainan, southern Taiwan, on April 9, 2020. Source: SAM YEH/AFP

According to Focus Taiwan, the country has barred foreign nationals, with some exceptions, from entering the country since March 19 in response to the continued spread of COVID-19.

Its Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) notes: “Foreign nationals who are eligible for visa-free entry or hold a visitor or resident visa and wish to enter Taiwan from March 19 must hold relevant documents to qualify for exempted status.”

“These documents must be presented to the National Immigration Agency (NIA) personnel at the port of entry for approval. Those holding special entry permits issued by ROC (Taiwan) overseas missions, valid Alien Resident Certificates, or MOFA ID Cards will be allowed entry following inspection by NIA personnel.”

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