Q&A: Fined for not carrying passport?


I hope this message finds you well. I was wondering if there’s a fine for not carrying/holding an ID in mainland China for foreigners?


There is no law stating that foreigners must always carry their passports. It may be advisable to carry a copy of your passport information and visa page, but it is not always necessary. If for some reason you are stopped by the police or even brought to the police station to be checked, there should not be a fine involved.

In a related matter, you should always carry your passport if you are going to another city. Not only will it serve as your primary form of identification, but it is necessary to check into any hotels and most transportation (e.g. planes, trains, and sometimes even buses).

Happy travels!

– Sophia


Have police ever stopped you or asked for identification? Is there a legal question in China you’re wondering about? Leave a comment here or email Sophia at sophia@meldiculture.com.

One thought on “Q&A: Fined for not carrying passport?

  1. I have been stopped a few times in Beijing for passport checks. Only once did I not have my passport with me. I wasn’t taken in, however; the policeman talked to one of my colleagues to confirm who I was and that I had a proper passport, work visa and work permit. He said he’d stop by the office to look at the passport the following day but we never heard from him. Not a big deal. I am not aware of anyone I know in the past decade+ who has been taken in or detained for any significant amount of time for not having their passport with them.

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