On March 14, 2023, to further facilitate foreigners’ visits to China and the close connection between Chinese and the globe, National Immigration Administration released the latest policies for foreigners’ visas and entry. The adjustment involves the resumption of visa issuance and entry functions, as well as some visa waiver policies, and was valid from March 15, 2023, at 00:00 Beijing time.
The move marks a further step for China’s reopening to the world. And now, those who plan to visit China for business, tourism, and gathering this year can arrange their trips ahead of time.
Image by brgfxa on Freepik
First, foreigners may apply for all types of visas (for tourism, medical treatment, etc.) now.
Third, those whose visas were issued before March 28, 2020, but remained valid will be allowed entry to China.
Visa-exemption policies for the below areas or groups shall resume operation:
□Cruises to Shanghai
□Foreigners to visit Guangdong from Hong Kong and Macao
On the other hand, China added 40 more nations to its list of those where group trips
are permitted, raising the total number to 60. This is another part of a further loosening
of restrictions on outbound tourism.
Image by David Mark from Pixabay
It is believed that these adjustments are to boost China’s economy. Newly elected premier Li Qiang admitted on Monday that achieving the country's economic growth target of around 5% would be "no easy task".
According to data from the UN World Tourism Organization, China received 65.7 million international visitors in 2019. China posted just 3% growth in 2022, lower than its target of around 5.5% due to the strained economy under the twin impact of Covid-19 policies and a property crisis.
Thus, the visa relaxation policies are considered another effort to reopen its border.
Foreigners will now be able to travel to China more conveniently for all kinds of purposes.
Image by M. Maggs from Pixabay
Insiders from the tourist industry do not expect a large number of visitors to come
to China in the short run, nor will this bring a significant boost to the economy
in the near future.
There are some other negative reviews. Duncan Clark, the founder of BDA,
a Beijing-based investment consultancy, said though it’s common to use tourist
visas to come to China on business, he doesn’t know how enthusiastic
institutional investors will be to do so now.
But some believe this marks a broader push to normalize two-way travel
between China and the world.
The foreign ministry said on Tuesday, that areas in China that required no
visas before the pandemic will revert to visa-free entry. This includes the
southern tourist island of Hainan, a long-time favorite destination among
Russians, as well as cruise ships passing through Shanghai port.
In addition, visa-free entry for foreigners from Hong Kong and Macau
SARs to Guangdong, China's most prosperous province, will also resume
a boon, particularly to high-end hotels popular among international business
travelers. Chairman of the Australian Chamber of Commerce in China,
Vaughn Barber, said that foreigners’ visa resumption is “positive” for Australian
businesses whose executives would like to visit their “China-based teams,
customers, and suppliers.” Besides, this allows them to “explore new business
opportunities in the mainland market,” added Barber.
Chinese events open to foreign visitors are gradually resuming as well. These
events include the China Development Forum in Beijing later this month, and the
Shanghai Autoshow in April.
All in all, for global business people who plan to travel to China in the near time, it is suggested to consult with your local embassies or consulates for more information. Of course, at the same time, don’t forget to ask your Chinese partners or manufacturers to help you with documents when applying for visas if applicable.
Source: 1. National Immigration Administration 2. China Briefing 3. France 24 4. Reuters
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