Tuesday, June 18, 2024

China Introduces Visa-Free Travel For Six Countries

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China has announced a groundbreaking initiative to pilot visa-free travel for citizens from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia. This program, set to run from December to 30 November 2024, allows ordinary passport holders from these countries to conduct business or engage in tourism activities within China without the need for a visa for a maximum duration of 15 days.

According to spokesperson Mao Ning, the primary objective behind this initiative is to foster the advancement of China’s high-quality development and promote its commitment to openness. This move represents a significant departure from the current requirement for most travellers to obtain a visa in order to enter China. It is worth noting that certain exceptions already exist, permitting citizens of Singapore and Brunei to enter China visa-free for business, tourism, family visits, and transit purposes, provided that their stay does not exceed 15 days.

However, it was only in March of this year that China reinstated the issuance of all visa types. This decision followed the strict travel restrictions implemented in March 2020 in response to the global Covid-19 pandemic. For a period of three years, China imposed some of the most stringent COVID-19 containment measures globally, including travel restrictions, extensive lockdowns, and frequent testing requirements.

While effective in curbing the spread of the virus, these measures considerably impacted the country’s economy. Consequently, China’s zero-Covid policy, which greatly contributed to the containment efforts, was lifted in December of the previous year. Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, China welcomed tens of millions of international visitors each year. However, the implementation of strict travel restrictions and health protocols disrupted this influx, underscoring the significance of this new visa-free travel trial for citizens from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia.

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