From tomorrow onwards, citizens from 6 countries will start enjoying visa-free travel to China for 15 days! Here is what you need to know!
China Offers Visa-Free Travel For 6 New Countries!
China will start offering visa-free travel to 6 additional countries on a trial basis, starting on 1 December 2023.
On Friday, 24 November 2023, China announced that citizens from these 6 countries will enjoy visa-free travel for up to 15 days:
- The Netherlands
These six countries will join Singapore, Japan, and Brunei, whose citizens already enjoy visa-free travel to China for up to 15 days.
According to Chinese government spokesperson Mao Ning, China has taken this step to help “promote the high-quality development of Chinese and foreign personnel exchanges and high-level opening up to the outside world“.
This visa-free travel for those 6 countries, however, is a trial that will last from 1 December 2023 until 30 November 2024. This trial program may or may not be extended after that.
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China Visa-Free Travel To Hopefully Revive Tourism
Travellers to China are generally required to apply for a visa. China is hoping that offering visa-free travel to certain favoured countries will help to revive its tourism industry that has been hard-hit by strict COVID-19 measures in the past 3 years.
China had the world’s strictest COVID-19 measures, maintaining them long after the rest of the world reopened. Even when the Chinese government decided to reopen its borders, it required inbound travellers to quarantine, which discouraged travel
It was only in March 2023 that China began issuing all types of travel visas again, and in July that it restored the 15-day visa-free travel for Singapore, Japan and Brunei. In August, China finally scrapped all COVID-19 test requirements for inbound travellers.
With visa-free travel removing the onerous application for a Chinese travel visa, it is likely that there will be tourists and business visitors who will take opportunity of the one-year trial to visit China. The only question is whether it is a surge, or merely a tiny bump.
After all, potential travellers would need to worry about the lack of access to essential apps like Google Maps, WhatsApp, Telegram, etc. as well as popular apps like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube. There is also the risk of being detained in China, and prevented from returning home.
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