China continues to embrace greater openness to the world and thus simplifies travel measures for its visitors.
Seeking to boost tourism in the country even more, the Chinese government has implemented new measures to streamline entry for visa-on-arrival visitors traveling for business, education, or tourism.
Effective 11 January 2024, these measures allow specific groups of travelers to apply for re-entry visas or port visas upon arriving in the country.
“The measures are designed to make business activities, education, and tours in China more accessible for foreign nationals,” said China’s National Immigration Administration (NIA) via a press release.
It added that the new policies will “further eliminate hurdles related to doing business, studying, and traveling in China and better serve China’s high-level opening up and high-quality development.”
Updated simplified measures for Chinese visitors
China’s NIA introduced new measures to attract more overseas visitors and make visiting the country easier. Below are the new rules that took effect on 11 January 2024.
No more border inspections for visa-free transit travelers
Foreign nationals visiting China eligible for 24-hour visa-free transit at major hub airports no longer need to undergo inspection procedures.
The policy applies to individuals with international interline ticket holders transiting to third countries and regions within 24 hours through nine international airports in China.
These international airports include Beijing Capital International Airport, Beijing Daxing International Airport, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport, Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport, Chengdu Tianfu International Airport, and Xi’an Xianyang International Airport.
Foreign nationals visiting China from 54 countries are currently eligible for China’s 72/144-hour transit visa-free policies. While the suspension of border inspections only applies to nine airports, visa-free transit is effective at 31 ports in 23 cities of 18 provinces in China.
Apply for visa extensions and multiple-entry visas while in China.
Foreigners already in China can now apply for visa extension, renewal, and re-issuance at the nearest public security office.
This applies to foreign nationals visiting China for short-term activities such as business, visits, investment, private matters, tourism, or visiting relatives, provided they have legitimate reasons for extending their stay.
Additionally, foreigners already in China needing a multiple-entry visa for legitimate reasons may now apply at an exit-entry administration of a public security office nearest their accommodations.
They will need an invitation letter from a relevant competent organization or individual in China, as well as other requirements.
These include a valid passport, visa application form, passport photo, proof of legal residence or legal status, previous Chinese visas, if applicable, proof of round-trip flight, and accommodations.
Getting a port visa or visa-on-arrival
Individuals planning to visit China but are unable to obtain a visa beforehand due to time constraints can apply for a port visa at a port visa authority.
To apply for the port visa, foreigners must have an invitation letter and other accompanying documents, such as a valid passport and a completed visa application form.
These apply to those coming to China for non-diplomatic official business activities, visits and exchanges, investment and entrepreneurship, private affairs, or visiting relatives.
No more printouts
Foreign nationals applying for visas no longer need to present physical certificates if their information can be checked through shared systems.
These apply to relevant information, including accommodation registration records, business licenses, etc.
A declaration of kinship can also be used instead of a formal kinship certificate for visa applicants coming to China for family visits or reunions.
More travel policies that streamline travel to China
Since 2023, China has been implementing new policies as part of a broader strategy to boost tourism and business. The new guidelines aim to stimulate the economy after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Citizens of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia can now travel to China without a visa for visits of up to 15 days from 1 December 2023 to 30 November 2024.
The Chinese government also reduced visa fees for travelers from Thailand, Japan, Mexico, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
American nationals now also benefit from streamlined visa application rules, exempting them from providing a record of booked round-trip air tickets, proof of hotel reservation, itinerary, or an invitation letter.
According to the statistics of the NIA, China’s border inspection authorities across entry and exits to the country now have an average of 1.726 million visitors crossing the border daily.