Good news for frequent travelers to China, and for those who have always wanted to visit but were deterred by the visa application procedure: Mainland China has launched a trial visa-free travel policy for 5 EU nationalities, namely France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia.
Author: Stefan Schmierer, Managing Partner
As announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC, this policy starts on December 1, 2023 and will last for one year. From the outset, it allows citizens of these countries to enter and stay in the Mainland of China for up to 15 days without obtaining a visa, granted that the traveler can prove the temporary nature of stay.
This policy aims to promote tourism and cultural exchange between China and these countries and it permits entry for tourist, business or family reasons.
If you are eligible and interested in taking advantage of this policy, here are some practical questions and answers that you may find useful:
Who can benefit from this policy?
You can benefit from this policy if you hold an ordinary passport from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, or Malaysia.
How long can you stay in China visa-free?
Eligible travelers can stay in China visa-free for up to 15 days per entry. At the moment of writing, there is no information available about how frequently eligible travelers may make use of the policy within a certain period of time. Note: Hong Kong and Macau as Special Administrative Regions within China offer visa-free stays of up to 90 days for all EU passport holders and many other nationalities.
What if I want to stay longer than 15 days?
If your visit to China requires you to stay longer than 15 days, it is advisable to apply for any of the other regular visas. Alternatively, from the available information at the moment of writing, you can leave China on day 15 of your visit, for example to Hong Kong or Macau, and then return for another stay of 15 days.
Where can you go in China visa-free?
You can visit to the whole territory of Mainland China, except for Tibet and Xinjiang, which require special permits, for which only tour groups can apply.
How can you enter China visa-free?
You can enter Mainland China visa-free through any port of entry, including airports, railway stations, and land borders. You only need to have a valid passport, a confirmed onward ticket to a third country or region, and a valid visa for that destination if required. You do not need to register online before arriving or submit an itinerary. At the moment of writing, there is no concrete information available about the exact procedures to follow upon arrival from 1 December onward, if you are an eligible traveler.
What are the advantages of this policy?
This policy offers you a great opportunity to explore China with more convenience, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. You can save time and money by avoiding the hassle of applying for the Chinese visa. You can also plan your trip more spontaneously and freely, without being restricted by a fixed itinerary, which offers much convenience especially for business.
How can Ravenscroft & Schmierer help with your travel needs?
Our extensive experience in Hong Kong and the Greater China region allows us to efficiently and expertly advise our clients on many topics related to global mobility. We help clients set up their businesses by arranging their incorporation, investment or employment visa applications, due diligence investigations and much more. We look forward to hearing more about your challenges, our team is here to help and can be reached by phone on +853 2388 3899 or on email@example.com.
Disclaimer: This publication is general in nature and is not intended to constitute legal advice. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this publication.
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