China launches 5 new
measures to facilitate
foreign visitors

Effective 11 January 2024, the National Immigration Administration (NIA) has implemented five measures to facilitate entry for foreign nationals coming to China for business, study and tourism.

As China’s economic development continues to recover following the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese and foreign companies have put forward new demands for immigration management services that promote a first-class business environment and show that the country is opening up to the outside world.

The following five policies now in place will make it significantly easier for foreign nationals seeking entry to China for short-term visits.

Port visa requirements relaxed

Foreign nationals who urgently need to come to China for non-diplomatic or official activities—such as business cooperation, visits and exchanges, investment and entrepreneurship, visiting relatives, and dealing with personal affairs—and have no time to obtain visas abroad, can apply for port visas from port visa authorities by presenting their invitation letter and other relevant documents.

Foreign nationals on 24-hour transit exempt from border inspection at nine airports

International passengers subject to 24-hour visa-free transit are exempt from border inspection procedures at the following nine international airports:

  • 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 Baoan International Airport
  • Chengdu Tianfu International Airport
  • Xi’an Xianyang International Airport.

Entry and exit passengers who transit to a third country or region through any of the above-mentioned airports with an international connecting ticket within 24 hours can directly transit without a visa.

Facilitation of visa extension and renewal

Foreign nationals coming to China for short-term non-diplomatic or official activities, such as business cooperation, visits and exchanges, investment and entrepreneurship, visiting relatives, sightseeing, and dealing with personal affairs—and who have legitimate and reasonable reasons to continue their stay in the country—may apply for visa extension and renewal at the Exit and Entry Administration of the Public Security Bureau at their place of stay.

Provision of re-entry visas

Foreign nationals in China who need to enter and exit the country multiple times for legitimate and reasonable reasons may apply to the Exit and Entry Administration of the Public Security Bureau for issuance of a multiple-entry visa, by providing an invitation letter and other relevant certification materials.

Simplifying the document submission process for visa applications

When applying for visas to China, foreign nationals whose documentation, such as temporary residence registration records, business licenses, and other relevant data, can be accessed by authorities through official information sharing mechanisms will be exempted from submitting these documents for verification.

Those in China who apply for short-term family visit and reunion visas can use a family relationship statement provided by the inviter instead of a kinship certificate.

Travelling to China in 2024?

Since reopening its borders in 2023, China has resumed and streamlined its pre-pandemic visa policies. These now include:

  • Simplified tourist visa requirements for US nationals;
  • A temporary reduction in visa fees;
  • A unilateral 15-day visa waiver for nationals of France, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Spain for business, tourism, family visits or transit.
  • A proposed 30-day visa-free entry arrangement with Singapore;
  • A permanent bilateral visa-free agreement with Thailand;
  • Extension of the 72/144-hour transit visa-free policies to visitors from Norway, increasing the number of countries covered by the policies to 54;
  • A relaxed visa policy for Macau residents;
  • Expanded online visa services and a simplified visa application form.

If you intend to visit China this year and require support with the immigration process, Smith Stone Walters can help. To speak to a member of our global immigration team, please contact us today.

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