In a significant move to facilitate travel for both Chinese and foreign individuals, China has announced the lifting of the suspension on all valid visas that were issued before March 2020. This policy change, effective from March 15, 2023, brings much-needed relief to individuals holding such visas, as they will no longer be required to apply for new visas to enter China. Let's explore the details of this recent development and its impact on travel to China.
Restoration of Entry Function for Pre-March 2020 Visas:
Individuals holding valid visas, including long-term visas with multiple entries, can now use their existing visas to travel to China without the need for a new visa application. This means that if you possess a 10-year multiple entry visa, for instance, you can continue to use it for travel purposes.
Using Expired Passports with Valid Visas:
For those whose visas are in their old expired passports, there is no cause for concern. The authorities have clarified that individuals can travel with both the old passport containing the valid visa and a new valid passport. This flexibility ensures that travelers can easily utilize their existing visas for entry into China.
Resumption of Visa Issuance by Overseas and Port Visa Authorities:
To further streamline the process of foreign travel to China, overseas visa authorities will resume issuing various types of visas for foreigners. It is advisable to refer to the application guidelines provided by the respective visa authorities to ensure compliance with specific requirements.
Additionally, port visa authorities will also restore the issuance of different types of port visas that meet the legal requirements. This adjustment aims to facilitate smoother entry procedures for individuals arriving at various ports of entry in China.
Restoration of Visa-Free Entry Policies:
China has also decided to reinstate visa-free entry policies for certain regions. Foreign nationals can once again enjoy the convenience of visa-free entry to specific areas under the following circumstances:
Hainan: The policy of visa-free entry for individuals traveling to Hainan province is reinstated. This allows travelers to explore the beauty and attractions of Hainan without the need for a visa.
Shanghai Cruise: The visa-free entry policy for individuals arriving in Shanghai via cruises has been restored. This enables tourists to embark on memorable cruise journeys starting from Shanghai.
Guangdong for Hong Kong and Macau: Foreign nationals visiting Guangdong as part of an organized group from Hong Kong and Macau can once again benefit from visa-free entry.
Guilin, Guangxi for ASEAN Tourist Groups: The visa-free entry policy for ASEAN tourist groups traveling to Guilin in Guangxi province has been reinstated, providing an opportunity for seamless travel and exploration.
China's decision to lift the suspension on valid visas issued before March 2020 marks a significant step towards easing travel restrictions and promoting smoother mobility for both Chinese and foreign individuals. With the restoration of visa functions, resumption of visa issuance, and reinstatement of visa-free entry policies for specific regions, individuals can look forward to a more convenient and streamlined travel experience to China. It is advisable to stay updated with the latest guidelines and requirements from the Chinese authorities and respective visa offices for a hassle-free journey.