China is slowly making its way back onto the travel map. In an effort to alleviate its Covid limitations, the country is now welcome tourists and other outsiders by changing its visa and entry procedures.
According to a notice issued on March 14, visa services in China has resumed on March 15. These modifications took effect at 12 a.m. on March 15, Beijing time.
Here are the changes in the visa policy:
1. Visas issued before 28 March 2020 will resume function, as long as they are still within their period of validity.
2. Foreigners will now be able to apply for visas to China, as visa-issuing authorities abroad will resume reviewing and issuing applications.
3. Port visas will also be issued as per laws and regulations.
4. Visa-free entry to Hainan province; to Shanghai for cruises; to Guangdong province for foreigners from Hong Kong and Macao; and to Guilin for ASEAN tourist groups will resume.
China abruptly lifted Covid restrictions in November and removed obligatory quarantine for inbound travelers in January. Formerly, the country had a zero-Covid policy in effect, with severe screening mechanisms in place. During that period, the number of passenger flights had reduced considerably, and tourist visas had been suspended entirely as part of the visa restriction.
In recent months, China has resurrected a number of services, including professional visas for foreign nationals. The country has now begun to gradually expand outbound group travel by permitting the marketing of group tours and package offers. The second part of this program, which will add 40 new countries to the list of outbound travel destinations, will also begin today.
There has been no update on Covid-specific precautions for inbound travelers. However, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told The Times of India that China has approved pre-boarding antigen testing in order to “optimise measures for remote testing of people traveling to China from relevant countries.”
Read the latest requirements for Chinese visas in India here.