China announces new visa-free policy
On the matter at hand, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning stated: “To further facilitate cross-border travel and China’s high-quality development and high-standard opening up, China has decided to apply unilateral visa-free policy to more countries (…)”
This exemption will be in effect for 1 year on a trial basis until November 30th 2024. Nationals from previously mentioned countries will be able to remain in China for 15 days without any concern for a visa.
Mao Ning further explains: “(…) on a trial basis, which involves extending visa-free treatment to travelers holding ordinary passports from six countries, namely France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia. From December 1, 2023 to November 30, 2024, citizens from the above-mentioned countries holding ordinary passports can be exempted from visa to enter China and stay for no more than 15 days for business, tourism, family visit and transit purposes.”
Why is China allowing visa-free travel from 5 EU Countries?
During the Covid-19 pandemic, China implemented strict measures, which naturally saw a sizeable decrease in tourists visiting the country. Even though the restrictions had been lifted earlier this year, travelers continued wary of visiting China, and tourism did not return to the levels the government had hoped for. Euronews reports that “(…) in the first six months of the year, China recorded 8.4 million entries and exits by foreigners, according to immigration statistics. That compares to 977 million for all of 2019, the last year before the pandemic."
Thus, the current relaxation in the travel policy is aimed at remedying these issues in the tourism and business sector, and it already is producing the results China desired. In just three days, China witnessed a massive increase in entries to the country from nationals from the six waived countries. Almost 18,000 tourists entered China, and 39% of this total came due to the visa exemption policy.
During a press conference on December 5, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said: “The policy has produced positive effects. According to data from the National Immigration Administration, from December 1 to 3, there was a continued increase in entries from these countries. Nearly 18,000 travelers from the six countries entered China, with the daily average up by 39 percent from November 30. Almost 7,000 of these travelers or 39 percent of the total came on the visa-free policy. From these numbers, we can see how the unilateral visa-free policy is making things easier for travelers of the six countries.”
Visa-free travel: An Everyday Reality
It is undeniable China has become a key global player in recent decades, and being able to travel visa-free to its territory is a tremendous plus for many. However, the future remains uncertain, as this exemption is set only to last for a year, and it is unclear if it will be updated after it expires. Right now, many countries around the world already have eased cross-border traveling, and due to bilateral agreements, visa-free travel is already a common phenomenon.
With the right Residency or Citizenship status, concerns about visas become yesterday’s problem. European countries such as Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Greece hold some of the most powerful passports in the world, with guaranteed visa-free travel to more than 170 countries. It is possible to attain Residency status in any of these countries and be able to acquire a slice of these benefits through Residency by Investment programs, which can, after a set amount of time, evolve into Citizenship status.
Some countries, like those in the Caribbean, even offer a straightforward path to Citizenship, bypassing the need for Residency altogether. While these countries’ passports are not as powerful as European passports, they still allow entry to most countries worldwide and represent a worthwhile and profitable alternative.
At Investment Visa, we work with these programs, and we have an entire team dedicated to providing the best advisory services on the market and guiding the right individual to the right program for them. This team stands upon a foundation of more than 25 years of experience with investment immigration programs and has guided thousands of clients worldwide to second residency or citizenship. Contacting Investment Visa is the first step to ensure you too can unlock a better future for you and your family.