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China resumes issuance of visas to foreigners – Here’s what will change

BEIJING – China will resume issuance of all categories of visas to foreigners starting Wednesday in a major shift from its earlier policy as the Covid restrictions are finally being lifted.

A statement from the China’s embassy in the US read that the decision is made to further facilitate cross-border travel and will also allow visa-free entry into Guangdong province resumed for foreigners in groups from Hong Kong and Macau, and for those on cruise ships stopping in Shanghai.

Beijing will now permit tourism visa, port visa, and multiple visa-exemption policies as it has moved away from its Covid-zero policy which was marked by frequent lockdowns, social distancing and shutting borders which hampered the country’s economic growth. The move comes weeks after China ended mandatory quarantine for inbound travelers.

The emergence of new variant in China also led to tit for that wars as the country required some countries, including the US, to provide negative PCR tests before boarding flights.

The fresh announcement implies that visa-exemption policy for Hainan, visa-exemption cruise policy for Shanghai, visa-exemption policy for foreigners to visit Guangdong from Hong Kong and Macao, and visa-exemption policy for ASEAN tour groups to Guilin and Guangxi would resume operation in a major relief to the globetrotters.

China had imposed tough travel restrictions on international arrivals from March 28, 2020 when the Covid scare was at its peak across the globe. In December 2022, China shifted from “zero-Covid” to “living with Covid” and finally the fresh guidelines confirm that the country has opened up to the foreigners in what appears to be the ‘end of Covid era’. 

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