Frequently asked questions about visa free entry policies in six countries

In order to ensure the smooth implementation of the visa-free entry policy and further promote exchanges and cooperation between Chinese and foreign personnel, border inspection authorities across the country have optimized the deployment of police forces, strengthened on-site guidance, and opened sufficient inspection channels to ensure efficient and smooth customs clearance at ports. At the same time, the National Immigration Administration guides the exit and entry administrations of local public security organs to provide convenience for visa-free entry in accordance with laws and regulations. From December 1, 2023, China will implement a visa-free entry policy for ordinary passport holders from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia.

Here are some frequently asked questions about visa-free entry.

Does visa-free entry need to be declared in advance through Chinese embassies and consulates abroad?

Foreigners eligible for the visa-free entry policy do not need to declare to Chinese embassies and consulates abroad in advance.

Do Chinese border inspection authorities verify the reason for coming to China? Do I need to bring anything other than my passport?

Foreigners coming to China for business, tourism, visiting relatives and friends or in transit for purposes of visa-free travel shall enter China after being examined and approved by Chinese border inspection authorities in accordance with law; For foreigners whose purpose of coming to China is inconsistent with the reasons stipulated in the visa-free policy or who have other legally prohibited entry, the border inspection authorities will make a decision to deny entry according to law. It is recommended to bring the invitation letter, air ticket and hotel order and other supporting materials that are consistent with the purpose of coming to China. People coming to China for work, study, reporting and other purposes are not covered by the visa exemption.

Is there any requirement on the type and validity of entry document?

Foreigners need to hold a valid ordinary passport to China, and the validity period must meet the needs of travel in China. Foreigners holding documents other than ordinary passports, such as travel permits, temporary or emergency documents, are not subject to the visa-free policy.

How to calculate the 15-day stay period?

Foreigners who meet the visa exemption requirements may stay in China continuously until 24:00 on the 15th natural day from the date of entry.

Can I depart from a country other than my nationality?

Foreigners eligible for visa-free entry to China can travel from any country (region) outside China.

Does it apply to other modes of entry other than air?

The unilateral visa exemption applies to all sea, land and air ports open to foreigners (unless otherwise provided for by laws and regulations or bilateral arrangements). If you come to China by self-provided means of transport, you should also go through the entry and exit formalities of self-provided means of transport in accordance with relevant Chinese laws and regulations.

Is visa-free entry applicable for tourist groups?

Foreigners who meet the conditions of visa-free entry to China, whether they are participating in tourist groups or traveling individually, can apply the visa-free entry policy.

Can I apply for an extension of stay permit if I stay in China for more than 15 days?

If a foreigner intends to stay in China for more than 15 days, he or she should apply for a visa corresponding to the purpose of coming to China at the Chinese diplomatic and consular missions abroad in advance. If you need to continue to stay in China due to reasonable and legitimate reasons after applying the visa-free policy, you should apply to the Exit and Entry Administration of the public security organ for a stay permit according to the actual approval of the local bureau.

Are there any requirements on the entry interval, the number of visa-free visits and the total length of stay?

If foreigners meet the conditions of visa-free entry, they can apply the visa-free policy to China several times. At present, there is no limit to the number of visa-free visits and the total number of days of stay, but they should be careful not to engage in activities inconsistent with the purpose of entry.

If visa-free foreigners need to stay in China for long-term development, can they directly apply for long-term residence permits in China?

Taking Shenzhen as an example, holders of 5-day Special Zone tourist visas, group visas or China’s unilateral permission to enter the country without a visa, without force majeure reasons will not accept any visa, residence permit applications. Therefore, if you need to stay in China for a long time, you need to leave the country and hold a valid visa before you can transfer the long-term residence permit in Shenzhen.

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