China will allow visa-free entry for France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia

Starting December 1, citizens of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia will be allowed to enter China for up to 15 days without a visa.

November 24, 2023 04:19 pm | Updated 04:19 pm IST - Beijing

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning. File

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

China announced on November 24 that it will allow visa-free entry for citizens of five European countries and Malaysia as it tries to encourage more people to visit for business and tourism.

Starting December 1, citizens of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia will be allowed to enter China for up to 15 days without a visa. The trial programme will be in effect for one year.

The aim is “to facilitate the high-quality development of Chinese and foreign personnel exchanges and high-level opening up to the outside world,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at a daily briefing.

China's strict pandemic measures, which included required quarantines for all arrivals, discouraged many people from visiting for nearly three years. The restrictions were lifted early this year, but international travel has yet to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels.

China previously allowed citizens of Brunei, Japan and Singapore to enter without a visa but suspended that after the COVID-19 outbreak. It resumed visa-free entry for Brunei and Singapore in July but has not done so for Japan.

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.

The government has been seeking foreign investment to help boost a sluggish economy, and some businesspeople have been coming for trade fairs and meetings, including Tesla's Elon Musk and Apple's Tim Cook. Foreign tourists are still a rare sight compared to before the pandemic.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.