On November 24th, Mao Ning, the spokesperson at China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that for one year, ordinary passport holders from certain countries will be able to visit China for up to 15 days without issuing a visa. The policy will be in place from the 1st of December to the 30th of November 2024, for both business and leisure. The selected countries include France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia.
In October, China announced that citizens of 53 countries including Canada, the US, Australia, the UK and France can apply for a 72-hour or 144-hour visa-free transit. Additionally, citizens of Singapore and Brunei are currently allowed a 15-day visa-free entry, a policy which resumed this July after a break during the pandemic.
Japanese passport holders used to enjoy the same benefits, but this policy has not yet reinstated since it was frozen due to the pandemic 3 years ago. This may have been due to the tensions between the countries after Japan released nuclear wastewater into the ocean in August.
China only restarted issuing visas of all types this March, 3 years after imposing travel restrictions in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. According to Mao Ning, the new policy aims to “promote China’s high-quality development and opening up”. These latest moves from Beijing signal China’s willingness to invite more foreign tourism and business after a prolonged pause to boost the local economy.