Sunday, July 21, 2024

China Offers Visa-Free Entry to 6 European Counties Including Switzerland

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China has decided to expand its 15-day visa-free travel policy to six additional European countries on a trial basis, during the period between March 14 and November 30, 2024. 


On March 7, 2024, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that China will expand its 15-day visa-free entry policy to six additional European countries. These countries include Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

Between March 14 and November 30, 2024, ordinary passport holders from the mentioned countries can enter China without a visa for purposes such as business, tourism, visiting relatives and friends, and transit.

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This move aligns with China’s commitment to facilitating procedures for foreigners to come to China for work, study, and travel, as stated in the 2024 Government Work Report. It is designed to further promote personnel exchanges between China and other countries.

“We hope more countries will also offer Chinese citizens visa facilitation and work with us to build fast-track networks for cross-border travels and encourage speedy resumption of international passenger flights,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told a press conference on the sidelines of the Two Sessions.

Earlier in January 2024, in a meeting between Chinese Premier Li Qiang and Swiss President Viola Amherd, China promised to grant unilateral visa-free access for Swiss citizens and the initiation of an FTA upgrade to strengthen diplomatic ties and economic collaboration between the two nations.

Countries with 15-day visa-free travel to China

In the past, citizens with a valid ordinary passport from Japan, Brunei, and Singapore have been permitted to travel to China for a period of up to 15 days without applying for a visa for tourism, business, visiting relatives and friends, or transiting to a third country. This policy was suspended when COVID-19 restrictions were strictly implemented in China.

On July 26, 2023, the 15-day visa-free travel to China policy was resumed for citizens of Brunei and Singapore, the latter of which has been upgraded to a 30-day visa-free travel since February 2024.

On November 24, 2023, China announced that its 15-day visa-free travel policy was expanded to five European countries and Malaysia. During the period from December 1, 2023, to November 30, 2024, ordinary passport holders from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia may enter China visa-free for business, tourism, visiting relatives and friends, and transit for no more than 15 days.

Then on March 7, 2024, China announced that it will expand its 15-day visa-free entry policy to another six European countries, including Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg. During the period from March 14 to November 30, 2024, ordinary passports holders from the above countries can enter China visa-free for business, tourism, visiting relatives and friends, and transit for no more than 15 days.

To note, citizens from these countries would previously also have had to apply for a visa in advance if they:

  1. Expect to stay in China for more than 15 days; or
  2. Intend to study, work, settle down, or attend an interview in China.

At the time of writing, it’s still not clear when this policy will be resumed for citizens of Japan. This means citizens from Japan still need to apply for a Chinese tourist, business, or another type of visa to enter China at this time.

For more information related to China’s visa-free policy, please read our article:  China’s Visa-Free Policies: Latest Updates

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