By Fuki Fu, Assistant Manager, HR, Dezan Shira & Associates Shanghai Office
On August 10, The PRC Embassy in Denmark announced that China will allow eligible foreign nationals from 36 European countries to apply for new Chinese visas at any Chinese embassy or consulate within the stipulated countries. On August 12, the Chinese embassy in Berlin, Germany published a similar announcement.
Eligible applicants will not be required to submit an invitation letter and will be able to apply for a Chinese visa “free of charge”.
To clarify, the announcement opens up travel from specific European countries both within the European Union (which has 27 member-states) and outside the EU.
In alphabetical order, the following 36 European countries are on the list:
This is a significant development for foreign nationals who have been seeking entry into China.
Since March 28 this year, the Chinese government has suspended entry for most foreigners, including holders of valid visa or residence permits.
The exceptions to this travel ban have been few. For example, the Chinese government has facilitated visa applications of foreign nationals seeking entry into China for essential economic, trade, scientific, and technological activities or out of emergency humanitarian needs.
As per the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian: “Recently, as the situation has been brought under control in many countries, people are looking forward to making foreign trips. Thus, China is relaxing in an orderly and gradual manner visa restrictions for foreigners entering China to resume economic activities and for other essential purposes. One more point to highlight is that for those who hold valid visa or residence permit but need visa renewal, Chinese embassies and consulates will provide them visa service for free.”
The new announcement reopening visa services for 36 European countries is the first sign that shows China is reversing the foreign national travel ban put into effect in late March when the coronavirus pandemic affected many countries. We now expect Chinese borders to open to increasingly more countries, likely to be based on their respective pandemic response.
However, no official announcement has been made by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs or any other EU embassy so far. We expect further information to be released and to have practical cases very soon.
China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done so since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at email@example.com.
We also maintain offices assisting foreign investors in Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, The Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, United States, and Italy, in addition to our practices in India and Russia and our trade research facilities along the Belt & Road Initiative.
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