Visa-Free China : Your Essential Q&A Guide




Answers to Questions Regarding Visa-Free Entry to China for Foreigners According to Reciprocal Visa Exemption Agreements







Policies Regarding Visa Exemptions

(一)

China Extends Visa Waiver Policy for 12 Countries

To further facilitate exchanges between Chinese and foreign nationals, and to serve high-quality development and a high level of opening up, on May 7th, China announced its decision to extend the visa waiver policy for citizens of 12 countries—France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Malaysia, Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg—until December 31, 2025. Individuals from the aforementioned countries holding ordinary passports who come to China for business, tourism, family visits, or transit for no more than 15 days are exempt from visa requirements. However, those who do not meet the visa exemption conditions must secure a Chinese visa before entry.


(二)China and Antigua and Barbuda have a mutual visa exemption agreement.

In accordance with the "Agreement on Mutual Visa Exemption between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda," starting from May 11, 2024, citizens holding Chinese diplomatic, official, or ordinary passports and citizens holding Antiguan and Barbudan diplomatic or official passports, when entering, exiting, or transiting through the territory of the other contracting party, are exempt from visa requirements for single stays not exceeding 30 days and for cumulative stays not exceeding 90 days within any 180-day period.


(三)China and Georgia have a mutual visa exemption agreement. 

On May 28th, the Agreement between the People's Republic of China and Georgia on Mutual Visa Exemption for Holders of Ordinary Passports officially came into effect. According to the agreement, holders of valid ordinary passports of the People's Republic of China or Georgia are exempt from visa requirements when entering, exiting, or transiting through the territory of the other contracting party, with a single stay not exceeding 30 days and an aggregate stay not exceeding 90 days within any 180-day period.


(四)China and Malaysia have mutually extended their visa exemption policy.


On June 20th, China and Malaysia issued the "Joint Statement on Deepening and Upgrading the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and Building a China-Malaysia Community with a Shared Future." The statement mentioned that China has agreed to extend the visa exemption policy for Malaysian citizens until the end of 2025. In return, as a reciprocal arrangement, Malaysia will extend the visa exemption policy for Chinese citizens until the end of 2026.



So, what are the things to keep in mind?

No.1

According to the mutual visa exemption agreements signed between our country and the relevant countries, foreign citizens who meet the visa exemption conditions can stay "no more than 90 days within any 180-day period." How should this be understood and calculated?

A:

The phrase "no more than 90 days within any 180-day period" means that from any given day, looking back over the previous 180 days, a foreigner should not have stayed in China for more than 90 days. These 90 days do not include the time spent in China with a visa, residence permit, or other similar travel documents, nor the time spent with an APEC Business Travel Card. If, upon entry, the cumulative visa-free stay over the past 180 days has already reached 90 days, visa-free entry is not allowed. If the cumulative stay is less than 90 days but the remaining stay is less than 30 days, the current visa-free stay should not exceed the remaining available visa-free time.



No.2

Can a foreign citizen from a visa-exempt country who has entered without a visa and had their passport inspected and stamped by immigration authorities, and then lost it, exit the country directly with an emergency travel document issued by their country's embassy in China?

A:

The mutual visa exemption agreements signed by our country with the relevant countries clearly specify the types of documents that are applicable, which are usually passports. Some agreements also include temporary travel documents and other forms of international travel documents. If a foreign citizen loses the travel document they used to enter without a visa as stipulated by the agreement, and if the replacement document falls within the category specified in the mutual visa exemption agreement, they can exit the country normally within the visa-free stay period with the replacement document. However, if the visa-free stay period has expired, or if the replacement travel document does not fall within the category specified in the agreement, they will still need to obtain the necessary stay documentation from the entry-exit administration department of the public security bureau and exit within the period permitted by the stay documentation.



No.3

What should a foreign citizen from a country with a mutual visa exemption agreement do if they need to stay in China beyond the visa-free stay period after entering without a visa?

A:

Foreign citizens from countries with a mutual visa exemption agreement who enter China without a visa should exit the country before the visa-free stay period expires. If there is an urgent reason or force majeure that necessitates continued stay in China, they should apply for an extension of stay at the entry-exit administration department of the public security bureau before the visa-free stay period ends.


No.4

After entering without a visa from a country with which I have a mutual visa exemption agreement, do foreign citizens need to go through a hotel registration process?

A:


According to Article 39 of the "Exit and Entry Administration Law of the People's Republic of China," when foreigners stay at a hotel within China, the hotel must handle the accommodation registration for them in accordance with the relevant regulations on the public security management of the hotel industry and report the registration information of the foreigners to the local public security organs. If a foreigner resides or stays at a place other than a hotel, they or the person providing the accommodation must, within 24 hours of checking in, go through the registration process at the local public security organ where they reside. In accordance with the aforementioned regulations, foreign citizens entering visa-free from countries with which we have a mutual visa exemption agreement must legally complete the accommodation registration process.

The "Alien Entry Card (ARRIVAL CARD)" filled out by foreign citizens when entering China has already informed them of the accommodation registration requirements in both Chinese and English in the "Important Notices" section. Please follow the relevant prompts and complete the accommodation registration for foreigners in accordance with the law. Chinese immigration authorities and public security organs have further simplified the registration items and will make full use of internet technology to simplify the registration declaration methods, enhancing the convenience for foreigners in China.



Editor: CH

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