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China’s Post-COVID Visa Diplomacy: Visa Waiver Agreements And International Travel Policies

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(CTN News) – Since reopening its borders in 2023 after three years of self-imposed isolation due to COVID-19, China has been actively engaging in visa waiver agreements with various countries, reshaping its international travel policies.

These agreements aim to boost tourism for both Chinese citizens and the partner nations involved. Here’s a breakdown of the recent developments in China’s visa landscape:

Mutual Visa Exemption Agreements

China-Thailand Agreement

China and Thailand recently agreed to permanently waive visa requirements for each other’s citizens, effective from March 1. This follows a similar agreement with Singapore, set to take effect on February 9.

The total number of countries with mutual visa exemptions with China now stands at 22. Most of these agreements are with Asian nations, including Kazakhstan, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, the Maldives, and Armenia.

European and Other Agreements

Notably, five European nations—Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and San Marino—have reciprocated the mutual visa waiver.

However, the five major European nations of Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands, and Italy have yet to offer a similar arrangement for Chinese citizens.

Similar agreements have been reached in the Americas, involving Barbados, the Bahamas, Ecuador, Dominica, Grenada, and Suriname. Additionally, Mauritius and Seychelles in Africa, along with Fiji and Tonga in Oceania, have embraced the mutual visa-free regime.

Chinese passport1 1

Unilateral Visa Exemptions

China has unilaterally allowed visa-free entry for citizens from over 20 countries and regions. Notably, in the Americas, this includes Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Haiti, Saint Lucia, and Jamaica.

In Asia, Chinese citizens can enjoy visa-free access to Oman, South Korea’s Jeju Island, Uzbekistan, Iran, the island of Phu Quoc in Vietnam, and Georgia.

Oceania has also seen unilateral agreements with Micronesia, Niue, Samoa, French Polynesia, and Kiribati. Meanwhile, several African nations, such as Gabon, Morocco, Mozambique, Tunisia, Zambia, Angola, and Benin, have joined this list.

Visa on Arrival

Chinese passport holders can obtain a visa on arrival in over 40 countries and regions. This includes Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Madagascar, Bolivia, Cook Islands, Palau, and Egypt, among others.

Transit Visa Exemption

Chinese travelers benefit from transit visa exemptions in over 40 countries and regions, including Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Cyprus, Slovakia, Hungary, and Italy.

China’s evolving visa landscape reflects a strategic effort to enhance international cooperation and promote tourism.

While mutual agreements are expanding, the challenge remains for some major European nations to reciprocate, highlighting the complexities of diplomatic ties in the evolving global landscape.

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