In our Spotlight on APAC series we round up the latest developments from across the Asia Pacific region. In this post we focus on recent measures to ease the immigration procedures for foreign nationals coming to China to live, work or study.
On 11 January 2024, the National Immigration Administration formally implemented five measures to facilitate the entry of foreign nationals into China. The measures represent a further step in China’s continuing efforts to provide more efficient and convenient immigration procedures for foreign nationals wishing to work, study, or live in China.
The rationale behind the measures follows a ranging of easing measures and a trend being seen across APAC currently as various Governments seek to re-energise flagging economies follow the pandemic slow down and other geo-political factors.
The five notable measures in China are as follows:
- Relaxed conditions for granting foreign nationals visas upon arrival: Foreign nationals who urgently need to visit China for non-diplomatic and non-official activities, such as business cooperation, visits for the purpose of exchanging ideas and experience, visits in connection with investment or business start-ups, family visits, tourism or visits to handle private affairs, may apply for a visa to the immigration authorities at of the port of entry if they had no time to obtain a visa outside China. The application will need to be made on the strength of the invitation letter or other such relevant supporting documents.
- Waiver of border inspection procedures at Beijing Capital Airport and eight other hub airports for foreign nationals in direct transit with a layover of not more than 24 hours: Foreign nationals are exempted from border inspection procedures at nine international airports, namely Beijing Capital Airport, Beijing Daxing Airport, Shanghai Pudong Airport, Hangzhou Xiaoshan Airport, Xiamen Gaoqi Airport, Guangzhou Baiyun Airport, Shenzhen Baoan Airport, Chengdu Tianfu Airport, and Xi’an Xianyang Airport if they are direct transit passengers with a layover of not more than 24 hours. Travelers who are transiting through any of the above-mentioned airports and hold a connecting international air ticket for a flight scheduled to depart for a third country within 24 hours are exempted from border control procedures and may transit directly without a visa.
- Foreign nationals in China may apply for extension, replacement, or reissuance of their visa at a nearby immigration office: Foreign nationals in China for a short term visit covering non diplomatic and non official activities may be able to apply to extend, replace or reissue their visa at a local public security bureau that has the relevant immigration office. This makes the process much more convenient for individuals who are in China short terms for the purposes of business activity, negotiation and exchanging ideas or experiences, investment activity for start up businesses, family visits, seeing relatives, handling general private affairs. The individual should have legitimate reasons to remain longer in China.
- Simplified and eased documentation requirements for foreign nationals in China applying for a visa: In some cases it will not be necessary for a foreign national to produce hard copy evidence of things like personal accommodation etc if such records can be accessed online in public forum. It may be possible for foreign nationals applying for short-term visas for relatives coming to China to visit family or family reunion, to make a declaration of kinship rather than producing hard copy evidence of relationship to the visiting individual.
- Applying for multiple entries within China: Foreign nationals in China who have a legitimate reasons for leaving and re-entering multiple times may apply to a public security bureau’s immigration office for a multiple entry visa on the strength of the invitation letter or other such relevant supporting documents.