China resumes issuing visas

China resumes issuing visas for foreigners from March 15, 2023. The new policy applies to all types of visas including the tourism visa. Moreover, valid visas issued before March 28, 2020, are reactivated.

China resumes issuing visas

China used to be one of the most visited countries in the world. Due to the pandemic control measures, visa issuance to China was suspended for a long time. Only specific groups could obtain visas to China. Fortunately, the pandemic subsided, and the policies were changed.

According to the Notice on the Adjustment of Chinese visa and the policy of entry to China published on March 13, 2023, the new policy is introduced from March 15, 2023, at 12 AM (Beijing Time). It sets new rules for issuing Chinese visas and entry for foreigners coming to China:

  • Valid Chinese visas that were issued before March 28, 2020, are reactivated.
  • The relevant visa-issuing authority stationed abroad (such as Chinese Visa Application Service Centers) are to resume examining and issuing various types of Chinese visas. It applies to the port visa office too.
  • The visa-free policies are reactivated, such as:
    • Hainan visa-free policy
    • Visa-free policy specified for foreign cruise-group-tour via Shanghai Port
    • Guangdong visa-free policy specified for foreign tour groups from Hong Kong or Macao SAR
    • Guangxiguilin visa-free policy specified for foreign tour groups of ASEAN countries.

What does the new Chinese visa policy mean?

First of all, if your valid visa to China was issued before March 28, 2020, you can use it to enter China.

Before the new policy, only some Chinese visa types were issued for foreigners. Now, China allows all categories of visas to be issued. It means that tourists can explore China after obtaining the relevant visa.

Lastly, areas in China that did not require visas prior to the pandemic will be visa-free once again. The rule is relevant to the southern tourist island Hainan, cruise ships passing through the Port of Shanghai, Guangdong, and Guangxiguilin. In some cases, visa-free entry applies to travelers from specific areas. 

How long does it take to get a Chinese visa?

In most Chinese Visa Application Service Centers, to get a Chinese visa, it takes:

  • four business days (regular service)
  • three business days (express service)
  • two business days (urgent service).

Check if you have to obtain a visa to China and how much it costs. If you want to get a business visa to China, make sure to get an invitation letter.

For more information, consult your local embassy or consulate.