CHINA UPDATE: China to Begin
Issuing Tourist Visas

China is dropping its last remaining COVID bans on entry and will begin once again issuing tourist visas as of 15 March 2023. This marks the first time in three years leisure travelers will be allowed to enter the country.

The Chinese government took the step to return its entry policies to their pre-COVID status in an attempt to restart its international tourism sector, which accounted for nearly ten percent of the country’s GDP in 2019, the last full year prior to the COVID pandemic.

In addition to restarting tourist visas, China also announced existing 10-year visas with remaining validity would once again be accepted for entry. Previously, the Chinese government had suspended the use of all visas issued prior to March of 2020, including 10-year visas which had not yet met their expiration date.

The decision came as part of an official announcement from the Chinese government declaring a “decisive victory” over COVID-19. One point remaining unclear from Tuesday’s announcement is whether travelers to China will still need to present proof of a negative COVID PCR test prior to entry. Until a clarification is issued, travelers should probably plan on testing before their trip to China to avoid any possible entry issues.

Those tourists interested in heading to China should plan ample time for visa processing before their travel date. Some Chinese consulates were already reported to have processing times of several weeks after China’s earlier relaxing of COVID quarantine requirements and easing of business visa restrictions. Added demand for tourist visas may cause these delays to grow. We advise anyone interested in China to visit CIBT’s dedicated China Reopening webpage for further information.

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