Opening up to travelers
By Zhao Shengnan (China Daily)
China has so far signed visa exemption agreements for various passports with 99 countries and 59 visa simplification agreements or arrangements with 37 countries. In addition, 36 countries and regions have granted unilateral visa-on-arrival policies to Chinese citizens and another 11 countries and regions have unilaterally allowed Chinese citizens to visit without a visa.
China and the EU will complete negotiations on mutual exemption of visas for diplomat passport holders by 2015 and will discuss how to facilitate visa services for businesspeople, tourists and students.
United Kingdom, Belgium
A pilot scheme to streamline visa application processes for Chinese visitors to Britain, Belgium and the Schengen area was announced in June by the British and Belgian governments.
Chinese customers will be able to submit visa applications for both countries during a single visit to a UK visa application center.
South Korea said on Wednesday that it will waive visa fees for Chinese visitors.
Japan in January announced a reduction in the minimum income requirement for people applying for three-year, multiple-entry visas and also extended the validity of visas from three to five years for high-income Chinese tourists.
Part of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement signed earlier this month is the annual provision of up to 5,000 visa places for young Chinese nationals between 18 and 30 years olds in Australia' s Work and Holiday program.
Last year, China and the US announced reciprocal visa arrangements for business people, tourists and students. This year in the first five months, the number of Chinese business people and tourists to the US increased by 31 percent over the same period last year.
(China Daily 07/02/2015 page3)
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