Citizens of 53 countries will now be able to visit the country for up to six days without a visa.
Chinese authorities have announced that citizens of 53 countries – including the United States and most of the European Union – can now enter the country for six days without a visa, provided they are in transit to another destination. Get.com reports that these new visa stipulations took effect on January 4th 2018.
It is hoped that this visa waiver program will encourage travelers to make the most of their time in China. According to official statistics compiled by the China National Tourism Administration, the nation attracted 14.25 million foreign tourists in 2016. The outlet reports that authorities hope to improve upon this figure by easing up on what many consider to be a stringent visa application process.
A limited visa waiver program was introduced in a number of metropolitan areas last year, including Shanghai. These cities have since reported increased tourist traffic.
On the back of this announcement, Chinese authorities have also revealed that they are relaxing visa requirements for foreign professionals as well as for highly skilled workers. Xinhua New Agency reports that the country “is in the middle of its biggest ever influx of foreign-educated professionals” and that this is an attempt “to bridge the talent gap” faced by the nation. According to Chinese authorities, visa waiver candidates in this category include entrepreneurs, scientists and those who work in the technology sector.
Commenting on the situation late last year, Li Keqiang, the current Premier of the People’s Republic of China, was quoted by the agency as saying that, “We should not only make use of Chinese talent resources and market space, but also adopt a more open policy for foreign experts.”