China to fully reopen borders to foreign tourists
The country will resume issuing visas for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic started
China will start issuing visas once again to foreign tourists for the first time in three years: when the Covid-19 pandemic began, and China introduced its self-imposed zero-Covid policy.
From 15 March, foreign offices can process applications for Chinese visas. Additionally, valid visas issued before 28 March 2020 – the date that China closed its borders originally – will be honoured.
Visa-free entry will be reinstated for cruise trips arriving at Hainan Island and Shanghai, as well as for tour groups from Hong Kong and Macau to China.
Additionally, the number of destinations that tour groups of Chinese citizens can travel to has increased from 20 to 60.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters that China had ‘optimised measures for remote testing of people coming to China from relevant countries’. Therefore, although people travelling to the country are still required to take a Covid test, rapid lateral flow tests will be allowed instead of the previously required nucleic acid testing.
He added: “China will continue to make better arrangements for the safe, healthy and orderly movement of Chinese and foreign personnel on the basis of scientific assessments and in light of the situation.
“We also hope that all parties will join China in creating favourable conditions for cross-border exchanges.”
Earlier this year, China opened its borders in time for Lunar New Year, allowing families to be reunited for the festivities, despite concerns from other countries due to rising cases.