Citizens of 5 EU Countries Will Be Able to Travel Visa-Free to China From December 1

The Chinese authorities have announced that citizens of five European Union countries – France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain – will be exempt from the visa requirements.

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According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Mao Ning, citizens of the five countries mentioned above who will enter China for tourism, business, visiting their family, or transiting for a period of less than 15 days will not be required to apply for a visa from December 1, 2023, reports.

To further facilitate cross-border travel and China’s high-quality development and high-standard opening up, China has decided to apply unilateral visa-free policy to more countries on a trial basis, which involves extending visa-free treatment to travellers holding ordinary passports from six countries, namely France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia.

Mao Ning

However, Ning stressed that visa-free travel for citizens of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain will be permitted on a “trial basis”.

This means that visa-free travel will not apply indefinitely. As Ning explained, visa-free travel for citizens of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain will apply until November 30, 2024.

From December 1, 2023, to November 30, 2024, citizens from the above-mentioned countries holding ordinary passports can be exempted from visa to enter China and stay for no more than 15 days for business, tourism, family visit and transit purposes.

Mao Ning

By permitting visa-free travel to citizens of these countries, China wants to help its travel and tourism industry, which has been severely affected by the COVID-19 rules.

Moreover, the country plans to promote tourism even more next year and open up to more countries.

The decision of China to permit visa-free travel was welcomed by Germany’s ambassador to China, Patricia Flor. She wrote on the social media platform X that this decision “will facilitate travel to China for many German citizens to an unprecedented extent”, Reuters explains.

Ambassador Flor further said that they hope for the visa requirements to be dropped for all member states of the EU, stressing that this would have a significant impact on both parties.

We hope that the Chinese government will implement the measures announced today for all EU member states. This would be an important improvement in our citizens’ mobility, enabling deeper personal, cultural, and economic relations between China and the EU.

Ambassador Patricia Flor

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, Catherine Colonna, also welcomed the decision. Colonna said that this was an excellent announcement.

The European Chamber of Commerce in China applauded the move too and said that visa-free travel would help the country boost business confidence.