China has announced a significant simplification of its visa application process in a bid to attract more international visitors.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed the streamlined process on Wednesday, emphasizing that the new forms would significantly reduce the time and ease the application process for prospective visitors.
Streamlined Application Process
Among the notable changes, applicants are now required to list the places they have traveled to in the past year, a reduction from the previous requirement of listing travel history for the past five years. Additionally, the educational background section now only necessitates applicants to mention the highest level of education they have attained.
The Ministry stated, “Applicants will spend much less time filling in the forms and expect a more streamlined visa application process.” The objective is to facilitate people-to-people exchanges between China and other countries, promoting China’s high-quality development and opening up to the world.
A Welcome Change
This development comes as a welcome change, especially considering the often lengthy and cumbersome visa processes that have been a barrier for many wishing to travel to China. While domestic tourism in China has surged above pre-Covid levels, international travel to and from the country is still lagging.
Aiming for Pre-Pandemic Levels
Julia Simpson, the chief executive officer of the World Travel & Tourism Council, in an interview with Bloomberg News, mentioned that Chinese cross-border travel is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024. She urged the Chinese government to continue simplifying the visa process, stating, “they’ve already simplified it, but keep making it simpler, simpler, simpler.”
China’s move to simplify its visa application process is a strategic step towards reviving international tourism and fostering global relationships. The streamlined process is expected to encourage more people to explore China, experiencing its rich culture, history, and scenic beauty.