China has revealed that citizens from five European Union nations—France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain—will be exempt from visa requirements. Beginning December 1, 2023, individuals from these countries can enter China for tourism, business, family visits, or transit for up to 15 days without a visa, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Mao Ning.
The visa-free policy is part of China's initiative to enhance cross-border travel and promote high-quality development and opening up. However, Ning emphasized that this privilege is granted on a trial basis, with the trial period set to last until November 30, 2024.
During this period, citizens from the specified EU countries holding ordinary passports can enjoy visa-free entry for purposes such as business, tourism, family visits, and transit. The move is seen as an effort to revive China's travel and tourism industry, heavily impacted by COVID-19.
Germany's ambassador to China, Patricia Flor, welcomed the decision, expressing optimism that it would significantly facilitate travel for German citizens. She hopes for the expansion of visa-free access to include all EU member states, fostering deeper personal, cultural, and economic relations between China and the EU.
France's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, also lauded the announcement as excellent news. The European Chamber of Commerce in China echoed the positive sentiment, noting that visa-free travel would boost business confidence in the country. The trial period aligns with China's broader plans to further promote tourism and expand visa-free access to additional countries in the coming year.
[Source: Schengen Visa Info]