As China continues to open up, travelers are offered an increasing amount of options to enter the country visa-free following recently implemented policies.
According to the provisions of Article 22 as stipulated in the Exit and Entry Administration Law of the People's Republic of China, foreign travelers can be exempted from applying for visas under any of the following circumstances:
(1) Those who are exempted from visa application according to the mutual visa exemption agreement between the Chinese government and the government of their home country;
(2) Those holding a valid foreign residence certificate;
(3) People flying to their final destination by way of China where the layover lasts no longer than 24 hours and who do not leave the port, or stays within the specified time limit in a specific area approved by the state council;
(4) Other circumstances under which visas may be waived as prescribed by the state council.
According to the bilateral agreements or agreements signed or concluded between China and relevant countries, certain travelers may enter China without a visa if they meet the preconditions listed in the above-mentioned agreement.
As of May 2, 2019, citizens originating from the following 14 countries are authorized to travel to China with ordinary passports without applying for a visa in advance:The United Arab Emirates, Barbados, Bahamas, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ecuador, Fiji, Grenada, Qatar, Mauritius, Serbia, Seychelles, San Marino, Tonga.
However, do note that the visa-free entry does not mean they are authorized to stay in the country indefinitely. The agreement only allows them to travel within China for no more than 30 days.
Should the traveler require a stay for more than 30 days, he or she should apply for a residence stopover as soon as possible so their prolonged presence in China remains legal.
Holding a valid foreign residence certificate;
(a) Foreign expatriates holding a valid residence certificate within the validity period imprinted on their passport may enter, stay in, and leave China for as many times as they wish without having to apply for a separate visa, so long as their stay does not reach beyond the final date listed.
(b) Holders of a valid People's Republic of China foreign permanent residence ID card can also enter, stay in, and leave China for as long as they wish without having to apply for a separate visa.
People flying to their final destination by way of China where the layover lasts no longer than 24 hours and who do not leave the port, or stays within the specified time limit in a specific area approved by the state council;
It is also worth knowing that China has been granting 72-hour and 144-hour visa-free policies for citizens originating from 53 countries and flying into Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chongqing, Shijiazhuang, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Shenyang, Chengdu, Kunming, Xiamen, and Wuhan, among other cities.
(a) APEC business travel card holders
The APEC business travel card is equivalent to a 5-year, multi-entry visa, allowing the holder to enter China for multiple times within the validity period of the card, with each stay valid for up to 60 days.
(b) Citizens holding ordinary passports from any of the 59 agreed-upon countries, including Russia and the United Kingdom, who are received by travel agencies established in Hainan, can enter the country without a visa from the ports open to foreign countries in Hainan and stay in this administrative region for no more than 30 days.
(c) Tourist groups from 10 ASEAN countries (2 people or more) who are organized and received by tourist agencies certified by the Tourism Administration Department of Guilin, in Guangxi province, and enter or leave the country as a whole from Guilin airport port, may stay in this administrative region for no more than 6 days without visa.
(d) Citizens of Singapore, Brunei, and Japan with ordinary passports who have come to mainland China for tourism, business, friends or family purposes, or on transit for no more than 15 days, can be exempted from applying for visas when entering China from ports open to foreigners.