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Citizens of six countries can travel to China without a visa until next November

Portugal’s omission from the list will come as a blow to those seeking to strengthen ties between China and the lusophone world.

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Portugal’s omission from the list will come as a blow to those seeking to strengthen ties between China and the lusophone world.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 21 Dec 2023, 11:05 pm

Portugal has been omitted from a list of European countries whose citizens have been given temporary visa-free access to China. The UK is another notable omission.

According to multiple media reports, Beijing is permitting citizens of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain to travel to China without a visa for stays of up to 15 days – whether for business, leisure or visiting friends and relatives. Citizens of Malaysia have also been granted the same privilege. 

The ruling applies from 1 December to 30 November next year and is thought to be a bid to revive China’s inbound tourism market, which dried up under the country’s draconian zero-Covid policies.

[See more: Mainland China has streamlined its visa process for Macao-based foreigners]

While travel restrictions have been progressively lifted from the beginning of this year, visitors have been slow to return.

The European Chamber of Commerce in China said the new ruling was “positive” and praised the authorities for “taking steps to facilitate people-to-people exchanges.”

Currently, Portuguese passport holders must obtain visas for travel to China. They are only exempt for 3-day and 6-day periods so long as they confine their itineraries to a group of 23 Chinese cities, hold a departure ticket, and enter and exit China from eligible ports.

 

UPDATED: 21 Dec 2023, 11:05 pm

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