China has announced this week that starting from 15 March, the country will relax travel restrictions for foreigners for “resumption of work and production”, if they had been inoculated with Chinese-made Covid-19 vaccinations, a step closer to normalizing international travel.
Chinese embassies in the US, Philippines, Australia, Italy, India, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Israel and Gabon have subsequently announced the visa facilitation for foreign nationals.
The easing of visa applications is meant to resume “people-to-people exchange between China and other countries in an orderly manner,” according to a notice from Foreign Ministry’s office in Hong Kong.
Applicants eligible for applying for a visa out of emergency humanitarian needs are also included in this latest round of visa relaxation.
Holders of valid APEC business travel cards may apply for the M visa by presenting the original valid APEC business travel card and the invitation letter issued by the inviting party in the mainland of China, according to the ministry.
This means a proof of a negative COVID-19 nucleic acid test result and the Health and Travel Record Declaration Form for Visa Application are no longer required, as long as the applicants can prove that they had either received two Chinese-made jabs or having received a single-dose Chinese-made vaccine at least 14 days prior to the application.
Upon arrival, they “should abide by China’s relevant regulations on quarantine and observation after entering China,” meaning that quarantine regulation might still be in place.
China has largely brought the pandemic under control and is aiming to inoculate 560 million people within the country by June this year.
It has exported its vaccinations to over 25 countries mainly consisting of emerging countries.
Hong Kong has authorized Chinese vaccine, Sinovac, as one of the two options for the city’s 7.5 million residents, the other being BioNTech.