China visa restrictions lifted

16 Oct 2008

Requirements for travellers applying in Hongkong for visas to enter Mainland China have eased since March when the government introduced certain restrictions in the run up to the Beijing Olympics.

Multiple entry visas have been reinstated with the validity period depending on the type of passport. For some months, travellers could only secure single or double passage. They no longer need to produce proof of hotel accommodation along with travel documents as well.

Edmund Tsang, general manager, Destinations and Events Management, Swire Travel, said: “The procedures have changed since the Olympics when it was more rigid.”

Florence Chan, a travel consultant with Via Vai Travel said: “We deal mostly with travellers from Europe, and there have been no problems.”

But if visitors had the time, travel agents said they preferred that they applied for China visas in the countries where they were based.

The waiting period for obtaining a China visa in Hongkong takes between three and four working days. The “express” type, however, which previously could be granted in one day remains inactive. Visa fees continue to be at HK$310 (US$40) for single entry and HK$450 (US$58) for double entry, according to China Travel Services.

Hoteliers in China like Eggert Muus, general manager of Kempinski Shenzhen, welcomed the change, despite the current economic downturn that has been affecting business travel. “Customers I spoke to say the normalisation of rules are making it easier for them to travel to Shenzhen. The overall mood is positive.”

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Peter Rajendran

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