China will continue to optimize visa policies to better facilitate cross-border travel as the country has seen a steady increase in inbound arrivals.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a daily briefing on Friday that Beijing has adopted multiple measures to encourage exchanges between China and the world, which have received a positive response and led to a fast rebound in visa issuances by China's diplomatic missions.
Since early this year, the ministry has continued to improve visa policies, worked with relevant departments to implement a number of facilitation measures, and asked its diplomatic missions to ensure unimpeded channels for foreigners to travel to China, Wang said.
The latest step took effect on Wednesday when inbound travelers were no longer required to take pre-entry nucleic acid or antigen tests for COVID-19.
Following China's decision to downgrade the management of COVID-19 from Class A to Class B, the country's authorities and diplomatic missions resumed the issuances of multiple-entry visas and port visas, and resumed the visa-free transit policy, Wang said.
On March 15, the issuance of tourist visas, as well as visa exemptions for certain regions and the use of multiple-entry visas issued before the pandemic, were fully resumed, the spokesman said.
Since May 1, China has allowed virtual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation business travel cardholders to enter the country in an effort to further facilitate business travel in the Asia-Pacific region.
In late July, the country resumed its 15-day visa-free entry policy for citizens from Singapore and Brunei holding ordinary passports who enter China for business, tourism, family visits and transit purposes.
Since mid-August, the country has provided temporary exemptions from fingerprinting for eligible visa applicants for commercial, tourism and other purposes, Wang said.
Also, China signed visa exemption agreements with countries such as Kazakhstan and Madagascar this year, increasing the total number of China's mutual visa exemption agreements to 155, the spokesman added.