BEIJING -- In 2023, China's immigration authorities advanced the reform of immigration management services and introduced an array of new policies and measures to serve the country's high-level opening up and high-quality development.
Over the past year, immigration authorities have made efforts to optimize entry and exit policies in order to facilitate inbound and outbound travelers, the National Immigration Administration (NIA) said on Monday.
The administration has guided local authorities to resume accepting and approving applications for ordinary passports to travel abroad and visit friends, and exit-entry permits for traveling to and from Hong Kong and Macao, among other businesses.
In 2023, about 4.8 million mainland residents benefited from a streamlined procedure that allows them to apply for exit-entry permits when traveling to and from Hong Kong and Macao, regardless of their household registration place, said the NIA, adding that such procedure has saved 8.88 billion yuan (about $1.25) for them.
In 2023, the NIA launched over 30 new immigration policies to serve and support the construction of pilot free trade zones, the Guangdong-Macao in-depth cooperation zone in Hengqin and the demonstration zone for realizing common prosperity in Zhejiang.
Immigration authorities upgraded the functions on the government service platforms and introduced eight new online services in 2023.
The NIA launched its official website in English, Russian, French, Spanish and Arabic, and opened a hotline, providing services for over 90 million people over the past year.
Immigration authorities have continued to optimize the customs clearance environment for passengers and freight at ports over the past year. They also expanded China's visa-free transit policy to include citizens from Norway for a 72/144-hour stay in 2023.