Your 10 Year China Visa is Back! China Reinstates Unexpired Visas from Before the Pandemic, Resumes Issuance of Tourist Visas
As of March 15, 2023, China will automatically reinstate any multi-year visas issued before March 2020 that have not yet expired, according to Bloomberg and Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs statements in Chinese and English. At the same time, China will once again begin issuing tourist visas, following prior resumptions of visa issuance for business, study, and conference travel and the end of quarantines for international arrivals. The move is significant for schools and institutions, because many overseas-based recruiters in the US and Canada held 10 year business (M) or conference (F) class visas prior to the pandemic. With the March 14 announcement that these visas will be reinstated, recruiters will no longer need to apply for a new visa for China, as long as the visa has not yet expired. Those holding expired visas may apply for a new visa as normal.
cHINA TOURISM VISAS RETURN: THE FINAL VISA FRONTIER
The March 14 announcement by Chinese consulates represents the removal of one of some of the last few remaining barriers to business travel in China: multi-year visas from before the pandemic and tourist visas. The move follows the conclusion of the Third Plenary Session of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the last in a series of high-stakes political meetings in 2022-2023 that shuffled high-level political appointments and represented the start of a third term in power for Xi Jinping. With these political meetings concluded, the normal resumption of business and tourism travel in China is once again a priority. International tourism represented 0.9% of China’s GDP in 2019.
EFFECTS OF NEW VISA POLICIES IN CHINA FOR RECRUITMENT TRAVELERS
|Traveler holds a multi-entry, multi-year visa that has not expired yet||Visa is automatically reinstated. Traveler may enter China.||Chinese ConsulateBloombergNBC|
|Traveler held a multi-entry, multi-year visa that expired between 3/26/2020 – 3/15/2023||Unclear. Previously, there was the ability to apply for a short-term extension for free. Now, it is likely that you will need to re-apply for a visa as normal.||Chinese Consulate|
|Visa expired before 3/20/2020, or no visa||Traveler should apply for new visa. Do not apply for a tourist visa if you are doing a business trip.||Chinese Consulate|
|Visa Free Travel Scenarios||-Travel to Hainan Island-Citizens of Japan, Singapore, and several other countries-144 hour visa-free transit for those with onward travel booked from China to a third country or region (Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan). -Specially appointed group tour groups to Guangdong, Shanghai, Guangxi|
WHAT RECRUITMENT ACTIVITIES CAN I CONDUCT IN CHINA?
Daily life has largely returned to normal inside China, as we reported in February. In 2023, some notable recruitment activities happening in China include:
- Sunrise’s Spring 2023 and Fall 2023 recruitment tours of China (April, October, November).
- Standalone college fairs hosted by Shanghai United International School, Yew Cheng International School, KCS Chengdu (March); ISA Science City International School (April); Soong Ching Ling (September); Suzhou University Fair (October); Shanghai International Schools Fair (October). These October fairs take place shortly before Sunrise’s October recruitment tour.
- Conferences such as the Vision of International Schools Conference in Shanghai (March).
- Independently organized visits to partner university campuses.
ARE THESE POLICIES HERE TO STAY?
Yes. Chinese health authorities have claimed victory over the pandemic and claimed that the epidemic is “basically” over. Quarantine for international arrivals was eliminated on January 8th, and no Chinese cities have entered lockdown since then despite a large exit surge of infections. Sun Chunlan, once the chief enforcer of COVID lockdowns, has repeatedly stated that normal life must resume, and authorities are eager to promote tourism and business travel to China to accelerate China’s recovery from the economic slowdown caused by the mass lockdowns of 2022.
HOW CAN I GO TO CHINA?
If you have a reinstated visa, you may book your flight tickets and plan a recruitment trip as normal. If you need a new visa, you’ll want to book your tickets first and then apply for your visa (note that business visas require an invitation letter from a local company that you’re visiting). Currently, a PCR test done no more than 48 hours prior to departure is still required to enter China, although this policy may be relaxed in the future and has already been relaxed for 20 countries.