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China allows Austrian citizens to enter the country without a visa

Updated: Mar 19


Guiyang, China City Skyline

The Chinese Foreign Minister has announced that Austrians will no longer need a visa to travel to China from March 14th. This measure is temporarily limited to November 30th.


Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has announced that from March 14th until the end of November, Austrian citizens will be able to travel to the People's Republic of China without a visa. This announcement was made on the sidelines of the National People's Congress in Beijing. According to Wang Yi, quoted by state news agency Xinhua, China will also extend this visa exemption policy to Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Belgium and Luxembourg.


Upon request, the Foreign Ministry informed the APA that an assessment should take place after the end of the regulation, which is valid until November 30, 2024. During the period from March 14 to November 30, 2024, visa exemption is granted for stays in China of no more than 15 days.


Wang's remarks expressed his desire for more nations to facilitate visa processing for Chinese citizens and help develop fast international travel networks to speed up the start of international flights, according to state broadcaster RTHK. This is happening against the background of the travel restrictions caused by the corona pandemic. China is still feeling the effects of the pandemic and the strict zero-Covid policy, including in the form of an unstable real estate market and low consumption.


Previously, Austrian passport holders aged 14 to 71 were required to apply for a visa at the Chinese Visa Application Service Center in Vienna-Margareten, with applicants' fingerprints collected, according to the Foreign Ministry website bmeia.gv.at is. However, there have already been reliefs, such as a 25 percent discount on visa fees and exemptions from the fingerprint requirement for people who entered the country once or twice for reasons such as tourism, trade, family visits, transit or as crew members. A simplified application form was also used.


Since November, nationals from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Malaysia have been allowed to enter China visa-free in accordance with the regulations that now also apply to Austria and other smaller EU countries. This visa regime, introduced on a trial basis, is limited to one year.


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