• Chinese embassies in at least 110 countries and territories have begun offering facilitation to visa applicants who have been inoculated with China-produced COVID-19 vaccines (full list below).
• Those coming to China for work, their family members and foreign family members of Chinese citizens or permanent residents who come to China for reunions and visiting are included.
• Unfortunately, this announcement still brings little relief for them as Chinese-made vaccines are not readily available in most countries. Very few foreigner will be able to return at the moment. It is however a positive sign, in the right direction.
• Travellers still need to follow local quarantine rules at their destinations in China. Meaning that even if you have been inoculated with a Chinese vaccine, strict quarantine, paid by yourself is mandatory.
Foreign family members of Chinese citizens or permanent residents who go to China for emergency humanitarian needs, including spouses, parents, children and other close relatives, if the reason for visiting China is a family reunion, visiting relatives, funeral or caring for critically ill patients, can apply for visas once their vaccination certificates are obtained. Foreign nationals with APEC Business Travel Cards can also resume visa applications with invitation letters, read the statement. Below more specific details.
List of countries and territories
The Chinese Embassy in the following countries or territories have also issued similar notices as of press time (per continent, in alphabetical order):
- Asia: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Macau, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Qatar, South-Korea, Sri-Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, Vietnam;
- Europe: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Macedonia, Norway, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom;
- America: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Mexico, Suriname, Uruguay, US;
- Africa: Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Somalia, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda;
- Oceania: Australia, Dominica, Micronesia and Papua New Guinea.
What do the notices say?
Chinese vaccine beneficiaries to access visa relaxations
According to the notices, starting March 15, 2021, travellers who have received Chinese COVID-19 vaccines and obtained the vaccination certificate will enjoy facilitation for visa applications.
Visa application by foreign nationals to resume work in China
When applying for a visa, foreign nationals and their family members visiting China for resuming work and production in various fields will only need to provide:
The documents required before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The following documents are no longer required:
The Invitation Letter (PU);
The Invitation Letter (TE); or
The Invitation Verification Notice issued by the foreign affairs offices or the departments of commerce of the provincial (including autonomous regions and municipalities) governments or the headquarters of central state-owned enterprises are no longer required.
Visa application out of emergency humanitarian needs
For those applying for a visa out of emergency humanitarian needs, the scope of eligible applicants will be expanded as appropriate.
The eligible applicants include:
Foreign family members of Chinese citizens or permanent residents of China, including spouse, parents, children, and other close relatives living together (referring to siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren).
The purpose of the visit to China can be:
Reuniting with family;
Taking care of the elderly;
Attending funerals; or
Visiting critically ill relatives.
Visa application by APEC business travel card holders
Holders of valid APEC business travel cards may apply for the M visa by presenting:
The original valid APEC business travel card; and
The invitation letter issued by the inviting party in the mainland of China.
To be noted, the above-mentioned visa facilitation applies only to applicants who have been inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines produced in China (either having received two doses of Chinese-made vaccines with the stipulated time gap in between or having received a single-dose of the Chinese-made vaccine at least 14 days prior to the application) and obtained the vaccination certificate.
A proof of a negative COVID-19 nucleic acid test result and the Health and Travel Record Declaration Form for Visa Application are no longer required.
The Chinese embassies stressed that people visiting China for business purposes no longer need invitation letters provided by provincial-level foreign affairs or commerce departments, or by central state-owned enterprises. They also noted in the statement that COVID-19 nucleic acid tests and serology IgM antibody tests taken within 48 hours are still required upon arrival.
Travellers still need to follow local quarantine rules at their destinations in China. Meaning that even if you have been inoculated with a Chinese vaccine, strict quarantine, paid by yourself is mandatory.
Chinese vaccines distribution
More than 60 countries have authorized the use of Chinese vaccines. China has donated or is donating COVID-19 vaccines to 69 developing countries in urgent need and is exporting vaccines to 43 countries, according to Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on March 7.
Below the current list of countries that are inoculating (part of) their populations with Chinese COVID-19 vaccines: