What visa policies remained effective during COVID-19? 1
What visa policies remained effective during COVID-19?【1】
Early last year, with the global outbreak of the COVID-19, the Chinese government introduced a series of temporary policies to effectively prevent the risk of imported cases from abroad. Are these policies still in force? Which policies have been updated? We have made a summary of the related visa policies as follows for your reference.
Policy Summary from Feb.2020 to Oct.2020
Feb.60-day automatic visa extension for foreigners
On February 27, 2020, the National Immigration Administration issued ten measures to help prevent and control the epidemics, develop the economy and serve the People's wellbeing, proposing the policy that "Foreigners working in China for innovation and entrepreneurship or conducting scientific research can automatically extend their visas or residence permits for 60 days after their expiry, without submitting an application for extension". At the press conference of the Joint Control Mechanism of the State Council on 1 March, 2020, it was announced that the policy would be extended to "all foreigners in China".
CIIC interpretation：To date, this policy is still valid for foreigners who entered China before 28 March 2020 and having been in the country since then. Please check detail requirements with the local immigration authorities.
Mar. Temporary Suspension of Entry by Foreign Nationals Holding Valid Chinese Visas or Residence Permits
On 26 March, 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China National Immigration Administration Announcement on the Temporary Suspension of Entry by Foreign Nationals Holding Valid Chinese Visas or Residence Permits. Please click here to read the full announcement.
CIIC interpretation：Until now, the policy of “Suspension of Entry by Foreign Nationals Holding Valid Residence Permits” has been partly lifted, which stated in the announcement issued on 28 Sep., 2020. Other contents in the announcement remain valid.
Apr. Foreigners need to apply for an invitation letter in China before entering
After the announcement on 26 March, 2020, foreigners coming to China for work (including accompanying family members) or for necessary economic, trade, scientific and technological activities will need to apply for a new entry visa at the overseas Chinese embassy or consulate with an invitation letter issued by the government authority in China (usually the foreign affairs office of a province or city) （Click here for details）.
CIIC interpretation：Up to now, foreigners coming to China for work (including accompanying family members) or business visits still need to apply for an invitation letter from the local authorities, except for those who can enter directly with three types of valid residence permits. For details of the process, please contact the local foreign affairs authorities.
May. China and South Korea take the lead in establishing a " Fast Track "
On 29 April, China and South Korea agreed on the establishment of measures to facilitate the urgently needed personnel exchange for important business, logistics, production and technical services (the "Fast Track"), which officially came into effect on 1 May, 2020.
Under this measure, South Korean citizens can apply for a work (Z) visa with a valid Notification Letter of Foreigner’s Work Permit (or Foreigner’s Work Permit, etc.) , and they don’t need an invitation letter from the foreign affairs authorities in China; Korean students can apply for a study visa (X visa) with the original Chinese Foreign Student Visa Application Form (JW201 or JW202), the original admission letter from the school (if they are already enrolled in school, they can provide the original study residence permit and the original enrollment certificate from the school) to apply for a study visa (X visa).
CIIC interpretation：Although China had established the "fast track" with Japan, Singapore and other countries, however, there is only Korean citizens enjoy the above visa benefits.
Aug. To facilitate the visa application for relevant Chinese valid residence permit holders
In the beginning of last August, with the epidemic became controllable in more and more countries, the demand for personnel exchange was increased. Thus, China has gradually and orderly eased the visa polices for those personnel coming into China for the resumption of work and production, and other necessary activities. Since August 10, the Chinese embassies and consulates in France, Denmark, Spain and other foreign countries have issued the Notice on Visa Facilitation for Foreign Nationals with Valid Chinese Residence Permits: related valid residence permits (work, private affairs, reunion residence permits) holders in some relevant countries can apply for a Chinese visa for free in Chinese embassy or consulate in those countries. Relevant personnel shall comply with the regulations of the local government of China on epidemic prevention and control after entering. The policy is applicable in following countries: Albania, Ireland, Estonia, Austria, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Belgium, Iceland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Poland, Denmark, Germany, France, Finland, the Netherlands, Montenegro, Czech Republic, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Romania, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Serbia, Cyprus, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, United Kingdom.
Subsequently, 10 Chinese embassies in Asia: Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Sri Lanka, Brunei have issued corresponding Notices.
CIIC interpretation：At present, the visa facilities of the above embassies are still valid, meanwhile, the Chinese embassies have been providing visa facilities for foreigners with urgent humanitarian needs. However, few Chinese embassies abroad currently suspend the visa application due to the spread epidemic, please confirm with the local Chinese Embassy for specific conditions of visa processing.
Sept. Foreigners with three types of valid residence permits were allowed to enter China
On the premise of ensuring the safety under epidemic prevention, China will gradually and orderly resume personnel exchanges between China and foreign countries. On 23 September, 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China and the National Immigration Administration jointly issued a document to adjust some of the measures published on 26 March: from 0:00 on 28 September, 2020, foreigners with valid Chinese residence permits for work, private matters and family reunion will be allowed to enter the country without applying a new visa. If the above-mentioned three types of residence permits held by foreigners expire after 0:00 on March 28, 2020, the holder may apply for a corresponding entry visa to the local Chinese embassy or consulate with the expired residence permits and related materials provided that the reasons for coming to China remain unchanged. The above-mentioned personnel shall strictly abide by the Chinese regulations on epidemic prevention and control. Other measures announced on 26 March would continue to be implemented.
CIIC interpretation：So far, this policy is still in effect. However, some of these countries have been suspended from entering the country for reasons of prevention and control of overseas epidemic.