Starting May 1, nationals from 53 countries can enjoy a 144-hour visa-free period when transiting through Guangdong Province.
The new move, approved by the State Council, is an extension of the 72-hour visa-free transit policy adopted in the province.
Travelers can enter Guangdong via its three airports — Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, Shenzhen International Airport and Jieyang Chaoshan International Airport — and exit via the province’s 32 ports, including Shenzhen’s Shatoujiao Checkpoint, Wenjindu Checkpoint, Huanggang Checkpoint, Luohu Checkpoint, Shenzhen Bay Checkpoint, Futian Checkpoint and the airport checkpoint.
They are required to carry effective international travel documents and have onward travel tickets with confirmed dates and seats within 144 hours.
Previously, such passengers were allowed a visa-free stay of up to 72 hours in the province.
The policy applies to passengers from 53 countries: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Belarus, the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, the UAE, and Qatar.
Lin Weixiong, vice director of the Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department, said the policy is expected to provide more convenience for foreigners in entering and leaving Guangdong for short-term tourism or business visits, attract more overseas tourists, and boost tourism and civil aviation in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Guangdong is home to about one-10th of China’s total permanent foreign population of around 2-3 million, according to Chinese media reports.
The province raked in 20.5 billion yuan (US$3.69 billion) in international tourist foreign exchange earnings and received 37.48 million overnight overseas tourists who stayed overnight last year, said Zhang Yimin, vice head of the provincial culture and tourism department.
Since 2013, the State Council has approved 72-hour visa-free transit in 18 cities for eligible international travelers and later extended the period to 144 hours in a number of cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and Shenyang.
China receives about 43 million foreign visits annually, and the policy will help provide foreign nationals with more convenient travel conditions, according to the National Immigration Administration in January.
In recent years, China has launched more visa-related preferential policies for foreign visitors to better serve travelers and help boost tourism.