06 May 2009

Chinese visa rules restricted for Americans

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As of 3 May, the Chinese visa rules for American citizens have been tightened, and it has been suggested that the swine flu is the catalyst for the change.

According to the Associated Press, America's express and rush services for Chinese visa applications are being suspended until further notice, and all Chinese visa applications – including tourist and business visas – would take at least six business days to process.

While the Chinese Embassy in America has not clarified their position, it has been suggested that the soaring number of swine flu cases in America is somewhat accountable, particularly after China recently quarantined some foreign nationals in an attempt to prevent the spread of the flu on mainland China.

All Chinese visa applications from American citizens will now need to include details of their travels for the two weeks prior to application. 

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said that the changes to the Chinese visa policy is not targeted at any country and that the "adjustment of visa policy will not affect the normal entry of foreigners and exchanges of people".

During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, many international visitors found it extremely difficult obtaining their Chinese visa because of tight security restrictions, and it has been reported by travel agencies in Hong Kong that similar restrictions would be in place during October's 60th anniversary of communism in China.

The Worldwide Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in Chinese visa and immigration services.

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