06 December 2012

Temporary China visa program to be rolled out

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A new temporary China visa which will allow visitors to Beijing to spend up to 72 hours in the capital is due to come into effect in the New Year.

China visa

The new temporary visa will allow international visitors to visit Beijing for up to 72 hours.

The new China visa program was tentatively announced in September but details were not forthcoming. However, the capital city's authorities have since confirmed the program will be open to passport holders from 45 countries including the UK, the US and Australia.

Beijing International Airport is the second busiest airport in the world but many transit passengers face lengthy stopovers in the airport, unable to venture out beyond China's strict immigration controls.

However, as of 1 January, 2013, eligible passengers will be permitted to visit the most populous country in the world's capital city for a period of 72 hours.

The Beijing Tourism Administration said the move would 'strongly spur the development of the tourism industry, speed up building of an international city and expand contacts with the rest of the world'.

Despite being the nation's capital and home to iconic sites such as the Forbidden City, Shanghai, China's largest city, welcomes more international tourists and many believe this is helped in part due to the city's 48 hour visa program which is already in place.

While Beijing is clearly keen to catch up, Gao Huada, deputy director of the Beijing exit-entry bureau, said travellers who exceeded the 72 hours or abused the visa privileges would 'face punishment' - including a life time ban.

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

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