China Extends Visa-Free Entry for 11 European Countries and Malaysia until 2025

by Alice

China has prolonged its visa-free travel arrangement for 11 European nations and Malaysia until the end of 2025.

Initially introduced in stages beginning in 2024 for a one-year period, the visa-free initiative aims to boost tourism and business exchanges between China and foreign nationals.


Effective immediately, citizens from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland can enter China without a visa until the end of next year, as confirmed by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning during a briefing on the initial announcement made in November.


Under the trial program, visa-free entry will be permitted for a maximum of 15 days.


China’s rigorous pandemic protocols, including mandatory quarantines for all arrivals, deterred travel for nearly three years. While restrictions were lifted in early 2021, international travel has yet to fully rebound to pre-pandemic levels.

Previously, China allowed visa-free entry for citizens of Brunei, Japan, and Singapore, but suspended it during the COVID-19 outbreak. While visa-free entry resumed for Brunei and Singapore in July, it remains suspended for Japan.

In 2023, China recorded 35.5 million entries and exits by foreigners, significantly lower than the 97.7 million in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year.

To bolster its economy, the Chinese government seeks foreign investment and has seen some success with businesspeople attending trade fairs and meetings, including notable figures like Elon Musk of Tesla and Tim Cook of Apple. However, foreign tourist arrivals are still limited compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Last year, there was a notable increase in interest among Europeans in visiting China as a tourist destination. Data from, an online travel agency, indicates a 663% surge in overall bookings from Europe to China compared to 2022, with almost a 29% increase over 2019 figures.

The United Kingdom and Germany ranked among the top 10 sources of inbound travelers to China globally, with Shanghai being the most favored destination among Europeans, followed by Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen.

Emerging destinations such as Sanya in Hainan Island and Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, are gaining traction among travelers.

Beyond the new visa-free arrangements, China is actively promoting inbound tourism by showcasing its cultural and historical attractions in collaboration with Additionally, the country is investing in tourism infrastructure, including technology, travel guides, and e-payment systems.



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