March 27, 2024

Expansion of Visa-Free Travel Waiver to China: Update for Six European Countries

We would like to inform you about recent measures introduced by the National Immigration Administration in China. Effective from 14 March 2024, the government of China is extending limited visa-free travel privileges to passport holders from six additional European countries, permitting visits for business, tourism, or family purposes for up to 15 days without a visa.


What has changed?
Passport holders from Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg can now visit China visa-free for up to 15 days for specified purposes.

The waiver is effective from March 14th to November 30th 2024, and is an extension of the original waiver policy that was granted for nationals of Germany, The Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain and Malaysia. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as more information becomes available, as more nationalities may be added to the list.

Who is affected?
Passport holders from the six aforementioned European countries planning short-term visits to China for business, tourism, family visits, or transit purposes. These can include:

    • Travellers requiring urgent entry for various non-diplomatic and official activities.
    • Travellers transiting through designated international airports within 24 hours.
    • Travellers in China for short-term non-diplomatic and official activities

What to expect /impact?
Eligible travellers can enjoy simplified entry procedures and reduced costs associated with visa applications for short stays in China.

Longer stays or visits for purposes other than those specified will require the appropriate visa application.

What you need to do
Passport holders from Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, or Luxembourg planning a short-term visit to China, should familiarize themselves with the conditions of the visa-free travel and ensure compliance with the specified purposes and duration of stay allowed under the visa waiver.

For further information on immigration procedures for China, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team at


Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over ten years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends.

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