Boost for cruise passengers as China relaxes visa restrictions

Foreign tourists arriving in Shanghai on a cruise from October 1 will be allowed up to 15 days of visa-free stays in the country’s most populous city, the Shanghai General Station of Immigration Inspection announced this week.

Passengers must be travelling on tour groups arranged by travel agencies that are registered in China and the companies must submit the details of their groups to inspection authorities at least 24 hours before the ships arrive in Shanghai to be eligible.

The cruise passengers may remain in Shanghai or travel to Beijing, the Chinese capital, and the northeastern port city of Tianjin, as well as coastal provinces where ships often berth, including Liaoning, Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Hainan and Guangxi.


Boost for cruise passengers as China relaxes visa restrictions

A view of the Pudong district of Shanghai

Credit:
AP

  • The best cruises to Asia: the ultimate guide

The new policy aims to attract more cruise ships to Shanghai. The global financial hub welcomed more than 1.6 million passengers last year, a 35.5 per cent increase on 2014, but only 69,000 of them were reported to be foreign visitors.

From February of this year, transit visitors travelling through ports in Shanghai or the provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu, and travelling to a third country, have been allowed visa-free stays for up to 144 hours.

In 2014, visa restrictions for short stays in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Shenyang and Dalian were lifted, allowing transit visitors from 51 countries to stay in these cities for up to 72 hours without needing a visa. Travellers must remain in the city municipality and show evidence of their onward journey to a third country, the Foreign Office advises.


Boost for cruise passengers as China relaxes visa restrictions

The cruise passengers may stay in Shanghai or travel to Beijing, pictured, and the port city of Tianjin, as well as several coastal provinces

Credit:
Alamy

The qualifying countries from Europe include the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Greece and Germany. Citizens of Australia, New Zealand, US, Canada and Mexico also benefit from the latest entry policy.

  • The Yangtze river cruise guide

For longer stays, tourists are required to obtain a visa to enter mainland China but not Hong Kong or Macao. The Foreign Office advises that travellers contact their nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulate (there are three in Britain, in London, Manchester and Edinburgh) in good time before travelling to ascertain which visa is required and how to apply.

  

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