China is making international travel easier, first by rolling out vaccine passports for its citizens,
and now for foreign visitors who have been vaccinated with Chinese-made coronavirus vaccines.
Starting Monday, 15 March, China has relaxed its entry policies for foreign visitors, including those from the Philippines, Japan, Israel, Thailand, Pakistan, Italy, Sri Lanka, India, US and Federated States of Micronesia – so long as they have been inoculated with China-produced vaccines.
Chinese embassies in these countries have already started streamlining visa application procedures, as part of China's efforts to further normalise exchanges in a post-pandemic era and "resume orderly cross-border travel".
The Chinese Embassy in the US issued a statement on the same day that they are starting to process “visa applicants inoculated with Chinese Covid-19 vaccines”. There are four domestically approved vaccines so far.
In a notice issued by the Chinese embassy in Japan, foreign family members of Chinese citizens, or permanent residents returning for family emergencies such as a funeral and caring for the critically ill, or “humanitarian needs” such as family reunion
— can now all apply for visas once they receive their vaccination certificates.
As well, business travellers will no longer need invitation letters. These were previously submitted by teams from provincial-level foreign affairs, central state-owned enterprises, or commerce departments.
Holders of APEC Business Travel Cards can also now continuing applying for their visas with invitation letters.
All these will apply only if the travellers have received two doses of a Chinese-produced vaccine, or a single dose at least 14 days prior to applying for the visa. Also, upon entry into China, a three-week quarantine will still be mandatory.
Interestingly, while countries such as the Philippines has received Chinese-produced vaccine doses a few weeks back, there are still destinations that don't have ready access, such as India and Sri Lanka.
State media has however reported that 400 million doses of homegrown vaccines are set to be exported, according to a report by The Online Citizen.