Shanghai will adopt a 144-hour visa-free entry policy to attract more foreign visitors.
Shanghai currently has a 72-hour visa-free entry program, but the new policy has been approved by the State Council and will be implemented soon, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Visitors entering China via Nanjing Lukou International Airport in East China’s Jiangsu Province and Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport in East China’s Zhejiang Province will also enjoy a six-day visa-free policy, said Xinhua.
Shanghai implemented 12 new policies on July 1 to attract skilled foreigners to live and work in the city. A total of 197 foreigners have applied for permanent residence in Shanghai since then, six times the number that applied over the same period last year.
Shanghai, Hangzhou and Nanjing will become the first cities in China to implement a 144-hour visa-free policy.
Once put into practice, the policy will allow foreign visitors to arrive and depart from any of these three cities via airports, cruise terminals and train stations without a visa, providing their overall stay is within the six-day limit.
Bai Shaokang, deputy mayor of Shanghai confirmed in a press conference last month that the 144-hour visa-free programme had been approved by the State Council and would be implemented soon, although a definite start date has yet to be confirmed.
This relaxation on travel restrictions is an upgrade of the current policy that allows passport holders from 51 countries to transit through several Chinese cities for up to 72 hours without a visa. These cities are Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Harbin, Shenyang, Dalian, Xian, Guilin, Kunming, Wuhan, Xiamen, Tianjin, Nanjing, Qingdao and Hangzhou.
The service, introduced in 2013, has proven popular, with more than 100,000 foreigners having taken advantage of it.
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