Portugal out of Extension of Visa Waiver to 11 European Countries by China

China will extend its visa-free policy for citizens of eleven European countries until 2025, not including Portugal, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced today.

Chinese diplomatic spokesman Lin Jian explained that citizens of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg will be able to stay in the Asian country for tourism, business or transit for 15 days. The policy will remain in force until December 2025, the spokesman said.

Last November, China announced that citizens of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia would benefit from a unilateral visa waiver by December 2024.

China excludes Portugal from visa free policy

Last March, the Chinese government extended the visa-free policy for stays of up to 15 days to six more European countries — Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg — but Portugal remained absent.

The Portuguese ambassador to Beijing, Paulo Nascimento, then told the agency Lusa he “did not understand” the criterion of leaving Portugal out. The diplomat recalled that China has the right to decide its visa policy independently, but admitted that he would ask for specific consultation on this decision from the country’s authorities.

Experts argue that the slowness of visa application procedures and the price of air tickets are the main reasons why foreign tourism has not yet reached levels prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, during which China imposed a total closure of borders.

Portugal a “Good Platform for Chinese Investors” in Europe and Atlantic, Ambassador to China Says

In recent months, the Asian country has adopted a number of measures to help international travellers.

Electronic payment services WeChat Pay and Alipay announced in the past year several measures to make their payment systems available to foreign users visiting China, who sometimes have difficulty paying in the country and using certain services.

 

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