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Upgrade! Latest Immigration Policy is Here!


Double Celebration for Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day, as we welcome a wave of holidays!


With rare 8-day long weekend, it's definitely a great opportunity to make the most of our own time. Otherwise, it would be such a waste!



For friends living abroad, coinciding with the double celebration of Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day, the process of traveling to China has been simplified. It's convenient to visit home or check-in in China. With the Asian Games happening, it's also a great opportunity to catch a game. Truly a perfect timing!


However, are there any friends who haven't prepared their travel plans yet? Having experienced the crowded tourist spots in China, I believe many friends are planning to travel overseas!


Panda Remit has thoughtfully compiled the latest immigration policies of several common countries. Come and check it out!


Mainland China: Simplified Process for Traveling to China


Optimization of Visa Application Form for Foreigners Traveling to China



According to the official "Consular Affairs" WeChat account of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in order to further facilitate foreigners applying for visas to China, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has optimized the visa application form for foreigners. The time for filling out the form will be significantly shortened, and the process of obtaining a visa to China will be more convenient. The new version of the visa application form has been launched on September 20, 2023.


Optimization involves a total of 7 main items and 15 sub-items, reducing the amount of text-based information required. For example, the requirement for disclosing international travel history has been shortened from five years to one year, and the education background only requires reporting the highest degree obtained.


China announces 26 convenience measures; some overseas Chinese nationals can obtain landing visas


On August 3rd, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security held a press conference to announce 26 measures to provide high-quality services and support for the development of the public security organs. Some of these measures involve foreigners, including overseas Chinese who have acquired foreign nationality. One of the measures is that foreigners applying for residence permits are exempted from having their passports retained. This measure also applies to overseas Chinese who have acquired foreign nationality.


According to the introduction, under the current regulations, when foreigners apply for residence permits in China, they are required to submit their passports to the public security exit and entry administration department for review and retention, and the passports are returned when the residence permits are issued.


The Ministry of Public Security and the National Immigration Administration proactively respond to the practical needs of facilitating the application of passports by foreigners in China and have decided to implement the convenience measure of "exempting foreigners applying for residence permits from having their passports retained."


China's 8 visa services will launch online appointment and inquiry functions


On September 13th, the website of the National Immigration Administration of China announced that starting from October 9th, the government service platform of the National Immigration Administration will provide online appointment and inquiry functions for visa documents for foreigners in China. This includes 8 specific services. For detailed information, you can visit the website of the National Immigration Administration at https://www.nia.gov.cn/.



Hong Kong: New version of "Health Code" implemented, simplifying declaration process


Starting from September 16th, the General Administration of Customs of China officially launched the 11th edition of the "Health Declaration Form of the People's Republic of China for Entry/Exit", optimizing and adjusting the health declaration content. The new version of the health declaration form sets different declaration items for different scenarios such as entry, exit, and personnel traveling to and from Hong Kong and Macau. It has removed the declaration of place of residence within the country and seat number, simplifying the requirements for reporting travel history and contact information.


The optimized entry declaration content has been reduced from 18 to 10 items, the exit declaration content from 17 to 9 items, and the declaration content for personnel traveling to and from Hong Kong and Macau from 11 to 9 items.


Travelers can use mobile smart terminals such as smartphones to make declarations through various channels, including WeChat mini-programs, Alipay mini-programs, internet webpages, and the Hand Customs APP. For those who are unable to make declarations through mobile smart terminals, they can make declarations on-site at the port using self-service declaration and verification machines or paper-based health declaration forms.



Japan: Issuing electronic visas


Starting from June 19, 2023, Japan officially began issuing electronic visas. The issuance of electronic visas will be implemented in sequence, starting from travel agencies that have completed preparations.




In fact, since April 29, 2023, when entering Japan, there is no need to present a valid vaccination certificate or pre-departure test certificate.


When you depart from domestic airports in China, you only need to make a health declaration through the "Customs Passenger Fingertip Services" app, and save a screenshot after filling it out. For immigration registration in Japan, there are currently two options:


Fill out the form online using VJW (Visit Japan Web) or on paper.

Panda Remit recommends that you use Visit Japan Web for immigration to Japan and complete the customs declaration online in advance. This way, you can avoid the long queues at manual customs and quickly go through customs with electronic declaration.


Australia: Resumes issuing ADS visas to Chinese group tourists!


Following the lifting of the ban on Chinese citizens traveling to Australia in groups last month, the Australian government announced that it will resume the convenient ADS (Approved Destination Status) visa application process for Chinese tourist groups entering Australia starting from September 25th.


Australian Minister for Tourism, Don Farrell, stated that in July of this year, the number of Chinese tourists entering Australia exceeded the 2019 levels for the first time, reaching 79,040.


The Australian Financial Review reported that with the improvement of Australia-China relations, the Australian government has resumed issuing visas to Chinese group tourists, and it is expected that this move will help restore the number of Chinese visitors to Australia to pre-pandemic levels.



New Zealand: Nationwide implementation of online declaration system


The official website of New Zealand's NZTD (New Zealand Traveller Declaration) recently announced:


Starting from August 22nd, all travelers arriving at international airports in New Zealand no longer need to fill out paper entry declaration forms. Instead, they will complete the declaration online through the NZTD website or app.



It is worth noting that each traveler (including children and infants) needs to fill out a separate declaration. Travelers can complete the declaration as early as 24 hours before departure, and it takes about 10 minutes to complete. After completion, travelers will receive an email with a QR code, which needs to be printed or saved on their phones and presented to border officials upon entry.


For travelers who cannot complete the declaration online, they can still use paper forms. Online and paper declarations have the same legal effect, so it is important to fill them out correctly!


United States: Timely update EVUS information


Starting from May 11, 2023, non-immigrant international travelers are no longer required to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination when entering the United States.


Chinese citizens holding 10-year B1 (business) or B2 (tourism) visas must register with the Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) before traveling to the United States, in addition to having a valid visa, in order to be granted entry.


If you forget to register with EVUS, you will not be able to check-in for your flight to the United States, print your boarding pass, check your luggage, or enter the country. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommends that travelers apply for EVUS registration at least 72 hours before their trip. EVUS does not limit the number of times visitors can enter the United States and is generally valid for 2 years with one update. It is important to update your EVUS information in a timely manner before your trip and register and print it in advance, otherwise you may face deportation!


Panda Remit reminds you to be prepared and have the original documents, copies (recommended 3 copies), and electronic versions. Please organize and carry your passport, visa, health code, EVUS, airline ticket/itinerary, and accommodation information in a document bag in advance!




Canada: Nationwide implementation of self-service customs system


Starting from June 20th, travelers departing from mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macau to Canada no longer need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding. However, vaccination requirements for cruise passengers and crew members will continue to be in effect, and mandatory mask-wearing and other public health requirements will be enforced on airplanes, trains, and ships.


Currently, major airports in Canada have fully implemented the self-service customs system, known as PIK, which allows for smooth entry into the country.


The typical entry process involves six steps: scanning the passport, taking a photo, fingerprint scanning, completing the customs declaration, machine-printing the receipt, and presenting the receipt to customs.


All you need to do is download the ArriveCan app, fill out the electronic customs application in advance, which is valid for 72 hours. It's super convenient!


Singapore: Streamlining entry procedures next year


Currently, entering Singapore does not require quarantine, proof of a negative COVID-19 test, or proof of vaccination. Short-term visitors also no longer need to purchase COVID-19 travel insurance.


On August 2nd, Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs introduced the Immigration (Amendment) Bill for the first time in Parliament. The bill includes two new policies regarding the time frame for re-entry permits for permanent residents and the immigration clearance process for travelers entering and exiting Singapore. The time frame for permanent residents (PR) to apply for a re-entry permit after their visa expires will be extended from one month to six months.


Starting next year, travelers departing from Changi Airport will no longer need to repeatedly present their passports and boarding passes. They can go through security and board the plane through iris scanning and facial recognition!



Europe: Multiple regions lift vaccination restrictions


France: According to the French government's diplomatic website, since March 14, 2022, all regions of France have lifted the requirement for "health passes" (for cultural and leisure venues, commercial catering, professional trade shows, etc.).


Greece: Starting from March 15th, travelers entering Greece no longer need to fill out the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) or provide proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative PCR or rapid antigen test for COVID-19.


Germany: Travelers entering Germany from China no longer need to provide proof of a negative nucleic acid test.


Italy: Starting from June 1st, travelers entering Italy are no longer required to present a "green pass", which means they do not need to prove vaccination or provide a negative COVID-19 test before entry. In addition, Italy's indoor mask mandate expires on June 15th.


In summary, as long as the necessary documents are prepared, travel in Europe is now relatively smooth! Compared to the past two years, countries have relaxed many policies and requirements. Panda Remit wishes everyone a happy holiday!