China, Singapore to start mutual visa-free entry on Feb 9

China, Singapore to start mutual visa-free entry on Feb 9

View of the skyline in Singapore on Jan 27, 2023. (Photo: Reuters)
View of the skyline in Singapore on Jan 27, 2023. (Photo: Reuters)

SINGAPORE - Citizens from China and Singapore can visit the other without needing a visa starting Feb 9, as the world’s second-largest economy ramps up efforts to encourage more cross-border exchanges.

The visa-free plan — which was reached Thursday in a bilateral agreement — will allow Chinese and Singaporeans to stay in the other country for up to 30 days without a travel permit, according to China’s state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV). 

The proposal has been in the works for weeks, with Singapore’s government announcing last month that the two sides were looking to establish a reciprocal arrangement during Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong’s visit to China. 

China began opening up to Singapore by restoring visa-free entry to passport holders from the country in July 2023, more than three years after the onset of the pandemic forced a suspension. Currently, Singaporeans can travel to China for up to 15 days without a visa. Chinese passport holders need one to enter the Southeast Asian city-state. 

Beijing has demonstrated an increasing drive to promote tourism and business links amid domestic pressures from deflation and subdued demand. China has scrapped visa requirements for 11 countries since last year. 

The nation has imposed other measures to open up the economy, including making it easier to apply for visas on arrival. It is also cut visa application fees for foreign nationals.

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