Important information about Chinese and Russian visas
Update from November 24, 2023:
China offers visa-free entry for citizens of 6 countries
BEIJING, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- China has decided to implement a unilateral visa-free policy for ordinary passport holders from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia on a trial basis, according to the statement published on the Chinese Foreign Ministry's social media account.
From Dec. 1, 2023 to Nov. 30, 2024, holders of ordinary passports from the above six countries may enter China visa-free for business, tourism, visiting relatives and friends and transit for no more than 15 days, the online statement said.
People from these six countries who do not meet the visa exemption requirements still need to obtain a visa before entering China, the statement said. It further added that this policy will help promote people to people exchanges, and serve high-quality development and high-level opening-up. ■
TRAVELING VIA CHINA ON THE WAY TO A THIRD COUNTRY AND BACK
For most nationalities, a Chinese visa is a requirement. However, there is an exemption for flight passengers transiting through Beijing Capital Airport on the way to/from a third country, such as North Korea (DPRK). This exemption applies to citizens of 53 countries arriving in China via DIRECT international flights (stops in other Chinese cities are not allowed) and holding valid travel documents (+ a ticket for a connecting flight to North Korea within a 144-hour timeframe). You can find the official visa exemption policy HERE.
Please be aware that you CANNOT use the visa exemption policy for travel to/from China by train. In such cases, you will need to apply for a Chinese visa.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: compliance with the Chinese visa-free policy requirements does NOT guarantee 100% entry into China. There have been some rare cases where individuals failed to obtain visa exemption upon arrival in Beijing and were even denied boarding to Beijing at the departure airport. Chinese authorities do not provide official explanations for specific entry denials under visa exemption. However, it appears that individuals with Turkish entry/exit stamps in their passports faced entry issues. Entry/exit stamps from other countries in the region, such as Iran, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc., might also cause problems.
TRAVEL VIA RUSSIA ON THE WAY TO THE DPRK, TURKMENISTAN ETC
Starting from August 1st, 2023, citizens of 55 countries can easily obtain an eVisa for Russia, allowing short-term stays, by applying ONLINE within minutes. The eVisa permits a maximum stay of 16 days in Russia within a 30-day period from the date of issue. It grants entry for private or business visits, tourism, as well as participation in scientific, cultural, socio-political, economic, and sporting events. No invitation or hotel booking voucher is required. The eVisa processing time is a maximum of 4 days. Eligible travelers can submit their applications between 20 to 4 days prior to the intended entry date. Please note that each eVisa is valid for a single entry. If you need to enter Russia twice within 30 days, you must apply for two separate eVisas simultaneously.
IMPORTANT: Remember, neither an e-visa nor a paper visa guarantees entry into the Russian Federation. The decision on admission to the country is made at the port of entry.
Citizens of the following countries are eligible to obtain the Russian eVisa from August 1, 2023:
Andorra, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan,The Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Myanmar, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Vatican, Vietnam