Kong Xianhua, Consul General Of China, Mumbai, Writes About China's New Visa Policies

Kong Xianhua, Consul General Of China, Mumbai, Writes About China's New Visa Policies

To facilitate cross-border travel, there are a series of measures aimed at promoting people-to-people exchanges

Kong XianhuaUpdated: Monday, April 01, 2024, 07:06 PM IST
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Kong Xianhua |

In 2023, the Chinese Consulate in Mumbai witnessed a significant surge in Indian citizens' fervour to visit China, marking a robust recovery in cross-border interactions. Notably, approximately 50,000 visas were issued, a staggering fifty-fold increase compared to 2022. I can feel the enduring enthusiasm and curiosity of friends from diverse backgrounds within our consular district towards experiencing China's development firsthand. To facilitate cross-border travel, we have diligently implemented a series of measures aimed at promoting people-to-people exchanges.

We began by streamlining application procedures, reinstating the acceptance of all visa types and eliminating the mandatory pre-departure nucleic acid testing requirement. Additionally, we waived fingerprint collection for business visas, introduced "green lanes" for international students and exhibitors, and streamlined application forms and required materials.

Recognizing the need for travelling to China, we suspended online appointment systems and single-day quota restrictions. Applicants now have the liberty to avail themselves of visa services at their convenience.

Upholding a people-centric approach, we prioritize the facilitation of urgent humanitarian travel to China, such as attending funerals or accompanying critically ill relatives. Our aim is to minimize waiting times and alleviate the burden on applicants during challenging circumstances.

Addressing applicant inquiries promptly and comprehensively is paramount. Through dedicated hotlines and consultation emails, we ensure that every query is addressed with clarity and professionalism.

We also avail the opportunities of various functions to explain our visa policies.

We have optimized procedural complexities and enhanced workflow efficiency in various ways. We collaborate closely with the Mumbai Chinese visa center by simplifying acceptance procedures and leveraging valuable feedback from applicants. We have successfully reduced the visa application process duration to a remarkable 25 minutes, reflecting our commitment to providing expedited services.

In a bid to promote people-to-people exchanges, we have implemented temporary fee reductions for Chinese visas since December, 2023, significantly lowering the financial barrier for applicants seeking to explore opportunities in China.

In fostering mutual understanding and friendship between the people of China and India, it is imperative that we approach the task with confidence, resolve, vision, and broad-mindedness.

Taking tangible actions and assuming responsibilities are pivotal to achieving this goal. I engaged in discussions with visa applicants, and it was evident that our Indian friends eagerly anticipate friendly exchanges with China. These visa applications serve as gateways for Indians to explore China.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, we have facilitated the return of hundreds of Indian students to China by issuing student visas in 2023. This gesture ensures they can resume their education and complete their studies in Chinese institutions.

Moreover, business visas accounted for over 80% of the visas issued last year. The Chinese government has actively established platforms such as China International Import Expo, China International Consumer Products Expo, China International Fair for Trade in Services, China Import and Export Fair and so on to facilitate trade, especially offering more opportunities to small and medium-sized enterprises to expand market.

Noteworthy applicants include PhD students conducting research at the Purple Mountain Observatory, a delegation from the Pune Municipal Corporation exchanging insights on air pollution control, and young scholars studying mathematics at prestigious Chinese universities like Tsinghua.

Indian tourists are exploring various facets of China, from historical sites to modern cities, leaving their mark across popular destinations like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chengdu. It's anticipated that more Indian travelers will visit China this year to experience its diverse attractions and cuisine.

The advancement of human civilization hinges on international exchanges and learning, while the notion of "One World, One Family" relies on fostering spiritual connections among people. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, China remains committed to openness and is actively expanding opportunities for global engagement. On January 11, we introduced five additional measures to ease concerns for foreigners seeking visa extensions in China.

In 2024, the Chinese Consulate General in Mumbai pledges to continue facilitating smooth personnel exchanges between China and India by creating favorable conditions and offering enhanced convenience.

Visa service is always my top concern in which I have personally engaged since I assumed the office. Please follow me on X @ChineseCGMumbai and share your feedback about our visa service.

(The writer is Consul General of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Mumbai)

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