Published on : Thursday, September 29, 2016
From 1st October onwards, the foreign travellers who would be visiting Shanghai on cruise ships would be eligible for visa-free stays in the country for a period of 15 days. This announcement has been made by the Shanghai General Station of Immigration Inspection during this week.
However, to avail this opportunity, the passengers should travel on the tour groups that are registered in China.
In addition, the tour group companies are required to submit all the details of the groups to the inspection authorities at least 24 hours prior to the landing of the ships in Shanghai. Only then would the cruise ship travellers be eligible for the visa-free stay in Shanghai.
The cruise travellers might remain in Shanghai. They might also travel to the port city of Tianjin or the Chinese capital of Beijing or even to the coastal provinces where ships end up calling that that includes Guangxi, Hainan, Zhejiang, Liaoning, Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangsu, Shandong and Hebei.
This brand new cruise ship policy aims to draw an increased number of cruise ships to Shanghai. Last year, over 1.6 million passengers had visited this region that marks an increase of about 35.5% on 2014.
However, out of them, a meager amount of 69,000 were reported to be foreign travellers.
Since February 2016, visitors who have been travelling through ports in Jiangsu, Zhejiang or Shanghai to a third country have all been permitted to stay in China without visa for about 144 hours.
During 2014, visa restriction for brief stays in Dalian, Chonsqing, Shenyang, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing were lifted.
According to the new rules, visitors from about 51 countries were permitted to stay in the above mentioned cities for up to 72 hours without any visa requirement. The countries that qualify from Europe are New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, US, Australia, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland and UK.
If cruise travellers wish to stay longer in China, they are required to obtain a visa to enter China. But then, this rule would not apply to people who wish to travel to Macao or Hong Kong. The Foreign Office have suggested that before travelling, travellers should get in touch with their nearest Chinese Embassy to make sure how to apply for the visa and to ascertain which visa would be required.