Visa exemption schemes

China  Visa 
Possession of a valid visa is a condition for entry into many countries, however various exemption schemes do exist. In some cases visa-free entry may be granted to holders of diplomatic passports even as visas are required by normal passport holders (see: Passport).

Some countries have reciprocal agreements such that a visa is not needed under certain conditions, e.g. when the visit is for tourism and for a relatively short period. Such reciprocal agreements may stem from common membership in international organizations or a shared heritage:

  • All citizens of EU member countries can travel to and stay in all other EU countries without a visa. See Four Freedoms (European Union) and Citizenship of the European Union.
  • The United States Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of 36 countries to travel to the USA without a visa. This scheme is not reciprocal as the US does not allow visa-free entry to citizens of some countries which allow US citizens visa-free entry - though some countries not in the US visa waiver program require US citizens to pay a charge equivalent to paying the US visa fee to enter their country.
  • Any Gulf Cooperation Council citizen can enter and stay as long as required in any other GCC member state.
  • All citizens of ECOWAS member states, excluding those defined by law as undesirable aliens, may enter and stay without a visa in any member state for a maximum period of 90 days. The only requirement is a valid travel document and international vaccination certificates.
  • Nationals of the East African Community member states do not need visas for entry into any of the member states.
  • Some countries in the Commonwealth do not require tourist visas of citizens of other Commonwealth countries.
  • Some countries in the Association of South East Asia Nations do not require tourist visas of citizens of some Association of South East Asia Nations countries.(Except Myanmar, where its citizens are required visa to about 7 out of 10 countries.) - though some members (e.g. Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand) allow citizens of other countries to enter their country for tourism without a visa.
  • Armenia and Uzbekistan allow citizens of CIS member states, except Turkmenistan (and Tajikistan to enter Uzbekistan), to enter visa-free as tourists.

Other countries may unilaterally grant visa-free entry to nationals of certain countries in order to facilitate tourism.

Some of the considerations for a country to grant visa-free entry to another country include (but are not limited to):

  • being a low security risk for the country potentially granting visa-free entry
  • diplomatic relationship between 2 countries
  • economic conditions in the alien's home country as compared to the host country
  • having a low risk of overstaying or violating visa terms in the country potentially granting visa-free entry

Visa-free travel between countries also occurs in all cases where passports are not needed for such travel. (For examples of passport-free travel, see International travel without passports.)

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Validity of Visa
A single entry Chinese visa is valid for 3 months from the date of issue, and a double entry visa is valid for 6 months. A China visa holder must enter China before the expiration date for the visa to remain valid.
Duration of Stay
The duration of stay is specified on a Chinese visa. Chinese visa holders must not stay beyond the specified date without extending their visas. Otherwise, they will be subject to stiff penalties.