SINGAPORE: China will reinstate its 15-day visa-free entry for citizens of Singapore and Brunei from July 26, according to the embassies of both countries.
This comes after a three-year suspension of visas as China adopted strict travel restrictions under its stringent zero-Covid policy, which ended in December last year.
Singapore citizens will be able to enter China without a visa for 15 days if they are there for business, tourism, family visits and transit, the Chinese embassy to Singapore said. It added that visas which have been issued to Singaporean citizens will still be valid and those that have been requested will be processed.
Singapore and China have long enjoyed strong economic ties, with leaders from both sides meeting this year.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in March. Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong was met Chinese Premier Li Qiang while visiting Beijing in May.
The resumption of the visa-free entry policy “will facilitate people and business flows between our countries and pave the way for deeper bilateral cooperation,” Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a Facebook post.
“The news made me extremely happy and excited, I am planning more trips to China now,” said 54-year-old Wang Guoliang, a Singaporean whose parents and relatives are currently living in China.
“I applied for an emergency visa to visit China last month. It took me more than a week to get my hands on the $157 visa,” he told CNBC. “This policy will be very convenient for my family and I. We will be returning to China in December during the school holidays.”
Travelers from a number of countries already enjoy visa exemptions, if they are visiting China for less than 30 days.
Among those countries are the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Maldives and Fiji, whose citizens need only apply for a visa if they are visiting China for more than a month or for work, study or migration purposes.
Airline stocks were muted on Monday following the weekend announcement.
Shares of Singapore Airlines were higher by 0.4% at the start of Monday’s trading session, while Cathay Pacific shed 0.35%.