Travel Gossip: Visa-Free Policy Resumed for Singapore & Brunei

By Billy Jiang, July 24, 2023

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In a surprise move, China has decided to restore visa-free entry for citizens from Singapore and Brunei from July 26, sparking a rush of excitement among travelers from these two countries. 

The announcement came from the Chinese Embassy in Singapore on July 23, making it one of the most talked-about topics in recent months.


The Chinese Embassy in Singapore confirmed this news through her social media. Screenshot by That's.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore, Brunei, and Japan were the only nations enjoying visa-free entry into China. 

However, with the outbreak of the pandemic, China suspended this privilege for citizens from these three countries, causing much inconvenience for travel enthusiasts.


YiCai 第一财经 reports on crowds at China Visa Application Service Center. Screenshot by That's.

The demand for Chinese visas among Singaporeans surged without the visa-free option, leading to peculiar scenarios. 

Visa applicants from Singapore would line up outside the China Visa Application Service Center as early as 8am, an hour before its opening. 

To tackle the issue of people enduring scorching heat while queuing, the center eventually canceled on-site queuing for ticket numbers in May, opting for online appointment slots instead. 

But even then, the overwhelming number of applicants resulted in the emergence of online scalpers charging up to SGD80 to secure a visa appointment.


Japan expresses hope for China to restore visa-free access for Japanese citizens, report by ANN News. Screenshot by That's.

The reinstatement of visa-free entry for citizens from Singapore and Brunei is expected to boost tourism and enhance economic exchange between China and these two nations.

Similarly, Japan had expressed hope for China to restore visa-free access for Japanese citizens during recent negotiations. 

However, the Chinese government proposed an equitable approach, suggesting that Japan grant Chinese citizens the same visa-free treatment.

However, Japan remains cautious about relaxing visa scrutiny for Chinese citizens, emphasizing the need for careful consideration in this regard.

As the situation continues to evolve, travelers and industry insiders are eagerly awaiting further updates on China's entry policies. 

For the latest travel information, stay tuned to That's, and follow our WeChat official account, ThatsGBA.

[Cover image by Billy Jiang/That's]

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