UK set to implement visa agreement with China

7 Jan 16

CHINA, UNITED KINGDOM

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? The United Kingdom has announced that it will introduce two-year multiple entry visas to Chinese visitors beginning next week.

What does the change mean? The change is part of a reciprocal visa arrangement with China, which has said that it will issue two-year multiple-entry visas to U.K. nationals as well. The visas will make it easier for U.K. and Chinese business travelers to visit each other’s countries without having to renew their visas every six months, as is currently required.

  • Implementation time frame: The U.K. will start issuing the new visas Monday.
  • Visas/permits affected: Visitor visas.  
  • Who is affected: Chinese and U.K. nationals traveling to each other’s countries.
  • Impact on processing times: The longer validity will eliminate renewal processing for each new trip.
  • Business impact: The change is intended to boost business and tourist travel between the two countries and will benefit frequent business travelers.
  • Next steps: The U.K. and China have agreed to work toward implementing 10-year multiple-entry visas in the future.

Background: The two countries agreed to the new visa arrangement in October, during President Xi Jinping’s visit to the U.K. The U.K. Home Office announced this week that it would begin issuing the two-year visas to Chinese travelers beginning Monday. The visas will cost £85, the same amount as the current six-month visas. China has agreed to reciprocate, and will provide two-year multiple-entry visas to U.K. nationals for the equivalent of £85. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a Jan. 5 statement posted on the Chinese Embassy’s website that China is “willing to issue two-year multiple-entry visas to UK’s citizens,” but did not provide an implementation date.

BAL Analysis: The longer-validity visas will make travel more convenient for frequent business travelers in the U.K. and China.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact uk@balglobal.com.

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