Singapore and China reach agreement on mutual 30-day visa-free entry; arrangement begins

SINGAPORE: Singapore and China have agreed to a 30-day mutual visa-free entry for their citizens, close to two months after the proposal was first announced.

Government representatives from both sides signed the agreement on Thursday (Jan 25). The arrangement formally enters into force on Feb 9, the eve of Chinese New Year, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV News.

Under the agreement, Singaporeans and Chinese citizens holding ordinary passports can enter China or Singapore without a visa for no more than 30 days if they are travelling for business, sightseeing, visiting friends and family, or other private affairs. 

Those who plan to engage in activities that require prior approval, such as work or news reporting, or plan to stay for more than 30 days, must still secure the relevant visa before entry.

CNA is contacting Singapore’s Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in Singapore for comment.

Singaporeans holding ordinary passports can currently enter China without a visa for 15 days for purposes like sightseeing, visiting family and business. Chinese citizens currently require a visa to enter Singapore.

China resumed 15-day visa-free entry for Singaporeans in July last year, more than three years after the arrangement was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plans for the 30-day mutual visa exemption agreement were announced nearly two months ago, during the highest-level annual bilateral forum between Singapore and China.

The 19th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation meeting was co-chaired by Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong and Chinese Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang for the first time.

At the time, Mr Ding said the visa-free arrangement would “provide greater convenience for people-to-people exchanges”.

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