China will optimize immigration administration policies and measures starting from Jan. 8, 2023 in compliance with the country's downgraded COVID-19 response measures.
The National Immigration Administration issued a notice on Tuesday, saying that the optimized policies and measures include the resumption of accepting and approval of Chinese citizens' applications for ordinary passports for the purposes of tourism and visiting friends abroad starting from the date.
The administration will also resume the processing of endorsements for Chinese mainland residents to visit the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for tourism and business purposes, as well as the issuance of exit-and-entry permits of the People's Republic of China and exit-and-entry permits for border control areas, the notice said.
Services related to the application for ordinary visas, stay permits, and residence permits by foreigners will be resumed, the notice said, adding that expedited procedures may be applied for in case of urgent need.
The resumed services will also include the issuance of port visas, the implementation of the 24/72/144-hour visa-free transit policy, and the issuance of temporary entry permits, according to the notice.
The country will see a gradual restoration of services related to passenger clearance through land ports and channels, as well as the exit and entry of passengers and border residents through land ports and corridors for border residents.
Fast channels at ports adjacent to the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions will return to normal operations, the notice said. And passenger clearance at water ports, as well as the exit and entry of international cruise passengers at selected ports, will be resumed in an orderly manner.
The notice also listed several facilitation measures that will continue to be implemented, including green passages at airports for key cargo flights, fast channels at land ports and immigration inspection stations for vehicles carrying key supplies, and an online personal application portal for immigration inspection boarding codes used at water ports.