China grants 10-year visas

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By LI NA in Toronto and PAUL WELITZKIN in New York

Canada first kicked off 10-year, mul­ti­ple-en­try visas for trav­el­ers from China in Fe­bru­ary 2014. Now China has re­turned the fa­vor.

China’s For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi an­nounced the new ar­range­ment at a press con­fer­ence at the third ses­sion of China’s 12th Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress in Bei­jing on March 8.

The visa will be valid for up to 10 years, but not ex­ceed the va­lid­ity of ap­pli­cant’s pass­port. Each stay may not ex­ceed 180 days.

In ad­di­tion to be­ing valid for a decade, Ed Fast, min­is­ter of In­ter­na­tional Trade for Canada, said it will ease travel, re­duce costs and cut down on de­lays and prepa­ra­tion time for trips to China.

“Mul­ti­ple-en­try visas will greatly ben­e­fit Cana­di­ans, from busi­nesses to tourists to those vis­it­ing fam­ily mem­bers back in China,” Fast said.

Xue Bing, the Chi­nese Con­sulate Gen­eral in Toronto, is­sued the first long-term, mul­ti­ple-en­try visa to a Canadian cit­i­zen at the Chi­nese visa Ap­pli­ca­tion Ser­vice Cen­tre in Toronto on Mon­day.

“I think this reg­u­la­tion will greatly fa­cil­i­tate the move­ment of peo­ple across the two coun­tries,” Xue said. “We will ben­e­fit from the co­op­er­a­tion and in­ter­ac­tion be­tween China and Canada. As time passes, we will fur­ther per­fect this ar­range­ment.”

“The year 2015 marks the 45th an­niver­sary of estab­lish­ment of diplo­matic ties and the 10th an­niver­sary of the estab­lish­ment of a strate­gic part­ner­ship be­tween China and Canada. I am con­fi­dent that this ar­range­ment will cer­tainly pro­mote the bi­lat­eral re­la­tions to a new level,” said Luo Zhao­hui, China’s am­bas­sador to Canada.

“It is great news,” said Daniel Cheng, man­ag­ing direc­tor of Canada China Busi­ness Coun­cil’s (CCBC) of­fice in China. “It will re­duce costs and cut red-tape in visa ap­pli­ca­tion pro­ceed­ings and pave the way for more Canadian peo­ple to visit China.”

“China’s new ar­range­ment will give more Cana­di­ans a bet­ter chance to deepen their un­der­stand­ing of China,” Cheng said.

Fan Xiaodong, Act­ing Con­sul Gen­eral of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China in Van­cou­ver, said that “doc­u­ment re­quire­ments for visa ap­pli­ca­tions have not changed,” and the pro­cess­ing time is usu­ally four busi­ness days.

“This 10-year visa will be of great con­ve­nience to over a mil­lion Cana­di­ans of main­land Chi­nese ori­gin in Canada and over 300,000 Canadian pass­port hold­ers re­sid­ing in Hong Kong who as cit­i­zens of Canada re­quire a visa to en­ter China,” Charles Bur­ton, a for­mer Canadian diplo­mat in China, said in an e-mail.

China is­sued 230,000 visas to Cana­di­ans last year, with 80 per­cent of them trav­el­ing to China for busi­ness, tourism or fam­ily vis­its, tourism of­fi­cials said.

“More than 2,000 peo­ple now travel back and forth be­tween the two coun­tries ev­ery day, which is the num­ber that trav­eled per year in the 1970s,” said Chris Alexander, min­is­ter of Cit­i­zen­ship and Im­mi­gra­tion Canada. “We know the num­ber will go even fur­ther as the re­sult of the mul­ti­ple-en­try visa ef­fec­tive to­day.”

“It be­comes so much eas­ier for us to travel to China with­out ap­ply­ing for a visa each time. Def­i­nitely, it has a lot of eco­nomic benefits for Canadian who do busi­ness in Canada,” said Ken Ng, chair­man of the Fed­er­a­tion of Chi­nese Cana­di­ans in Markham.

“It’s prob­a­bly one of the best an­nounce­ments be­tween the both coun­tries on the high level,” said Se­na­tor Vic­tor Oh, who was one of the del­e­gates on Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harper’s third visit to China in Novem­ber 2014.

LI NA / CHINA DAILY

Xue Bing (right), the Chi­nese con­sul gen­eral in Toronto, is­sues the first long-term, mul­ti­ple-en­try visa to Canadian cit­i­zen Ti­mothy Mark Hay at the Chi­nese visa Ap­pli­ca­tion Ser­vice Cen­tre in Toronto on Mon­day. The pe­riod of va­lid­ity of Hay's visa is from March 9, 2015, to March 9, 2024.

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