Convenient service strengthens ties
The Israel Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Shanghai held its grand opening on Tuesday. As one of three visa application centers – along with its sister branches in Beijing and Guangzhou – the center expects to start operations at the end of July, providing quicker and more convenient service to an ever-growing number of applicants.
Zvi Heifetz, Ambassador of Israel to China, Eyal Propper, Consul General of Israel in Shanghai, Limor Yogev, Consul of the Embassy of Israel in Beijing and Limor Gadi, Consul of the Israeli Consulate in Shanghai, attended the VAC opening ceremony and cut the ribbon together.
“It is very important to deeply strengthen ties at the people to people level,” said Ambassador Zvi Heifetz, noting the importance of tourism as “among the main measures” to strengthen these ties.
The newly opened VAC is located on the third floor of Long Yu International Business Plaza in Jing’an district. It is expected to take responsibility for document collection and telephone services from the consulate by the end of this month. The VIP Express service at the new VAC provides an option to issue visas to applicants who meet the visa requirements after one working day, an 80 percent reduction from the usual processing time of five working days.
Applicants may apply inperson at the visa center, or submit their documents via post and track their visa status at any time. The visa center will also provide full working day phone services to help applicants.
“The opening of visa centers is another step to further simplify the visa policy,” said Consul Limor Yogev of the Embassy of Israel in Beijing, “following the mutual visa exemption for service and diplomatic passport holders, 10-year visa initiative and online payment in the last two years,” Yogev said.
Although Consul Yogev could not say how many visa applications the VAC would receive, she expects further growth of visa applications as VAC brings more convenience and efficiency to Israeli visa applicants.
According to Consul General Propper, the Consulate General of Israel in Shanghai issued around 12,000 visas in 2017. In addition, nearly 130,000 Chinese citizens visited Israel in 2017 as a result of opening direct flights as well as the implementation of the 10-year visa. He hopes the opening of the visa application center will further boost the number of Chinese visitors to Israel.
“This initiative to open the visa application center is a very important tool, said Consul General Propper, “to make the application of visas more efficient, faster and closer to the people,” expressing a hope that the VAC will continue to strengthen business and tourism ties between Israel and China.
From top: Zvi Heifetz (right), Ambassador of Israel to China, at the opening ceremony of Israel Visa Application Centre; Two women pose for photos at the visa center.