Cross-border connections revolution: Visa free travel for Chinese and Singaporeans

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

Starting from February 9, Chinese and Singaporean travellers can jet off visa-free in a new move to waive the requirement.

In an exclusive bilateral agreement unveiled today, January 25, the world’s second-largest economy, China, and the vibrant city-state of Singapore have torn down the bureaucratic barriers, allowing their citizens a visa-free stay of up to 30 days on either side. This unprecedented move is poised to revolutionise travel dynamics and foster greater international camaraderie.

The wheels for this groundbreaking pact were set in motion weeks ago, with Singapore’s government dropping hints last month during Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong’s visit to China. The mutual reciprocity was eagerly anticipated, marking a significant stride towards stronger diplomatic ties and increased people-to-people exchanges.

China’s overture to Singapore started in July last year, breaking the visa-free entry drought that persisted for over three years since the pandemic’s onset. In a major lift, Singaporeans were granted the privilege of 15 visa-free days in China. However, the tables turned for Chinese passport holders, who still needed a visa to enter the dynamic Southeast Asian hub.

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Notably, this move is part of China’s strategic push to bolster tourism and business links, a reaction to domestic challenges such as deflation and subdued demand. As a testament to its commitment, China has waved goodbye to visa requirements for 11 countries since last year, reported Bangkok Post.

Additionally, Beijing is rolling out other measures, making it easier for foreigners to apply for visas on arrival. The slashing of visa application fees for foreign nationals is another arrow in China’s quiver as it aims to open up its economy and attract a global influx of business and tourism.

In related news, Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin announced the imminent signing of a visa waiver agreement between Thailand and China. The deal, to be sealed on Friday during Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Thailand, promises to liberate citizens from both nations to explore each other’s territories freely.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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