Restrizioni per l`emissione dei visti

04 Maggio 2009


Mainland authorities have once again tightened visa procedures for foreigners in the run-up to the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People`s Republic, travel industry sources said yesterday.

The latest curbs have raised concerns that the central government is reintroducing the draconian visa policy enforced before and during the Beijing Olympics last year.

Under the policy introduced two weeks ago, all new business visas issued recently will expire on September 15th, three mainland visa agents confirmed.

Applications for the business visas, also called F visas, beyond September 15th would be put on hold, pending further government clarification, the agents said. "We don`t know what is going to happen after September 15th. More policies will probably be introduced as National Day approaches. We`ll have to wait and see," Marcy Shen Lijun, a visa consultant based in Shanghai, said.

Existing F visas that expired after September 15th would not be affected as they were issued before the introduction of the new policy, agents said. Visa procedures for tourists and students had not been affected yet, they said.

However, information remained sketchy. Foreign applicants have had different experiences in obtaining new visas, with some saying that they had already had problems in applying before September 15th.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said she was not aware of the new restrictions, but many expatriates on the mainland said they had found it more difficult to secure new visas.

The tightening of the procedures echoes similar arrangements mainland authorities put in place during the Olympics.

A ceremony is to be staged in Beijing on October 1st to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding. All state leaders will be attending the celebration, which will also feature a military parade. Beijing will be taking no chances on anything ruining the celebration. It earlier announced that security measures for the anniversary would be similar to those operating during the Olympics.

Ms Shen and two other Beijing-based visa agents said the new policies were introduced to control the influx of foreigners, and the authorities believed this could improve stability and security.

Last year, Beijing imposed a series of entry restrictions in the run-up to the Olympics in August, dealing serious blows to the capital`s tourism industry and some in the business sector. Most of the regulations were lifted after the Games, while some have remained in place. The visa agents said it had been much easier to obtain visas after the Games.

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