The National Immigration Administration's government service platform will launch online visa application appointment and inquiry services for foreigners in China, starting from October 9.

The administration has been providing such services for Chinese citizens since 2019.

To better serve expatriates and foreign businesses in the country, the administration will open eight services online, making it easier and more efficient to make appointment for applying for visa, check the information and progress, as well as peruse information about identity cards and passports of those with permanent residence in China.

The eight services are listed as follows:

1. Online appointment to apply for visa

Foreign applicants can make an appointment online to apply for visa extension, replacement, reissuance and stay or residence permit services, and choose the location and time for their offline application.

2. Progress of visa application

Foreign applicants can check the online progress of visa extension, replacement, reissuance and the stay or residence permit services they applied for at the exit and entry administration departments.

3. Visa information

Foreign applicants can go online to check information about visa extension, renewal, reissuance and stay or residence permit services.

4. Permanent residence identity card information

Expats who have permanent residence in China can check their identity card information on this platform.

5. Passport information

Expats who have permanent residence in China can check their passport information on the platform.

The results can form a set of e-documents with the stamp of the National Immigration Administration, which can make it easier for expats to handle financial, tax, social security, telecommunications and other social affairs.

6. Detail of offices where expats can process their visa and stay or residence permit

Foreign applicants can check online details of exit-entry departments across the country that handle visas and stay or residence permits, including office addresses, business hours and phone numbers.

7. Online service guidance

Foreign applicants can check detailed guidelines on visa extension, renewal, reissuance and residence permit to learn more about application materials and requirements as well as procedures.

8. Online assistance service for family members, relatives and friends on visa and residence issues.

The platform provides services for Chinese or expats to help their foreign family members, relatives and friends, especially the elderly and children who have difficulty using mobile applications, to handle visa and residence issues.

Chinese or foreign users should add the names of their foreign family members, relatives and friends who need assistance as applicants and handle the required services for them.

The new version of the People's Republic of China Foreign Permanent Residence ID Card will be officially issued on December 1, the National Immigration Administration announced today.

The existing version will remain valid within its expiration date. Cardholders can choose to apply for the new version based on their needs.

The PRC Foreign Permanent Residence ID Card is a legal identification document issued by the National Immigration Administration to foreigners who meet the requirements for permanent residence in China.

Cardholders can use the Permanent Residence ID Card as a valid certificate in situations such as accommodation registration and transportation ticket purchase, without the need to present their passports.

The new version of the People's Republic of China Foreign Permanent Residence ID Card:

The new version of the People's Republic of China Foreign Permanent Residence ID Card under ultraviolet light:

The new version retains the basic format of the current one while expanding the card number from 15 digits to 18, and incorporating five-star elements that represent China. It also optimizes the layout and employs advanced anti-counterfeit technology. The information storage and personal data protection have also improved.

After the introduction of the new version of the card, cardholders will be able to use them to handle personal matters via online platforms.

Alipay yesterday announced the launch of an updated "international version" of its smartphone application with customized services for overseas travelers to China.

When overseas users register or open the app, they will have the English-language option and easy-to-use translation tool.

It also integrates frequently used travel services, including hotel booking, air ticket booking, car-hailing, public transport and exchange rate checking.

Alipay said the new move aims to fulfill international travelers' mobile payment needs in China and improve their local travel experience.

This follows earlier measures to streamline the registration and verification processes for overseas users with no Chinese bank account or phone number.

The updated version also includes services related to the upcoming Asian Games in Hangzhou through the Smart Hangzhou mini-program.

Since late June, registration and digital payment process for overseas users have been improved.

Overseas visitors can now sign up Alipay and link an international credit or debit card from Visa, Mastercard, JCB, Discover, and Diners Club to pay at tens of millions of Alipay partner merchants across China, including restaurants, cafes, tourist attractions, shopping malls, street stalls and public transport.

Here is a step-by-step guide: 

Visitors to the Chinese mainland are no longer required to have nucleic acid tests or antigen tests before entry starting today.

In accordance with the new rule, the question about nucleic acid testing has been removed from the China Customs Health Declaration interface.

The question related to COVID has been removed in this screenshot taken on Wednesday.

It remains compulsory for people to complete a health declaration that includes questions of entry/exit information, personal information, travel history and health condition.

In order to expedite the process, Customs authorities recommend travelers download the official WeChat app in advance and know how to find the China "Customs Pocket Declaration" applet for an easier process.

The completion of the form needs about two minutes, making it a more efficient alternative to traditional paper declarations.

With a scan of the WeChat-based China "Customs Pocket Declaration" applet, people can get to the page of Customs Health Declaration.

Travelers are allowed to carry out the health declaration on site at Customs, but it may cause unnecessary congestion.

It is highly recommended that visitors complete the declaration 24 hours prior to entry/exit, and remember to take a screenshot of the barcode that is generated.

Once travelers arrive at the Customs gates, they simply need to show the screenshot of the barcode to customs personnel for a seamless entry/exit.

Foreign Ministry has announced that beginning on Wednesday, it would no longer require travelers entering China to take a PCR test or an antigen test for COVID-19.