Chinese authorities have tightened visa controls in the run up to the Olympics, warned the international corporate travel services company, HRG.
HRG's executive vice president, James Stevenson, said: ”Under new regulations, all travellers going to mainland China are now required to provide proof of flight and hotel booking prior to their visa application.
”Companies must now also obtain an official invitation from the Chinese Foreign Ministry on behalf of employees ahead of visa applications being made and explicitly request a multiple entry business visa if required. Without this specification the maximum regular travellers to China can secure is a double entry visa and both trips must be completed within three months.”
These latest requirements follow the outsourcing of all visa applications by the Chinese Embassy last month to the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre (CVASC), which has been established to help process the increased number of visa requests.
”The introduction of the CVASC adds an additional step to the application process and increases the cost of obtaining a visa, which differs country by country. For example, regular applications in the UK increase by ”30 plus VAT and express services by ”40 plus VAT. The move to a third party operator is a growing trend among embassies, with India introducing the process earlier this year, and Russia set to announce changes in the coming months,” commented James.
These recent changes apply only to travellers to mainland China; Hong Kong continues to be exempt.
HRG is warning companies to plan in advance and use corporate travel service companies such as HRG.
”As experts in the market, with local representatives on the ground, we are able to take the complexities out of such changes to travel rules and regulations, minimising disruption to client operations,” said James.
The new visa restrictions are temporary and are expected to be revised in the autumn, says HRG.
For more information, visit hrgworldwide.com.