Applying for a visa and visiting China are a bit less complicated.
In December, China started allowing visitors from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Malaysia and the Netherlands to travel for 15 days without visas, a change it said would last through November 2024. China’s National Immigration Administration said 147,000 visas had been granted in the first six and a half weeks of the program. China also reached agreements to make visa-free travel more accessible for tourists from Thailand and Singapore.
For Americans, visa applicants will no longer need to submit documents such as hotel booking records, an itinerary or an invitation letter. The authorities have also cut all visa application fees by 25 percent until the end of the year.
It has also gotten easier for foreigners to pay for things when visiting China. Last July, the main payment platforms, WeChat Pay and AliPay, said they would support foreign credit cards and allow visitors to pay like locals. China has moved away from paper money and coins, a trend that accelerated during the pandemic.
Flights between China and the United States have been only slowly restored. Before the pandemic, there were more than 300 flights every week between the two countries. That number was 36 a week in September and has gradually increased. In November, the countries agreed to increase flights to 70 a week.