Counsellor of Chinese Embassy in India Mr. Zhang Yang Answers Questions by the Press on Visa Facilitation between China and India
2015/08/18

On July 30, 2015, the Indian Government extended e-Tourist Visa (e-TV) facility to Chinese nationals. Mr. Zhang Yang, Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in India answers questions by the press on visa facilitation between China and India.

1,Chinese nationals can apply for the Indian e-TV from 30 July 2015. This news has attracted extensive attention in China. Could you please elaborate on that? What is the prospect of Chinese tourists visiting India in the future?

China welcomes the e-TV policy adopted by the Indian Government towards Chinese tourists. President Xi Jinping paid a very successful official visit to India in September last year, during which China and India agreed to launch the China-India Cultural Exchange Initiative with a view to further promote cultural and people-to-people contacts. The two sides also decided to designate 2015 as the "Visit India Year" in China and 2016 as the "Visit China Year" in India. During his official visit to China in May 2015, Prime Minister Modi announced that India was preparing to introduce e-TV for Chinese tourists. The policy has been implemented now. The e-TV policy will definitely attract a large number of Chinese tourists to India in the future. And we will continue to work hard to improve"the innate value" of the Chinese passport, so that more and more Chinese nationals find it easier to travel to India.

Currently, the overall volume of people-to-people exchanges between China and India is around 900,000 person-times annually. The volume of Chinese nationals coming to India is around 150,000 person-times per year, whereas only 1 out of 5 Indian nationals going abroad are travelling to China annually. For a country like India which has rich cultural and great tourism resources, the number of Chinese tourists visiting annually is actually less than normal. China has a population of 1.3 billion people, which also translates into a huge tourist market. In 2014, the number of outbound Chinese tourists exceeded 100 million person-times, of which only 1 out of 600 visited India. The Chinese side would like to see more Chinese tourists traveling to India, as well as more Indian nationals visiting China for tourism, business and work. We believe that people-to-people exchanges between China and India will further enhance mutual understanding and long-lasting friendship between the two countries. China and India are both trying to promote bilateral exchanges of persons, which lays a solid foundation for comprehensive cooperation in various fields.

2,As India has implemented the e-TV policy for Chinese tourists, does China plan to offer similar visa facilitation for Indian tourists?

At present, China does not have the e-Visa policy for any country in the world. Nevertheless, China warmly welcomes Indian nationals, and has always had a relaxed visa policy towards them. The Chinese Embassy in India has been committed to promoting bilateral exchanges of persons and cooperation in various fields between China and India. In recent years, the number of Indian nationals visiting China has also seen a steady increase. More than 700,000 Indian nationals visited China last year, and occupied tenth place among the foreign nationals visiting China. In the same year, the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi and Consulates General in Mumbai and Kolkata issued about 300,000 ordinary visas and 10,000 group visas to Indian nationals, which means that each Chinese consular official in India issued 1,800 visas per day.

With the objective to provide better visa services and encouraging more Indian nationals to visit China, the Chinese Embassy and Consulates General in India provide all-round visa facilitation to all Indian applicants by simplifying the visa procedures as much as possible. For applying tourist visa, an Indian applicant only needs to provide the application form, itinerary, air-ticket and certificate of bank deposit. For business visa, only the application form, invitation letter, itinerary and air-ticket are needed. With all the required documents at hand, we issue an ordinary visa within four working-days and an express visa within two working-days.

3,Do the Chinese Embassy and Consulates General in India provide any special visa facilitation for Indian nationals?

At present, Indian nationals visiting Hong Kong and Macau enjoy a visa-free treatment of 14 days and 30 days respectively. Indian nationals transiting through the Chinese Mainland within 24 hours also enjoy a visa-free treatment. In case of emergency for medical or humanitarian assistance, the Chinese Embassy and Consulates General in India issue an urgent visa on the same-day basis for an Indian applicant at weekends or on holidays. In 2014 alone, we issued more than 2000 express and urgent visas. Further more, we only charge for issued visas. If an Indian applicant cancels the trip and withdraws the visa application before the issuance of visa, we do not charge any visa fee. The Chinese Visa Application Service Center (VFS), operated by an Indian company, charges a relatively small service fee before any visa application is sent to the Chinese Embassy and Consulates General in India.

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