China’s ‘game-changing’ Aussie passport act

Australians will no longer need a visa to visit China for 15 days or less, a new measure that will save them $110.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang made the announcement during his visit to Parliament House on Monday, saying Australia would be included in the Asian country’s visa waiver program to speed up international travel for Australian travelers.

The number of countries benefiting from visa-free travel to China now totals 14, including New Zealand, which joined the program in May.

The move will allow Australians to travel to China visa-free for up to 15 days for business, leisure or to visit family and friends. According to Flight Centre, it also means they save $110, which was the approximate price of a single-entry visa to China.

Mr Li said Australia would reciprocate the gesture to Chinese passport holders.

This also means that the Australian passport, currently the sixth most powerful in the world, now allows visa-free access to 190 out of 227 destinations worldwide.

Relations between Australia and China deepen

“We agreed to grant each other five-year multiple-entry visas for tourism, business and family visits to facilitate people-to-people exchanges. China will also include Australia in its visa waiver program,” Mr Li said.

A multiple-entry visa means that a person can enter and leave the country as many times as they like during the validity of the visa.

China has not yet announced the details of the new visa waiver policy, but Australian travel company founder Wender Wu welcomed the move, calling it a “groundbreaking change” for Australian travelers and the tourism industry.

“As the leading China travel specialist in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, we are excited about the opportunities this creates for travellers,” she said. Travel weekly.

“(The) announcement is very welcome news. This visa-free arrangement will make short-term travel easier and more hassle-free and we are confident it will encourage Australian holidaymakers to return to China in force.”

Mr Li said his visit to Canberra showed that China’s relations with Australia were “on the right track” after the trading partners emerged from a bitter economic dispute despite a duel for influence in the Pacific.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese described relations between the two countries as “renewed and reinvigorated”, adding that there would also be talks on improving military relations to avoid incidents like the sonar attack on HMAS Toowoomba last year.

“One of the very practical measures we talked about was improving military-to-military communications to avoid incidents,” Albanese told reporters on Monday.

“So it’s obvious that officials are going to leave and we’re going to discuss how that can be put into practice.”

Business trips to China increase by 68 percent thanks to visa waiver program

Flight Centre Corporate – which includes flagship brands FCM Travel and Corporate Traveller – announced that business travel between China and Australia increased by 68 percent in the current quarter (April 1, 2024 to June 17, 2024) compared to the second quarter of calendar year 2023.

China reopened its borders with Australia in March 2023 after border closures as a result of the pandemic.

“This move means Australian businesses can travel to China more smoothly and cost-effectively,” said Renos Rologas, General Manager of FCM Travel ANZ.

Australian Passport Fee Changes

Starting next month, the cost of an Australian passport will increase by 15 percent. Anyone wanting to buy the ten-year travel document will now have to pay almost $400 instead of $346.

In January, the fee was increased in accordance with the standard annual inflation indexation – and will rise again on July 1 to exactly $397.90.

The Australian federal government announced in May that Australians could expedite the processing of their passports by paying $100.

In this case, your new passport will be processed within five working days. The change will take effect on July 2nd.

According to the Australian Passport Office, applying for a new passport or renewing a passport currently usually takes about six weeks.

For Australians who need their travel documents urgently, there is already a “Priority Processing” option that allows them to receive their passport in just two working days. The cost of this is $252 – in addition to the basic fee of $346 for the passport itself.

Read related topics:China

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