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This pilot policy will allow ordinary passport holders to enter China without a visa, for stays not exceeding 15 days. The facilitation is aimed at those travelling for business, tourism, visiting family or friends, or transit.

Effective from 1 December 2023 to 30 November 2024, this new regulation marks an important turning point in China's entry policies, stimulating cultural and economic exchanges. Italian travellers interested in benefiting from the visa waiver will have to make sure they are in possession of a passport with at least six months' validity.

The 15-day count does not include the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions, for which Italian citizens already enjoy visa-free entry for up to 90 days. These measures reflect China's desire to promote tourism and trade, while recognising the need to maintain standards of security and order in immigration.

The first data released by theNational Immigration Administration of China indicate that, as of December 2023, some 118,000 travellers from the top six countries benefiting from the new policy entered China without visas, with a predominance of visits for tourism, business or leisure. This represents 55% of the total visits from these countries, registering an increase of almost 30% compared to November.

These numbers underline the effectiveness and attractiveness of the new visa-free policy, which it is hoped will help further strengthen ties between China and these nations.

The Italian authorities, through their diplomatic representations in China, remind travellers of the importance of always consulting official guidelines before departure and registering on portals dedicated to the safety of international travellers. These steps are essential to ensure a safe and smooth journey, in compliance with the regulations in force.