China and Thailand sign historic visa waiver agreements

Published on: 28 January 2024

In a landmark move signaling a new era of international cooperation, Thailand and China have mutually agreed to implement a visa waiver agreement for each other’s citizens, aiming to enhance travel and tourism relations between the two nations. This mutual visa exemption agreement was officially signed on January 28, 2024, and is scheduled to take effect from March 1, 2024.

This groundbreaking decision was unveiled during the official visit of Mr. Wang Yi, the Chinese Foreign Minister, to Thailand from January 26 to 29, 2024. As a distinguished guest of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Wang Yi engaged in discussions aimed at enhancing collaboration on trade, investment, security, culture, and tourism. The high-profile visit marked the signing of a historic agreement granting permanent visa exemptions to holders of ordinary passports from both countries and holders of Chinese passports for public affairs. The new agreement allows for stays of up to 30 days per visit, with a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period. 

Noteworthy events during the visit included a courtesy call on Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin at Government House and the inaugural meeting of the dialogue mechanism between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Thailand and China at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. These milestones strengthen the 50-year diplomatic relations between the two nations.

The agreement follows China’s recent announcement of another visa-free travel trial extended to citizens from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia. This trial, running until November 30, 2024, allows passport holders from these countries to explore China for up to 15 days without obtaining a visa. Certain countries already enjoy a 30-day visa-free travel privilege to China for purposes such as tourism, business, and visiting family or friends. The reciprocal visa exemption between Thailand and China is a significant step forward in fostering global connectivity and promoting people-to-people exchanges.

Travel enthusiasts and business professionals alike are eagerly anticipating the implementation of this historic agreement, which is expected to boost tourism and strengthen the economic and cultural ties between Thailand and China.

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