Reciprocal visa exemption arrangement was affirmed through an exchange of diplomatic notes between Singapore and China
From 9 February, citizens from Singapore and China can enjoy mutual 30-day visa-free travel entry between the two nations, two months after the move was first announced at the countries’ annual forum.
Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said in a media release on Thursday (25 January) that holders of ordinary passports issued by the China will be exempted from visa requirements for a stay of up to 30 days in Singapore, with effect from 9 February.
Similarly, holders of ordinary passports issued by Singapore will be exempted from visa requirements for a stay of up to 30 days in China.
This arrangement is for those who are travelling for business, sightseeing, visiting friends and family, or other private affairs. Those who plan to engage in activities that require prior approval, such as work or news reporting, or plan to stay for more than 30 days, must still secure the relevant visa before entry.
There will be no refund of the visa processing fee for those who had earlier applied. Holders of all other travel documents issued by China must continue to apply for an entry visa before travelling to Singapore.
Enabling more ‘people-to-people exchanges’
This reciprocal visa exemption arrangement was announced at the 19th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation on 7 December and subsequently affirmed through an exchange of diplomatic notes between Singapore and China.
The Straits Times reported Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong saying that the agreement would “enable more people-to-people exchanges, thereby fortifying the bedrock of our bilateral relations”.
Previously, Singapore citizens could make social visits to China for up to 15 days, an arrangement that was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic but reinstated in July 2023.
Mainland Chinese citizens have always needed a visa to enter Singapore, although holders of diplomatic, public affairs and service passports issued by China are exempted from visa requirements for a stay of up to 30 days in Singapore.