Visa for citizens of Singapore visiting Shenzhen during the Beijing Olympic Games

Q: I am a Singaporean planning to visit Shenzhen (3 days) via Hong Kong. Is it necessary to apply for visa to enter Shenzhen during this period? Is it right to say that due to the Beijing Olympics all visa-free for Singaporeans will be resumed only after the Olympics? Thank you.

It used to be that citizens of Singapore can visit China for up to 15 days with no visa. Back in April this year, the Chinese government announced that staring on July 1, 2008, visa will required of Singaporean citizens who travel to China. This is clearly part of China's effort to regulate travel in and out of China during the Beijing Olympics, which will take place from August 8-26. It was also announced that the visa-exemption treatment for Singaporean citizens will resume after the Olympic Games, but no specific date was given with regard to when this is going to happen. If you are traveling to China before that happens, you'll need visa to enter China. Double-check with the consulate to make sure you have accurate information.

For Shenzhen, there was also visa-at-the-border which allowed a visitor to stay in Shenzhen up to five days. If the traveler wanted to travel farther into China, he still needed a "real" China visa. It has been reported that this measure has also been rescinded since April. So now even if you plan to stay in Shenzhen only, you still need to apply for a visa. You can do so at the Chinese consulate in Singapore.

Relatedly, whereas in the past foreign travelers can apply for their China visa in Hong Kong; now citizens of many countries have to do so while they're in their home country.