KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 — Malaysians made up the largest group of foreigners to visit China in the wake of a 15-day visa-free policy that took effect from December 1, according to travel records from China's National Immigration Administration (NIA).
The NIA recorded a total of 1,113 Malaysian arrivals in China alone last Friday, the republic’s English-language news agency China Daily reported yesterday.
Apart from Malaysia, the 15-day visa-free policy was also extended to five European countries: France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain.
“Among them, Malaysian nationals had the highest number on that day, with 1,113 entries, French nationals recorded 227 visa-free entries, showing the highest increase compared with the previous day among the six countries, with a growth rate of 52.31 percent.
“Furthermore, the overall number of individuals entering China from these six countries increased by 12.54 per cent compared with the previous day,” the NIA was quoted as saying.
According to the NIA, a total of 2,029 individuals from the aforementioned six countries entered China on the first day following the policy change.
The NIA said immigration authorities will be optimising on-site guidance, maximising inspection channels and ensuring efficient and smooth customs clearance at entry points to ensure smooth implementation of the visa-free entry policy.
The NIA also said it has instructed exit and entry administration departments in different regions to provide convenient residence services for visa-free entry individuals following laws and regulations.
Malaysia’s 30-day visa-free travel policy for citizens of China and India will be in effect from December 1, 2023 until December 30, 2024.
Checks of the website of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Malaysia showed multiple notices of China’s new visa policy, including one in both English and Malay announcing the 15-day visa-free policy to be implemented for Malaysians with ordinary passports from December 1, 2023 to November 30, 2024 only if they enter China for “business, tourism, family visit and transit purposes” and do not stay more than 15 days.
However, Malaysians with ordinary passports who travel to China for other purposes such as “study, employment, permanent residence, study visit, news coverage” must still apply for a visa to enter the country.
Malaysia’s visa liberalisation plan comes ahead of the Visit Malaysia Year in 2026, where the country is targeting 26.1 million foreign tourist arrivals and an estimated domestic spending of RM97.6 billion.