Austrians no longer need visa to travel to China for short visits – a 6-month trial by the Chinese?

New visa-free travel rules for Austrians visiting China went into effect today

According to various Austrian news media, any Austrians who are planning on visiting China will no longer need a visa to visit the Asian country as of today — March 14th, 2024.

Austrian’s visa-free travel to China was also confirmed by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It isn’t just Austria whose citizens are being allowed to have visa-free travel to China either, as nationals from Switzerland, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg and Belgium will also now have the same ability to travel to China without needing to apply for a visa before they depart.

Those countries join France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands, who were already allowed visa-free travel to China beginning in December.

Beijing says the move to make travel easier for natives of some European countries is “aimed at boosting inbound tourism and people-to-people exchanges”.

According to China’s Global Times, the opening up of China for easier travel is already meaning airlines are beginning to increase the number of flights to various Chinese destinations, as they anticipate higher numbers of passengers.

Sadly, however, the United States is continuing to strengthen its visa laws when it comes to Chinese nationals. Both for travel and business purposes.

That likely means, while the Chinese government is doing everything they can to promote both tourism and possible increased business between China and various European countries, they will likely reduce that effort when it comes to the United States.

What does Austria’s visa-free travel to China allow its citizens?

The new rules will mean Austrians can travel to China and stay for up to 15 days, without needing to apply for a visa.

The only restriction, so far at least, is that they must have six months remaining on their passports before departure.

Visa-free travel to China for Austrians, however, is a short-term thing at the moment, with the Chinese Embassy saying it will only run through November 30th, 2024.

As visa-free travel for nationals of France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands, which began in December, was announced as a “year-long trial”, it appears the same travel easing for Austrians is a six month-long trial.

Meaning, it may very well be extended once the Chinese are sure it is beneficial.

About Michelle Topham

I'm a journalist, and the founder of Oh My Vienna. I have been living in Vienna since 2016 as an immigrant, because 'expat' is just a fancy word that means exactly that.