News story

The Home Office launches new two-year Chinese visa pilot

A new two-year visit visa for Chinese nationals will be launched on Monday, 11 January.

A new two-year visit visa for Chinese nationals will be launched by the Home Office on Monday (11 January).

The new visa will cost £85, the same as our existing six month visitor visa, and will enable successful applicants to make multiple trips to the United Kingdom.

Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said:

The launch of this new visa enhances our excellent visa service by offering better value for money and more flexible travel for Chinese visitors, while ensuring that the UK border is protected.

The number of Chinese visitors to the UK is rising year on year and this visa will allow Chinese visitors to further take advantage of the opportunities the UK has to offer for both tourism and business purposes.

The launch follows the Prime Minister’s announcement of the pilot, during the state visit of President Xi to the UK in October 2015.

The new Chinese visit visa will also:

  • Enable visitors to make multiple trips to the UK for a longer period.
  • Provide eligible Chinese customers with a better deal that the standard Schengen visitor visa, which is limited to a maximum 90 days.
  • Enable British visitors to China to benefit from the same visa arrangement.

The two-year visitor visa will be available for the purposes of tourism, business, to attend conferences or to investigate setting up a business. Increasing numbers of British citizens are visiting China and will now benefit from these same arrangements, with the Chinese reducing their two-year visitor visa fee to the equivalent of £85 (an additional service fee will still be charged) and, for the first time, matching the UK’s offer of a 10-year visitor visa.

There are also plans to extend the UK’s mobile fingerprinting service, which captures the biometrics needed for applications, from nine to 50 Chinese cities.

In the year ending September 2015, the UK issued 484,065 visas in China, a 20% increase on the previous year, of which 404,084 were visit visas - a 22% increase.