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China Eases entry for Singaporeans, Bruneians with 90-day visa-free access


China has resumed visa-free entry for citizens of Singapore and Brunei holding ordinary passports as of July 26, 2023. The 90-day visa-free access allows stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period upon arrival in China. This removes visa requirements for Singaporeans and Bruneians visiting China for tourism, business, visiting friends and family, and transit.

Benefits of visa-free access

The resumption makes travel to China more convenient for citizens of Singapore and Brunei who previously needed visas. It is expected to significantly benefit the tourism and travel industries in both countries.

With the visa waiver, analysts forecast an increase in travel between China and Singapore and Brunei. Tourism boards predict a rise in leisure visitors and holidaymakers from the two Southeast Asian countries. The streamlined access also enables more convenient business and work trips.

Companies in Singapore and Brunei expect closer commercial engagement and trade partnerships with China. The visa-free entry makes it easier for executives, entrepreneurs and investors to tap into opportunities in the huge Chinese market. Businesses can also facilitate visits by Chinese partners and clients.

For Singaporeans and Bruneians, the waiver provides greater access for visiting friends, relatives or contacts in China for social, cultural or networking purposes. It also enables more convenient transit through China to other destinations.

Strong diplomatic ties

Experts see the resumption of visa-free access as reflecting the robust diplomatic ties between China, Singapore and Brunei. It underscores deepening geopolitical relationships between China and the two Southeast Asian countries.

Singapore and Brunei are important economic and strategic partners for China in the region. China also values their support for its Belt and Road initiative and desire for stable bilateral ties.

The decision highlights improving relations between the Asian powers after pandemic disruptions. It signals China’s willingness to boost tourism, cultural and people-to-people exchanges with Singapore and Brunei.

Singapore’s global passport strength

Singapore’s passport is ranked the world’s most powerful in 2023, providing easy access to over 180 visa-free countries globally. Resuming visa-free access to China further expands travel opportunities for Singaporean passport holders.

The Singapore passport’s strength stems from the country’s reputation for safety, advanced infrastructure, and stable government. It enables Singapore citizens seamless entry to key business and tourism destinations.

Brunei’s passport also enjoys visa-free access to many major economies like the UK, Japan and Germany. The new China waiver synergizes with Brunei’s global passport strength.

Promising prospects for the travel sector

With this significant visa-waiver, analysts forecast a major boost in travel between China and the two countries. Singapore and Brunei residents can now conveniently plan holidays, visits and trips to China.

Key Chinese cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen can benefit from growth in leisure and business travel from Singapore and Brunei. Regional Chinese destinations may also see an influx.

Travel industry players welcome the increased connectivity. Airlines, hotels, tour agencies and online booking firms in all three countries anticipate growth in demand.

The streamlined access can also accelerate China’s tourism and economic recovery post-pandemic. But continuing Covid restrictions in China may limit the initial travel rebound.

Looking ahead, the resumption of visa-free entry marks a milestone in restoring travel between China, Singapore and Brunei. With quarantine-free travel, the waiver could stimulate a surge in visitors benefiting ties and trade.