top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon

Fast-track visa plan for Chinese

Red tape eased for tourists and business visitors as France and China mark 50 years of De Gaulle diplomatic move

FRANCE - the world's top tourist destination - has announced a new fast-track visa regime which will process Chinese visitors' travel requests within 48 hours.

The move, which will boost Chinese tourism in France, comes as part of the launch of a year-long celebration to mark 50 years of links between the two countries since President Charles De Gaulle broke ranks with the US on January 27, 1964 to open full diplomatic ties with the then-government of Mao Zedong.

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced the visa move, which will come into force on January 27.

It comes as the UK is moving to cut red-tape for Chinese visitors. At present they can apply for a single EU-wide visa, but must apply for a second one for the UK. Changes mean that if they use certain travel companies they will no longer have to apply for the second visa. A 24-hour service could start this summer.

Mr Fabius told a press conference that General De Gaulle's "pioneering" decision to open diplomatic ties "gave France a special position in China" which had been buttressed over the years.

It had caused diplomatic shockwaves at a time when the US was still insisting the nationalist regime that had escaped to Taiwan should be considered the legitimate government of all of China. Against the backdrop of the Cold War, it saw De Gaulle making efforts to seek a middle path for France in the confrontation between the US and its allies on the one hand and the communist world on the other.

"It was a visionary decision with respect to a great power in the making, whose importance in world affairs today bears testimony to it," Mr Fabius said.

By way of comparison, full diplomatic relations between China and Britain were only established in 1972, and in 1979 with the United States.

The celebration events will include exhibitions in China showcasing the works of leading French artists such as Impressionist painter Claude Monet and sculptor Auguste Rodin.

An exhibition on De Gaulle, who served as president between 1959 and 1969, will also take place and a bullet-riddled Citroën car in which he survived an assassination attempt by opponents of Algerian independence will be sent to China.

The inauguration event for the year-long anniversary at the Grand Palais museum in Paris will include a solo performance by famed Chinese pianist Lang Lang. Treasures from China's Han dynasty will also be on display in Paris among several other events.

"This will also be an occasion to promote France as a tourist destination to the Chinese public," Mr Fabius said.

China will be the guest of honour at the Paris art fair in March, while the limelight will be on France in the Western China International Fair - an international expo - in Sichuan province, home of the pandas.

France is the prime European destination for Chinese tourists, with a record 1.4 million visitors last year. In all, 210,000 visas were issued for Chinese visits to the UK and the government said they contributed £300m to the economy.
Photo: ©AFP Photo/Daniel Janin

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Income Tax in France 2023 (for 2022 income)*
Featured Help Guide
- Primarily aimed at Britons, covers pensions, rent, ISAs, shares, savings and interest - but also contains significant general information pertinent to readers of other nationalities - Overview of online declarations + step-by-step guide to the French printed forms - Includes updates given automatically after this year's site opened
Get news, views and information from France