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China: new rules aid applicants who plan overseas trips
Application process for travel documents to be made simpler.
Mainland residents who need a passport or a permit for travel to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, will be able to complete the application process at any entry and exit office nationwide starting on Sept. 1, the State Immigration Administration said on Tuesday.
Currently, individual applicants living somewhere other than the place of residence indicated in their hukou, or residence permit, often found it necessary to return to their hometown to get a passport or travel document, because a person in another province requires proof of address, employment, study and kinship, Qu Yunhai, deputy director of the State Immigration Administration, said during a news conference in Beijing.
After the new measures take effect, applicants will not need to travel back and forth to get travel documents, Qu said.
People in tour groups traveling to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan can also complete travel document applications at all entry and exit offices nationwide, he said, adding that all applications will be completed within seven working days.
Around 2.7 million people will benefit from the simplified procedures annually, saving them a total of 3 billion yuan ($439 million). The new requirement will also save 7.8 million travelers to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan 9 billion yuan annually, according to the administration.
The country adopted a one-visit-only policy in May to streamline travel document applications nationally. Applicants for passports, as well as for permits to travel to and from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, can be completed with one visit to the exit-entry administration office.
The administration has simplified procedures to allow applicants to submit photos, fingerprints and application materials, and will conduct face-to-face interviews and take payment all at the same time. Applicants are encouraged to make reservations via the internet to speed up the process.
Exit-entry administration offices issued 133 million travel documents during the first half of 2018, up 18.3 percent from a year earlier. The total number of inbound and outbound travelers in China rose by 7.7 percent to 310 million during the same period, according to statistics.
Shi Congqiang, who has worked in Beijing for two years, said he welcomes the simplified regulations.
Shi, who is from Shandong province, wants to take a vacation to Southeast Asia during the National Day holiday.
"With the new measures, I can get a passport in Beijing and do not have to return to my hometown," he said. "It will save me two days and around 1,000 yuan in travel expenses."
  Source: Ecns

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