China / Society

Switzerland to open 9 new visa centers in China

By ZHANG YUNBI ( Updated: 2016-06-16 10:44

The Embassy of Switzerland in China is expanding its visa services to more Chinese cities and it will open nine new Visa Acceptance Centers in nine cities from June to July.

Chinese visitors to Switzerland and the Schengen region, of which Switzerland is a member country, can hand in applications at more convenient locations and enjoy faster services.

This is expected to ease holiday preparations for Chinese tourists traveling to Switzerland this coming summer.

The nine cities, in order of opening, are Xi'an, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Shenzhen, Kunming, Changsha, Fuzhou, Jinan and Chongqing.

The new centers are scheduled to be inaugurated between June 15 and July 15 and will be operated by the embassy's commercial partner TLScontact.

The centers are authorized by the embassy in China to accept applications for short stay individual visas and provide administrative support services and biometric data implementation.

The expansion of the visa services is another initiative of the embassy to meet the increasing number of Chinese tourists to Switzerland following the opening of three centers in Chengdu, Wuhan and Shenyang in January.

In 2015, Switzerland issued 81,000 visas to Chinese applicants. The overnight stays from Chinese tourists in Switzerland reached a record number of more than 1.6 million, up more than 33 percent of the previous year. China now is the fourth source of tourists to Switzerland and the first from Asia.

According to the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, 45 percent of the visas issued to Chinese applicants are multi-entry or long-term visas. Short stay individual visa applications are being processed within 48 hours and at VACs, it should take no longer than five days for applicants to receive their visas.

The Swiss embassy and the centers are also working together to provide mobile biometry in the future to smooth the visa application process.

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