China Simplifies Entry Procedure For Visitors

China simplifies entry procedure for visitors

Published: Wednesday, December 19, 2007

BEIJING (Reuters) – Visitors to China will no longer have to fill in health declaration forms from next month as a way of simplifying entry procedures ahead of next year's Beijing Olympics, state media said on Thursday.

Instead, visitors would have to tell border officials of any illness, the China Daily said.

“The move aims to simplify immigration procedures and improve efficiency,” it quoted a joint issued by the national quarantine watchdog and civil aviation regulator as saying.

The health forms were started during the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which began in the southern province of Guangdong in late 2002.

Passengers would still have to fill in entry and customs declaration forms, the newspaper added.

“The complicated procedures have led to growing public complaints as passenger flows increase rapidly,” it said. Olympic organizers expect 70 million visits by foreigners next year, up from 44 million in 2006.

“The rapid increase in passenger traffic poses a challenge. So we're making great efforts to simplify immigration procedures,” the report quoted quarantine official Xia Wenjun as saying.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard, editing by Nick Macfie)