China announces plans to issue visas to Indian students stranded after more than two years of delay due to COVID restrictions

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China on Monday announced plans to issue visas to hundreds of Indian students stranded at home for more than two years due to Beijing’s strict COVID restrictions, in addition to various categories of travel permits for Indians, including business visas.

“Warmest congratulations to #Indian #students! Your patience is worth it. I can truly share your enthusiasm and happiness. Welcome back to #China!” Ji Rong, Advisor, Asian Affairs Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China tweeted.

His tweet quoted a detailed announcement from the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi announcing the opening of visas for students, businessmen and families of those working in China.

According to the announcement, X1-Visa will be issued to students who intend to travel to China to pursue long-term studies in higher education, including newly enrolled students and students returning to China for resume their studies.

More than 23,000 Indian students, mostly studying medicine, are said to be stranded at home due to COVID visa restrictions.

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India had submitted a list of several hundred students after China asked for the names of those who wished to return immediately to continue their studies.

Some students from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Russia and several other countries have already arrived on charter flights in recent weeks.

Monday’s announcement posted on the website of the Chinese Embassy in Delhi states that student visas will be issued to newly enrolled students and former students who were unable to travel to China due to COVID visa bans. .

While new students must produce an original admission letter issued by a university in China, returning students must submit a “Return to Campus Certificate” issued by the university in China.

According to official sources, more than 1,000 former Indian students have expressed a desire to return to resume their studies. It remains to be seen whether the universities processing their applications will issue the certificates allowing them to apply for visas.

Another big problem was that there were no direct flights between the two countries. For the first time in more than two years, a charter flight hired by Indian businessmen and their families recently arrived in the Chinese city of Hangzhou.

In July, China allowed family members of Indian professionals to work in China. Several of them arrived via third country routes paying several times more than normal ticket prices.

Indian and Chinese officials said talks were underway between the two countries to resume flight operations. The category of visas announced by the Chinese Embassy in India on Monday included the C-Visa issued to crew members.

Other visa categories announced by the Embassy included M-Visa issued to those intending to visit China for business and commercial activities, F-Visa issued to those intending to visit in China for exchanges, visits, study tours and other non-business activities and Z-Visa for those who intend to work in China.

Other category permits included visas for dependents of those working in China.

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