An elderly man is inquiring about the application. Photo by Zou Xin
“I have been keeping an eye on the availability of endorsement for Hong Kong travel. So I came here early this morning.” At 10∶00am on January 9, Mr. Shi arrived at the Household and ID Card Service Center of the Ningbo Public Security Bureau Jiangbei Branch for travel permits to Hong Kong. He had already made a travel plan with his friends before this visit.
On January 9, the first working day after the Ningbo Public Security Bureau released ten measures to facilitate border control, the entry-exit service windows of the Household and ID Card Service Center of the Ningbo Public Security Bureau Jiangbei Branch were teeming with residents applying for entry-and-exit permits. As Wang Guilian——Deputy director of the application center——revealed, “Our center sees a surge of applicants coming, and most of them apply for passports and travel permits to Hong Kong and Macao.”
Currently, travel endorsement for Macao can be obtained from self-service machines, and eligible residents with necessary qualifications can bring their valid entry permit to apply for endorsement on the machines. Endorsement for Hong Kong travel requires a service window for application and is currently only open to Ningbo natives or non-natives who own Ningbo residence permits. It takes no more than 7 working days for the former group of people and no more than 20 working days for the latter.
Approving of normal passports for overseas tourism and visiting friends has also been resumed. For Ningbo natives, the approval will be issued within 7 working days, and for those non-natives with residence permits of Ningbo within 20 working days.
As the Chinese New Year of the Rabbit is approaching, Hong Kong, Macao and other overseas travel will remain highly popular. Wang therefore cautioned anyone with a plan of overseas travelling during this holiday to ensure that they have an understanding of entry regulations and any epidemic-prevention policies of destinations prior to their itinerary planning.
“For those people who have no current travel plans, we suggest that they hold off applying for entry-exit permits and start their application 2-3 months in advance. Meanwhile, citizens are recommended to contact the exit-entry services beforehand to obtain the necessary requirements, in case of possible disqualifications or missing of application materials that would affect the application process.”
Among the ten entry-exit facilitation measures taking effect since January 8, 2023, are simplifying the application of business passports, supporting Hong Kong-bound business activities, rolling out the system of “whitelist” and “police-enterprise liaison officer”, keeping the “green channel” open and streamlined, resuming service on Saturdays, putting into use the self-service machines for visa issuance across Ningbo, launching the online services of "Zhejiang Immigration", implementing convenient visa-application services to foreigners, offering quick visa application at airports and ports, and setting up emergency service channels for the entry of Taiwan compatriots.
The Household and ID Card Service Center of the Ningbo Public Security Bureau Jiangbei Branch will, as Wang highlighted in the interview, act in accordance with the 10 measures and provide favorable services to local enterprises that are planning to join major investment projects of the BRI (Belt and Road Initiative), expand international markets, participate in business negotiations, and attend important meetings. It will open exclusive service windows for business personnel, and provide differentiated services, be they emergent or special. “The processing time for business passports will be shortened from 7 working days to 5 working days and will be further shortened to 3 working days for emergencies. Enterprises and their subordinates who have completed the business registration and record filing can apply for business endorsement as soon as Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland fully resume customs clearance.