ANGOLA/CHINA - Agreement reached on mutually preferential visa regime

The arrangement is expected to significantly improve visa procedures and allowances for Angolan and Chinese nationals traveling to each other’s countries.

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What is the change? Angola and China have reached an agreement to provide preferential visit visas to each other’s nationalities.

What does the change mean? The arrangement is expected to significantly improve visa procedures and allowances for Angolan and Chinese nationals traveling to each other’s countries.

  • Implementation time frame: Approximately Feb. 14; the agreement will go into effect 30 days after each country confirms it by completing all required country-specific legal formalities. 
  • Who is affected: Angolan and Chinese nationals traveling to each other’s countries.
  • Impact on processing times: The agreement has yet to be published, so the details are not yet known. However, it is anticipated that the agreement will require visit visas to be issued within five working days of the application date. Processing times are expected to be further reduced by eliminating the number of visa renewals that Angolan and Chinese nationals may require and by extending the number of permissible activities that can be undertaken on the basis of a visit visa.
  • Business impact: Affected business people who travel regularly between Angola and China will save time and money because it is expected that they will have to apply for visas no more than once a year. It is also expected that Angolan or Chinese nationals will be allowed to undertake limited work activities in each other’s countries on the basis of a visit visa.

Background: Angola has been China’s largest trading partner in Southern Africa since 2007 and the agreement was signed this week in Luanda as part of a four-country African trip by China’s Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi. Although the details have yet to be published, the agreement is expected to mirror other such visa facilitation agreements that Angola has signed with other countries, and include the following benefits:

  • Angola and China will issue multiple-entry visit visas with a validity of 12 months to nationals from each other’s countries.
  • Visit visas should be issued within five working days of the application submission date.
  • Visitors will be allowed to remain in Angola or China for up to 90 days (consecutive or cumulative) per 180-day period.
  • Although foreign nationals are ordinarily not permitted to undertake any remunerated activity in Angola or China if the sole immigration document secured is a visit visa, visitors will be allowed to:


    • Undertake market research.
    • Develop exploratory contracts of a commercial or similar nature.
    • Conduct negotiations of investment projects.
    • Assemble equipment in country.
    • Provide technical assistance in country.
    • Speak at conferences or training facilities.

BAL Analysis: It is anticipated that the change will facilitate business travel and reduce the inconvenience of having to apply for a work visa in certain circumstances and a visit visa as frequently as required under the current visa regimes of both countries. BAL will continue monitoring developments and will update clients when an implementation date is announced or visa issuance begins.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact africa@balglobal.com.

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