, CHINA, Jun 19 – Britain and Belgium announced Friday new streamlined visa procedures for Chinese nationals aiming to visit both the UK and the wider Schengen area.
The two EU countries said the pilot scheme will allow Chinese tourists and business people to apply for visas for Britain and Belgium – which is a member of the Schengen area – through a single visit to application centers in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai.
The new scheme will launch on July 1.
Under the Schengen system visitors who obtain a Belgian visa can also visit any of the other 25 countries in the area.
“This scheme will create a one-stop shop for Chinese visitors to the UK and Europe, whether they are coming here for business or leisure,” British Home Secretary Theresa May said in a statement.
“We will continue to make sure our visa services are world-class to ensure that our borders are protected and that Britain remains open for business.”
The UK has opted out of the Schengen Agreement which allows passport free travel within the area.