Chinese passport

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This article deals with passports issued by the People's Republic of China (PRC). For passports issued by the Republic of China (Taiwan), see Taiwanese passport.
People's Republic of China passport
People's Republic of China Biometric passport.jpg
The front cover of an ordinary Chinese biometric passport since 15 May 2012.
Issued by  China
Type of document Passport
Eligibility requirements Chinese nationals with Hukou residing in Mainland China, or Chinese nationals residing abroad who do not qualify for travel documents issued by Hong Kong or Macau[citation needed]
Expiration 10 years after acquisition for adults aged 16 or over, 5 for children

¥200 for first passport

¥220 for renewed passport

The People's Republic of China passport (simplified Chinese: 中华人民共和国护照; traditional Chinese: 中華人民共和國護照; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó hùzhào), commonly referred to as the Chinese passport, is the passport issued to nationals of the People's Republic of China (PRC) who have registered as a resident of Mainland China hence hold a hukou, for the purpose of the international travel.

In 2014, China issued 16 million passports, ranking first in the world, surpassing the U.S. (14 million) and India (10 million).[1] As of 2012, over 38 million Chinese nationals hold ordinary passports, comprising only 2.86% of the total population at the time.[2] The number of ordinary passports in circulation raised to 120 million as of October 2016, which was approximately 8.7% of the population.[3]

Overview and Contents[edit]


Articles 3, 4, 5 and 8 of the Passport Law of the People's Republic of China, which went into effect in 2007, declares three types of passports issued in Mainland China:[4]

  • Ordinary passports (普通护照) are issued to nationals who intend to go abroad for non-official purposes, such as taking up residences in other countries, visiting relatives, studying, working, travelling or engaging in business activities. They are issued by the Exit and Entry Administration (EEA) of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) or by the EEAs of county or city level which are authorized by the MPS, or the foreign missions of the People’s Republic of China, or other missions overseas authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Diplomatic passports (外交护照) are issued to diplomats, consuls and their spouses or children who are minor, and diplomatic couriers. They are issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
  • Service passports (公务护照) are issued to employees who are dispatched by the Chinese government to work for the Chinese foreign missions, the United Nations or its special commissions, and other international organizations, and their spouses or children who are minor. They are issued by the MFA, foreign missions of the People’s Republic of China, other missions overseas authorized by the MFA, or the Foreign Affairs Offices under the governments of provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government and cities divided into districts authorized by the MFA.
    • A special variation of service passport, called passport for public affairs (公务普通护照, lit. ordinary service passport), is issued to the public servants who are "leading roles of divisions or equivalents" of the county or state-owned companies, and employees of state-controlled companies.[5]

Article 9 of the Law states that the "issuing scope of diplomatic passports and service passports, the measures for issue of such passports, their terms of validity and the specific categories of service passports shall be prescribed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs".

The ordinary passport is considered as passports "for private affairs" (因私护照), while service (including for public affairs passports) and diplomatic passports are passports "for public affairs" (因公护照).[6]

The passports for Macau and Hong Kong SARs are issued and regulated by the governments of these regions, hence are not covered in this law.

From July 2011, the Chinese government has already rolled out biometric versions of diplomatic passports, service passports and passports for public affairs.[5] The launch date of biometric ordinary passports was May 15, 2012.

Passport for public affairs[edit]

A different passport for public affairs (因公普通护照, lit. ordinary passport for public affairs) was issued until 2006. Unlike the current version, it was classified as a variation of ordinary passport. The abuse of the use of document resulted in its subsequent cancellation. Unlike the other passports, it was issued by the provincial or municipal Foreign Affairs Offices, rather than the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Ministry of Public Security.[7]

In 1996, 77% of persons exiting China held the passport for public affairs.[8] The rate had dropped to 39% by 2002.[9] The reason for the high rate of usage was because the passport for public affairs offered more visa-free countries, such as Russia, than the ordinary passport.[7] Chinese regulations require the passport of public affairs to be kept in the possession of the holder's work unit,[10] such that they must be surrendered by the individual within one month of returning to China.[11] However, almost all holders chose to ignore the regulation, and this type of passport was widely issued even to street food dealers living in the border cities who wanted to extend their businesses to Russia. Frequent abuse of the use of this document subsequently resulted in the cancellation of visa-free agreements by many countries.[7]


The passport previously had an across-the-board 5-year period of validity. Since 2007, ordinary passports are valid for 10 years for bearers above 16 years of age, and for 5 years for bearers below 16 years of age, and diplomatic or service passports are valid for 4 years. According to the 2006 Passport Law of the People's Republic of China, renewal of previously issued passports ended on January 1, 2007. However, passports renewed before 2007 remained valid until expiry.


The newest version of the regular Chinese passport is the biometric version, which replaced its predecessors "Form 92", "Form 97-1" and "Form 97-2". It was released to the general public in May 2012. The passport contains 48 pages.

Ordinary Passport - Inside[edit]

Form "97-2"[edit]
Biodata page of the Form "97-2" PRC Ordinary Passport.

The Form "97-2" ordinary Chinese passport is a machine-readable passport. In "97-2", personal data is on the inside front cover along with a coloured photo printed with inkjet printer, with a protection film covering most of the data page. Details include:

  • Passport code (P)
  • Country Code (CHN)
  • Passport number (G########) - consists of one letter indicating passport type (G = ordinary), followed by eight digits
  • Surname
  • Given Names
  • Sex (M/F)
  • Date of birth (DD.MMM.YYYY)
  • Date of issue (DD.MMM.YYYY)
  • Place of birth (Province, or city/province/state if born abroad)
  • Place of issue (Province, or city/province/state of diplomatic/consular authority if issued abroad)
  • Date of expiry (DD.MMM.YYYY)
  • Authority (Exit & Entry Administration, Ministry of Public Security or the Chinese diplomatic and consular mission)
  • Machine Readable Code
Biometric passport[edit]
Inside page of a PRC Ordinary E-Passport.

In the biometric Passport, the personal data page was moved to a separate sheet of paper, and the design of personal data page has been amended significantly, adding the full name of PRC in Simplified Chinese and English on top along with an e-passport symbol printed with optically variable ink. New security features include a second ghost image of the holder and additional holographic graphs including the PRC emblem and the laser-printed world map. The details included are as follows:

  • Passport code (P)
  • Country Code (CHN)
  • Passport number (E########) - consists of one letter indicating passport type (E = e-passport), followed by eight digits
  • Name (Chinese characters on top, Pinyin transcription on bottom, a comma separates surname and given names in Pinyin only)
  • Sex (M/F)
  • Nationality (Chinese)
  • Date of birth (DD.MMM.YYYY)
  • Place of birth (Province with romanized transcription, or the country code if born abroad, along with Chinese abbreviation of the country)
  • Date of issue (DD.MMM.YYYY, month is transcribed into Arabic numerals)
  • Place of issue (Province, or city of diplomatic/consular authority if issued abroad)
  • Date of expiry (DD.MMM.YYYY, month is transcribed into Arabic numerals)
  • Authority ("MPS Exit and Entry Administration" or the full name of the Chinese diplomatic/consular authority)
  • Bearer's signature
  • Machine Readable Code


All information is printed in Simplified Chinese and English, except for the "Attentions" page, which is only printed in Simplified Chinese.

Passport Note[edit]

Anti-counterfeiting design in note page glows under black light
  • In Chinese


  • In English

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China requests all civil and military authorities of foreign countries to allow the bearer of this passport to pass freely and afford assistance in case of need.

  • In French (On version 82 only)

Le Ministère des Affaires Étrangères de la République Populaire de Chine prie les autorites civiles et militaires des pays étrangers de laisser passer librement le titulaire de ce passeport et de lui preter aide et assistance en cas de besoin.

On version "97-1" and "97-2", it is on page 1. On the biometric version, it is moved to page 3.

Inner pages[edit]

Transparent Pattern in Page 26 under black light

In the biometric version, selected nature hotspots and famous sights of mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are printed in the inner pages, each page also contains a transparent watermark of another nature hotspots and famous sights in the same area.

Page Division Pattern Transparent Pattern
8-9 Map of China
Tian'anmen Square
Tian'anmen Square
10 Beijing Forbidden City Summer Palace
11 Tianjin Hai River Binhai New Area
12 Hebei Shanhai Pass Laolongtou Great Wall
13 Shanxi Hukou Waterfall Pingyao Ancient City
14 Inner Mongolia Prairie of Hulunbuir Yurt
15 Liaoning Xinghai Square Industrial Base
16 Jilin Hard rime Houses of Jilin
17 Heilongjiang Sun Island Flood Control Monument
18 Shanghai Lujiazui The Bund
19 Jiangsu Classical Gardens of Suzhou Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge
Master of the Nets Garden
20 Zhejiang Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon of West Lake Distant view of West Lake
21 Anhui Huangshan Ancient Villages in Southern Anhui
22 Fujian Wuyi Mountains Fujian Tulou
23 Jiangxi Jinggang Mountains Mount Lu
24-25 Great Wall of China
26 Shandong Shibapan of Mount Tai Rock inscriptions at Mount Tai
27 Henan Longmen Grottoes Shaolin Monastery
28 Hubei Three Gorges Dam Wudang Mountains
29 Hunan Zhangjiajie Fenghuang Ancient City
30 Guangdong Mount Danxia The Five Rams sculpture
31 Guangxi Elephant Trunk Hill Guilin Scenery
32 Hainan Coconut Grove Tianya Haijiao
33 Chongqing Kuimen Chaotianmen
34 Sichuan Dujiangyan irrigation system Mount Qingcheng
35 Guizhou Huangguoshu Waterfall Miao Village
36 Yunnan Stone Forest Old Town of Lijiang
37 Tibet Potala Palace Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon
38 Shaanxi Terracotta Army Pagoda Hill
39 Gansu Mogao Caves Crescent Lake
40 Qinghai Qinghai–Tibet Railway Kumbum Monastery
41 Ningxia Shahu Western Xia tombs
42 Xinjiang Silk Road Turks Prairie
43 Taiwan Sun Moon Lake Qingshui Cliff
44 Hong Kong Victoria Harbour
45 Macau Sai Van Bridge Ruins of St. Paul's
46 Beijing Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests of Temple of Heaven Circular Mound Altar of Temple of Heaven

Last page[edit]

The note on the last page.

The last page has the notes for the passport. For e-passport, inside the backcover, a caution for the biometric chip is written in both Chinese and English:

This passport contains sensitive electronics. For best performance, please do not bend, perforate or expose to extreme temperatures or excess moisture.
EPassport logo.svg 请勿在此盖印 DO NOT STAMP HERE

Fee and processing time[edit]

The fee for a Chinese passport is CNY 200 for first-time applicants and CNY 220 for subsequent renewals. When applying for a passport overseas, the fee is US$35 or 25. No extra fees are charged for expedited processing if approved.[12]

Normal processing time is 10 business days when applying from Mainland China, and 15 business days from Chinese diplomatic missions outside Mainland China (including Hong Kong and Macau). Expedited processing is available for 5 business days, but is only available if the applicants have genuine emergencies, such as they have deceased relatives abroad, their first day of school is near, or they have unused visas in old passports that are expiring soon.[13] Some regions, such as Xinjiang, have stricter rules regarding the application process which requires additional background checks and an invitation letter from a friend or family outside Mainland China, or a travel voucher from a tourist agency. In this case, processing time is usually more than 30 business days and could be prolonged.[14]

Special administrative region passports[edit]

Chinese nationals who are also permanent residents of Hong Kong or Macau Special Administrative Regions of the PRC are issued Hong Kong or Macau SAR passports by the respective immigration departments of the SARs. In Hong Kong, Hong Kong Immigration Department takes charge of issuing passports. In Macau, Identification Services Bureau does the same role. The SAR passports and travel documents are issued solely by the government of the SARs, and the designs differ greatly from that of the regular PRC passport, albeit all three passports bear the same country and nationality code, CHN, meaning that the bearer holds the People's Republic of China nationality.

Some countries classify Chinese nationals with SAR passports as Hong Kong citizens or Macau citizens for visa issuing purpose, other than the ordinary Chinese citizens classifications. Holders of SAR passports enjoy visa-free entry to many more countries than holders of regular PRC passports due to their highly developed social and economical status.

While the SAR passports and travel documents are endorsed by China, mainland ports of entry controlled by the Ministry of Public Security do not accept those documents for traveling between the mainland and the SARs. MPS requires SAR residents of Chinese nationality to use a Home Return Permit. Also, SAR passports are not required when traveling between two SARs, but residents should bring their permanent residence IDs.

Chinese nationals who are not permanent residents of Hong Kong are issued Hong Kong Document of Identity for Visa Purposes, and of Macau Macao Special Administrative Region Travel Permit or Visit Permit for Resident of Macao to HKSAR.

Non-passport Travel Document[edit]

The following travel documents are also issued by Mainland China to Chinese nationals who may or may not qualify for a Chinese passport for various reasons:

Chinese Travel Document[edit]

Exit-Entry Permit for Travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macau[edit]

The Exit-Entry Permit for Travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macau, also known as the Two-way Permit, is issued to Chinese nationals with hukou who wish to visit solely Hong Kong and Macau.

Permit for Proceeding to Hong Kong and Macao[edit]

The Permit for Proceeding to Hong Kong and Macao, also known as the One-way Permit, is issued to Chinese nationals who are settling in Hong Kong or Macau and have relinquished their Chinese residency (hukou). After their initial entry to Hong Kong or Macau, they are considered as Hong Kong and Macau residents and are permanently ineligible for a Chinese passport.

Travel Permit to and from Taiwan[edit]

The Travel Permit to and from Taiwan, colloquially known as Mainland Compatriot Permit or Mainland Resident Travel Permit, is issued to Chinese nationals with hukou in Mainland China by Ministry of Public Security, to those who wish to travel directly between Mainland China and Taiwan. Holders of the permit are required to obtain exit endorsements issued by MPS and Exit and Entry Permit issued by Taiwanese authorities prior to travelling.

Self-Service Immigration System (e-Gate)[edit]

Holders of Chinese biometric Passports are eligible to use the Self-Service Immigration System, or e-Gates, when arriving from destinations outside Mainland China. E-Gates are located throughout numerous international airports in Mainland China (including the four busiest international gateways: Beijing Capital International Airport, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport) as well as land border crossing checkpoints in Shenzhen and Zhuhai. In order to use the e-Gate, they must hold biometric passports with their fingerprint data pre-recorded on the biometric chip. If their biometric passports do not contain fingerprint data, they must first register with China Immigration Inspection (CII) at land border checkpoints or international airports to be eligible.[15]

Starting from August 19, 2016, passengers are able to use the e-Gates in terminal 2 of Beijing Capital International Airport to complete exit procedures from China as well.[16]


The extended list of eligible travelers are:[17][16]

Registration with CII not required:

  • Holders of biometric passports that contain fingerprint data;
  • Holders of the new biometric Two-way Permits with valid entry endorsements that contain fingerprint data.

Registration with CII required:

  • Holders of the booklet-style Two-way Permits with multiple-entry endorsements;
  • Holders of Travel Permit to and from Taiwan for Mainland Residents booklet with multiple-exit endorsements;
  • Holders of Exit and Entry Permits that are valid for one year and multiple entries (only for the specific port of entry that they have registered with);
  • Holders of Home Return Permits;
  • Holders of Taiwan Compatriot Permits;
  • Foreign nationals with their passports and Chinese Permanent Resident cards;
  • Foreign nationals with their biometric passports and residence permits with a validity of more than 6 months; and
  • Flight crew members serving scheduled flights who are either Chinese or visa-exempt nationals, or non-visa-exempt nationals holding crew or work visas or residence permits that are valid for at least 1 year.

Visa requirements[edit]

Visa-free travel for PRC citizens holding ordinary or public affairs passports

Visa requirements for Chinese citizens are administrative entry restrictions by the authorities of other states placed on citizens of the People's Republic of China. As of 2015, Chinese citizens have visa-free or visa on arrival access to 45 countries and territories, ranking the PRC passport 83rd in the world according to the Visa Restrictions Index.

Traveling to and from Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan[edit]

Issued to Chinese nationals with Hukou or Chinese nationals not qualified for SAR-issued travel documents, Chinese passports cannot normally be used when travelling directly to Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan from Mainland China.

In order for such Chinese nationals to travel from Mainland China to Hong Kong and Macau, a Two-way Permit is required. Chinese foreign missions, however, do issue visa-like Hong Kong SAR Entry Permits to Chinese nationals residing outside Mainland China upon request, so PRC passport holders can travel solely between Hong Kong and Mainland with passports. Chinese passports can be used when transiting through Hong Kong or Macau to other countries and can enter Hong Kong or Macau for 7 days without a visa.

Travelling to Taiwan from Mainland China requires the Travel Permit to and from Taiwan as well as Exit and Entry Permit issued by the Taiwanese government. Although Chinese passports are accepted as valid travel documents by the National Immigration Agency (NIA) and Taiwanese diplomatic missions,[18] the MPS does not allow Chinese nationals with hukou to travel to Taiwan when departing from Mainland China unless holding the Mainland Resident Travel Permit with valid exit endorsement.

Foreign travel statistics[edit]

According to the statistics these are the numbers of Chinese visitors to various countries per annum in 2015 (unless otherwise noted):

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Counting only guests in tourist accommodation establishments.
  2. ^ a b Data for arrivals by air only.
  3. ^ a b Including Hong Kong.
  4. ^ Total number includes all purposes of visits
  5. ^ Data for arrivals by air only.
  6. ^ Total number includes tourists, business travelers, students, exchange visitors, temporary workers and families, diplomats and other representatives and all other classes of nonimmigrant admissions (I-94).


Vietnam and the Philippines have criticized China's decision to include disputed South China Sea islands on maps printed inside new Chinese passports.[129] These maps also include territory currently disputed with India.[130]

The government has been criticized for refusing applications for passports, particularly for Chinese dissidents and Chinese nationals who are of Tibetan and Uyghur descent. A human rights organization has estimated that over 14 million Chinese were either denied a passport or were unable to get one because of the restrictions.[131]

It is worth noting that holding a Chinese passport does not grant the holder's right to return to China. In November 2009, Feng Zhenghu, a Chinese national and scholar, was denied entry to China for eight times after his medical treatment in Japan despite holding a valid Chinese passport and having no other nationalities. On four occasions, he successfully boarded the flight bound for Shanghai but was subsequently deported by Chinese immigration authorities. Feng refused to pass immigration control in Narita Airport and remained in the pre-immigration area for three months until he received guarantee made by Chinese diplomats in Japan to allow his return. After returning to China in February 2010, he was immediately placed under house arrest.[132] The Chinese government was reported to maintain a black list which contains a list of individuals, both Chinese and foreign, that were not to enter the country.[131]

From May 2016, passport applicants in Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture of Xinjiang are required to produce their DNA sample and Voiceprint as well as three-dimensional images when applying for a passport.[133]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ India ranks third in issuing passports
  2. ^ 3800万中国公民持有普通护照 电子护照正式签发启用
  3. ^ 国务院关于出境入境管理法执行情况的报告
  4. ^ Full text of Passport Law of the People's Republic of China
  5. ^ a b Introduction of Chinese passports
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  7. ^ a b c 中国护照遭遇国际尴尬 因公护照将退出历史舞台
  8. ^ China Daily, 24 January 1997
  9. ^ 2002 National Economic and Social Development Statistics National Bureau of Statistics of the People's Republic of China 28 February 2003
  10. ^ China Weighs Passport Reform Beijing Youth Daily 2 April 2002
  11. ^ Article 10, Provisional Regulations on the Administration of the Ordinary Passport for Public Affairs
  12. ^ 中国公民在海外申办护照、旅行证件须知
  13. ^ 中国护照管理15日起执行新办法 4种情形可办加急
  14. ^ 新疆“统一”中国护照签发政策
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  17. ^ "边检扩大自助通关人员范围 10类旅客从昆明出入境5秒可通关". 昆明信息港. Retrieved 2016-09-06. 
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  108. ^ Home > Tourism Statistics > key facts on toursim > Korea, Monthly Statistics of Tourism
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  112. ^ Swaziland Tourism Statistics - Arrivals by country
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  131. ^ a b No Exit: China Uses Passports as Political Cudgel February 22, 2013 NYT
  132. ^ Yamaguchi, Mari (2 February 2016). "Man who spent 3 months in Tokyo airport to leave". Associated Press. 
  133. ^

External links[edit]