A visa facilitation system “Diamond Program” was introduced by the Consulate General of Belgium in Guangzhou on June 2, aiming at simplifying the visa application procedures for a selected group of Chinese companies with a specific economic interest in Belgium.
Mr. Joris Salden, Consul General of Belgium in Guangzhou, said that the visas will in principle be delivered within 48 hours (2 working days) if received by the visa application center before 14:00hrs.
The system was launched in 2007 since the creation of the Belgian Consulate in Guangzhou. It is characterized by easier direct contact, a reduced list of documents, reduced application times and easier granting of long term multiple entry visas.
All visa applications have to be introduced at the Diamond Program special counter at VFS Visa Application Centers. As far as South China is concerned, VFS is located in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Fuzhou and Kunming.
Application documents include ① Valid passport and photocopy of the passport, ②One visa application form, ③Two recent passport photos, ④ Scanned invitation letter from Belgium⑤ Original dispatch letter from China ⑥ Travel insurance policy ⑦ Ticket booking, and ⑧ Service Fee.
And the following documents are no longer required, including ① Documents indicating the financial status of the company in China, ② Business license of the company, ③ Applicant’s last 3 pay slips (‘proof of solvency’), and ④ Hotel reservation and return ticket.
According to Mr. Joris Salden, it’s essential that every applicant presents itself to the VFS Visa Application Center, because the system requires Biometry. The biometrical data will remain in the Consulate’s database for 5 years making following application a lot faster.
Since the inception of this visa facilitation system, 1958 applications from 13 companies in Guangzhou have used this service (latest update: April 2017), according to the Belgian Consulate. The companies labelled as “Diamond Program” will automatically benefit from the same treatment in the other Belgian Consulates in China when applying for visas (Shanghai, Beijing).
Mr. Joris Salden expressed that, the “Diamond Program” is a win-win project for Chinese enterprises and the Consulate. He hopes more and more Chinese enterprises participate in this program to reduce cost since the economic and trade exchanges between China and Belgium have been increasing recently.