[top - A customs officer speaks to a foreign visitor at Beijing airport on Tuesday.]
Simplified visa and driving license application procedures are set to make life easier for foreign visitors to Beijing.
The improvements are part of a package of 24 administrative measures introduced Thursday by the municipal public security bureau.
From now on, certain foreigners will be able to use a "green channel" to apply for visas, which will cut the processing time from five working days to three.
To qualify for the speedy service applicants must hold relevant certification proving he or she is entering Beijing to: attend a meeting, execute a contract, test first aid equipment, carry out engineering maintenance; visit a seriously ill patient or arrange a funeral.
The elderly, children, the sick, pregnant women and disabled people can apply for the emergency visa.
Meanwhile, the bureau will handle visa and residence permit formalities at a given time and place for foreign employees of major foreign-funded firms in the Zhongguancun science and technology park, the central business district and the Beijing economic-technological development area.
"As Beijing tries to become an international metropolis, more and more of our overseas friends are going to come here," Liu Shaowu, deputy director-general of the bureau told China Daily yesterday.
"So police in the capital have to offer a better class of service," he said.
Gao Huada, vice-director of the exit-entry administration, said: "We brought in the new measures based on our experience during the Beijing Olympics.
"In the future, we will improve our efficiency to provide a better service for foreign guests."
Also from today, foreigners who visit Beijing for no more than three months can apply for a local driving license on the first floor of terminal 3 at the Beijing Capital International Airport.
-- China Daily/ Asia News Network