Foreign or Chinese passengers who transit at a mainland airport for less than 24 hours on their way to another country will not need to fill in entry and exit forms from next month.
In addition, Chinese passengers need no longer fill in exit forms when they leave the country, the Ministry of Public Security announced yesterday.
The moves aim to simplify immigration procedures in line with international practice and improve efficiency, Zhu Jiqing, deputy director of the ministry's exit and entry administration bureau, told a press briefing.
Current regulations require transit passengers to fill in at least two forms, one for entry registration and the other for exit.
Outbound Chinese passengers have to fill in a Customs declaration form in addition to the exit document.
The procedures have led to growing public complaints as passenger flows increase rapidly.
Ministry figures show that a cumulative 224 million people crossed the border in the first eight months of this year, up 8 percent over the corresponding period last year.
A record 318 million people crossed the border last year, 56 times the figure in 1978. The total number of vehicles, ships and aircraft crossing the border reached 21 million last year, 64 times more than in 1978.
"The rapid increase of passenger traffic poses challenges to our work, and more will come next year for the Beijing Olympics," Zhu said.
She also listed a host of initiatives to improve service.
Stamp documents of outbound Chinese passengers within 40 seconds of reaching the entry-exit window.
Offer a guidebook for entering seamen to facilitate their stay in the country.
Open more windows during peak periods or when there are a large number of passengers.
Set up priority channels for those who are late for flights or need emergency medical care.
Develop a system under which passengers evaluate the performance of border officers.
Open a 24-hour hotline.
"I believe the border service will be raised to a new level," Zhu said.
She reiterated that the ministry will frame policies to shorten entry time for passengers arriving for the 2008 Olympics.