In order to facilitate the international visitors’ short stay in China, 72-Hour Visa Free Transit policy is carried out in more and more cities. At present, eleven cities adopt this policy. This policy allows transit passengers with passport of 51 countries to stay for up to 72 hours without a visa on direct transit.
Cities Enjoying the Policy
Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Shenyang, Dalian, Xian, Guilin, Kunming and Hangzhou
24 Schengen Agreement Countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Demark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
13 Other European Countries: Russia, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia (FYROM), Albania
6 American Countries: the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile
2 Oceania Countries: Australia, New Zealand
6 Asian Countries: Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Qatar
Conditions for Application
1. The confirmed seat onward ticket and valid visa to a third country or region (if required) are needed for entry. Based on the latest information, the 72 hours starts from 00:00 the day following the entry date in all the airports except Beijing. The 72 hours are counted from the flights’ schedule arrival time to the departure time in Beijing Capital International Airport.
2. The flights to and from any of the eleven cities should not stop beforehand in any other Chinese cities. Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are regarded as a third region. For instance, if a flight lands in Xian via Beijing, passengers are not able to enjoy the policy. If a flight passes USA – Beijing – Hong Kong/Macau/Taiwan, passengers are able to enjoy.
3. Only use flights to transfer in China. Passengers using other vehicles (including using flight for single trip) are not eligible to enjoy the policy.
4. Passengers are required to leave from the same airport that they arrive, except in Shanghai. In Shanghai, they are allowed to land in one airport and depart from the other.
Documents for Application
Visa for a third country or region
A full completed Arrival/Departure Card (including name, nationality, passport no., visa no. & insurance place, flight no., purpose of visit, date of birth, gender)
An onward ticket with confirmed seat are needed
Inform the airlines when boarding – Fill an Arrival/Departure Card on the flight - Apply the 72-hour permit – Claim the luggage – Go through the custom - Leave airport
1. It is necessary to inform the airline at check-in, so that they can declare your request to the airport custom before landing. Passengers transiting via Beijing Capital International Airport can apply for this free transit permit after arrival.
2. There is a special counter/lane for the 72-hour free transit at the immigration, so passengers can go walk there directly by following the signs. For example, the immigration channels 2 to 4 are for 72-hour free transit passengers in Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport.
3. After the request to enjoy the 72-hour free transit is approved, the officer will stamp a stay permit on your passport. The duration of stay is written on the passport. Remember to tell the officer that one wants to use the 72-hour free transit if he/she already has a valid visa for China.
4. After leaving the airport, remember to register at local police station within 24 hours of arrival if one wants to stay over 24 hours. Those who live with family or friends need to go to register in person at the police station with relatives or friends. Those who live in hotels do not need to go, because the hotels will do it for the guests.
5. Passengers are not allowed to leave the transit city during the 72 hours, except Guangzhou and Hangzhou. They can leave for other places in Guangdong province when transiting in Guangzhou and in Zhejiang province when transiting in Hangzhou.
6. If visitors are unable to depart on time due to unavoidable reasons, such as flight cancellation or treatment of sudden disease, they need to apply for a visa from Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB). Otherwise, tourists cannot apply for an extension of stay.
Difference between 72-hour Free Transit and Direct Transit
Direct Transit within 24 hours is available for any nationality passenger and it is applicable to any vehicle, while the 72-hour Free Transit is only possible for passengers from 51 countries and requires to transit in the airport.
Two pictures are helpful to make you clear.
Other Services for Free Transit
There are service centers for transit passengers in the terminals, offering rest places with drinking water and reading materials if they do not want to leave the airport. For visa-free transit passengers, the airports also provide services for currency exchange, mobile phone rental, car rental, left luggage, as well as local souvenir shops. Tour buses are available from the terminals for the convenience of tourists.
Read FAQ about 72-hour Visa-free Transit
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