144-hour Visa-free Transit in Shanghai, Zhejiang, and Jiangsu

 China has resumed 144-hour visa-free transit policy since March 15, 2023. Passengers can take advantage of it to travel in designated cities or regions while transferring in China.

As early as 2016, Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang introduced the 144-hour visa-free transit initiatively, which targets citizens from 54 countries and regions and allows them to transit in the three places for a stay length not more than 144 hours, ie., six days.

Who can enjoy the 144-hour visa-free transit in Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang? - List of 54 Qualified Countries

 25 Schengen Agreement Countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland

 15 Other European Countries: Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia (FYROM), Albania, Belarus, Monaco

 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

Things to Know before Designing Your Visa-free Travel Plan

 No. 1: Transit Route: Country A → B: Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang → Country C
The travel from A to B and from B to C should be non-stop, without a stopover anywhere in Mainland China. Visitors applying for the 144-hour visa-free transit need to hold a ticket to a third country or region. In this context, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are considered as third regions, which is a great help for planning a transiting route. For example, if a visitor coming from the UK wants to use the visa-free transit but actually have no plan to another country after visiting Shanghai, he or she can leave for Hong Kong, and then go back home.

Shanghai, Zhejiang, Jiangsu 144-hour visa-free transit area
Areas Allowed to Stay

 No. 2: The actual allowed stay length is calculated from 00:00 after the date of your entry, therefore you can maximize your stay by taking an early flight on the date of entry and a late flight on the date of exit.

 No. 3: Some passengers may try to cancel the ticket to the third country or region after arrival and book a ticket back to the departure country instead, while this is not allowed within the visa-free policy. Don't risk doing this for you may face serious results.

Areas Allowed to Stay

Passengers eligible for the 144-hour visa-free transit can travel within Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang, all of which are in the Yangtze River Delta of China and boast mild climate and rich tourism resources. Top travel destinations include Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, and Nanjing.

How to Apply for 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit in Shanghai, Zhejiang, and Jiangsu

Prepare the required documents, including a passport valid for at least three months from the date of entry, a valid visa to the third country or region if required, and a ticket to the third country or region. Visitors had better also prepare hotel bookings in case of immigration check. Then follow the steps in the chart.

how to apply for 144-hour visa-free transit
 Good News: Passengers wishing to use 144-hour visa-free transit in Shanghai can log into the online platform (https://gaj.sh.gov.cn/crj/144zy.jsp) to make the application in advance. The system will pop up notices if you do not qualify for the visa-free transit policy, reducing the risks of being denied on the spot. After arrival, you can use the self-help machine to print the Arrival Card.


What Are the Eligible Transit Ports?

According to the rules, all ports in Shanghai, Nanjing Lukou Airport, Ningbo Lishe Airport and Hangzhou Xiaoshan Airport are the eligible ports for the 144-hour visa-free transit scheme.

Eligible Ports Contact Information
Shanghai Pudong Airport 0086-21-96990
Hongqiao Airport 0086-21-96990
Shanghai Railway Station 0086-21-12306
Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal 0086-21-66593501
Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal 0086-21-51105100
Jiangsu Nanjing Lukou Airport 0086-25-968890
Zhejiang Hangzhou Xiaoshan Airport 0086-571-96299
Ningbo Lishe Airport 0086-574-81899000

Note: Currently, train passengers can only get in / out through Shanghai Railway Station, which operates trains to and from Kowloon, Hong Kong every other day.


What Can I Do During the 144 Hours in Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang?

Taste the flavor of old and modern Shanghai

Shanghai, as an open port city, is where the east and west meet. Spending one or two days in the city, you can visit Shikumen, a unique residence style, to find the traces of old Shanghai in the narrow alleys. In Lujiazui, dense high rises present the thriving and energetic side of Shanghai. Choose one from Shanghai Tower, the World Financial Center, and the Oriental Pearl Tower to overlook the city and you will never regret. If travelling with your kids, set aside one more day for Shanghai Disneyland Park to enrich your trip.

Take a side trip to nearby cities by bullet train

During the 144-hour visa-free period, no matter you are transiting in Nanjing, Hangzhou, or Shanghai, you can include nearby cities in your itinerary by high speed train. Usually, it takes less than two hours to travel between. Different from Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang are more classical and characterized by the water towns. A side trip to water towns like Wuzhen, Xitang near Hangzhou and Tongli, Zhouzhuang near Suzhou can highlight your trip.

Enjoy night activities

Night activities in Shanghai are colorful. You can take a cruise on the Huangpu River to enjoy the night scene along the banks or wander around the Nanjing Road to experience the local life. When travelling in Suzhou, the unique story-telling ballad and Kun Opera performed in classical gardens at night are a feast for your ears.

Read More:
Layover in Shanghai: All about Stopover Ideas
How to Spend 3 to 12-Hour Layover in Shanghai
What to Do on an Overnight Layover in Shanghai: 12 to 24 Hours
Long Layover in Shanghai: How to plan 1 to 6 days in Shanghai

 Further Reading:
144-Hour Visa-Free Transit in Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei
144-Hour Visa-Free Transit in Liaoning
144-Hour Visa-Free Transit in Guangdong
Xiamen, Wuhan, Qingdao, Chengdu, Kunming, Xi'anChongqing

- Last updated on Oct. 09, 2023 by Kate Liu -
Questions & Answers on 144-hour Visa-free Transit in Shanghai, Zhejiang, and Jiangsu
Asked by Wing Man Tam from UNITED STATES | Nov. 24, 2023 14:05Reply
Cruise to Shanghai from Hong Kong
I am traveling to Shanghai on a cruise ship from Hong Kong. Staying 36 hours in Shanghai before the cruise ship traveling to Kagoshima, Japan. Do I need to buy an excursion from the cruise ship to quality for this 144 hours exemption?

Answers (1)
Answered by Borut | Nov. 26, 2023 23:59

No, you don't. Your itinerary is:

Hong Kong - Shanghai - Japan

So, your itinerary is perfectly eligible for 144 hour visa free transit and you do not need any kind of visa. Also, you are free to explore the city and also two provinces around Shanghai individually at your own pace and choice. You will be probably "informed" by your cruise company that you should book an organized tour because of their interest, but you really do not have because you are eligible for absolute visa free stay in wider Shanghai area.
Asked by SP from UNITED KINGDOM | Oct. 08, 2023 07:00Reply
Is there anyway of travelling to Chongqing without a tourist visa or would this breach the 144hr no visa policy? Thanks!
Answers (1)
Answered by Trace | Oct. 09, 2023 20:29

No, the Shanghai 144-hour visa-free transit only allows you to stay within the wider Shanghai area and you cannot travel to Chongqing with it. Chongqing has its own 144-hour visa-free transit, but you need to fly there directly from a foreign country or region.
Asked by Tim Cox from UNITED KINGDOM | Sep. 26, 2023 11:52Reply
Is the 144 hour multiple entry?
London to Shanghai, two day one night stopover, then on to Australia. Return is Melbourne to Shanghai, three day two night stopover, then back to London
Answers (1)
Answered by Nancy | Sep. 26, 2023 19:58

It is okay. There is no entry time limit as long as your itinerary meets the requirement.
Asked by Latarsha graham from UNITED KINGDOM | Sep. 25, 2023 09:55Reply
Coming back from Thailand
Coming back from Thailand with uk passport. Have a 19 hour layover does the 144 hour apply to me
Answers (1)
Answered by Borut | Sep. 26, 2023 00:46

If your entire transit time in mainland China, in your case Shanghai, is 19 hours long, you will be covered by 24 hour visa free transit and not 144 hour visa free transit. In reality, it does not change much because you will travel visa free.
Asked by mira from UNITED STATES | Sep. 08, 2023 07:02Reply
US passport holder, would the 144 hrs visa work for - us to shanghai by train to yiwu
US passport holder, would the 144 hrs free visa work for - us to shanghai then by train to yiwu
Answers (1)
Answered by John | Sep. 11, 2023 00:57

Yes, the 144-hour visa free transit is applicable in wider Shanghai area, including Yiwu.
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