Shanghai 15-day Visa-free Policy for Cruise Tour Groups

The Shanghai 15-day visa-free policy enables cruise tour groups from all over the world to visit Shanghai and other Chinese coastal provinces for up to 15 days. Tourist groups should enter Shanghai by cruise ship and exit from China by the same cruise ship. The local Chinese travel agency receiving the tourists will handle the official paperwork upon their arrival.


 A qualified foreign tourist group must contain at least two members and will be received by a legitimate Chinese travel agency like TravelChinaGuide at the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal or the Wusong Passenger Transport Center. The local Chinese travel agency should have legally registered in mainland China.

 Tourists should book a tour with the local Chinese travel agency at least 5 days before their arrival.
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 Upon arrival, passengers just need to show travel document, usually a passport, at the immigration counter to disembark from the ship. Neither an Entry Card nor an Exit Card is needed. No entry or exit record will be stamped on the travel document.

 The total time that the applicant spends in China shall not exceed 15 days, the 15-day limit counting from the following day after their arrival. 

Areas Allowed

Aliens eligible for this policy are not only allowed to stay in Shanghai. They can also travel to Beijing and other coastal provinces with the ship, including Liaoning, Hebei, Tianjin, Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan. For example, if a French citizen enters Shanghai with a cruise and he has booked a tour from TravelChinaGuide, then he visits Dalian, Beijing, Weihai, Guangzhou, and Japan along with the ship, and his total layover time in China is less than 15 days, he will qualify for the 15 days visa-free policy. Therefore, there is no need for him to apply for a visa for China.

FAQ about Shanghai 15 Days Visa-Free Policy for Cruise Tour Groups

 1. If I enter Shanghai by cruise but don’t leave with the cruise, can I still use this policy?
 Sorry, if you want to use the 15-day visa-free policy, you must leave by the same cruise. You can check whether the 24-hour direct transit or 144-hour visa-free transit is applicable to you. See more about 24-Hour Direct Transit and 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit.

 2. What should I do if my stay is longer than 15 days due to circumstances beyond my control?
 If you have to stay for more than 15 days, you need to take relevant proof and a letter from the travel agency to the local exit and entry administration to apply for a normal visa.

 3. Must I return to the ship to spend the night or can I stay in a downtown hotel?
 Either is fine. When you register at the hotel, your passport and a tour member name list stamped with entry record are required.

 4. Who should I contact if I want to learn more about this policy?
 You can contact Shanghai General Station of Immigration Inspection at 086-021-31366000 or Pujiang Immigration Inspection at 086-021-31366700.
- Last modified on Dec. 30, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on Shanghai 15-day Visa-free Policy for Cruise Tour Groups
Asked by Anna from CANADA | Jan. 18, 2020 22:13Reply
We are Canadians, flying from Vancouver with a layover/change plane in Hong Kong
Then arriving in Shanghai May 20 and stay there for 5 days and go on a cruise to Japan on May 24 and disembark (coming from Japan) on May 31 and fly out of Shanghai in the evening. Do we need to apply for China visa or is the 144 hour visa free transit applicable to us?
Answers (1)
Answered by Mona from USA | Jan. 19, 2020 18:39

You are eligible for 144 hour visa free transit.
Asked by Shreyan from UNITED KINGDOM | Jan. 15, 2020 06:02Reply
China Cruise - Do we need a Visa?

We are British Citizens holding British passports. Our cruise starts in Hong Kong, goes to Shanghai, then Beijing (Tianjin), Dalian and then on to Japan where it finishes in Tokyo.

The Shanghai part is overnight onboard the cruise and we are in China for four days in total. Do we need a visa?

Answers (2)
Answered by Ann from POLAND | Jan. 15, 2020 22:52

Do you join in the travel agency? If not, you are not eligible for the visa free policy.
Answered by ZUPAN | Jan. 17, 2020 09:40

You should definitely take a tour in Shanghai, preferably through Travel China Guide and you will be able to travel through the following Chinese ports visa free by relying on 15 day visa free policy.
Asked by Clay Pasley from AUSTRALIA | Jan. 14, 2020 17:50Reply
Helllo we are Australians on a cruise we arrive in Shanghai for a two day visit
then sail to Tianjin for three days then finally a one day visit to Dalian before heading off to Japan (the ship originally starts in Hong Kong).
Is the 15 day visa applicable? Do we need to have tours booked in the three ports (with the same agency?) to be able to disembark at all ports?
The consulate is only offereing single entry "L" visas now but the issue being that returning to the ship after the first day out would constitute the visit thereby making the valid useless for the rest if the visit. The consulate cannot answer this question, the reply being it depends on the immigration officer.
Answers (2)
Answered by Anna from CANADA | Jan. 15, 2020 22:53

Yes, you need to have tours booked in the three ports with the same agency.
Answered by ZUPAN | Jan. 17, 2020 09:38

Actually, it is enough to book a tour only in Shanghai. You are advised to rely on Travel China Guide for this tour in Shanghai.
Asked by Jay forshaw from UK | Jan. 13, 2020 10:06Reply
from U.K.Change of plane in Abu Dhabi Then to Shanghai 14feb and cruise on 15th to end in Dubai
We fly into pudong airport on 14 feb and spend the night on board the cruise ship in the cruise port and have the next day to explore SH before the ship leaves at 1700 hrs the next port is Okinawa then Hong Kong and on to Dubai with ports in I need the 72 or 144 hr permit on arrival at pudong
Answers (1)
Answered by Ada from CANADA | Jan. 15, 2020 17:09

You are eligible for 144 hour visa free transit.
Asked by Charlotte from UK | Jan. 09, 2020 06:59Reply
UK to Shanghai - Japan - Shanghai - Uk!
Hi all please can you help with our visa requirements? We are arriving in Shanghai early AM, staying in the city for one night and then cruising the next day for seven nights in Japan. Returning to Shanghai for another three nights then back to UK!? Thank you.
Answers (1)
Answered by Chris from CANADA | Jan. 09, 2020 19:24

You don't need to apply for visa. You are eligible for 144 hour visa free transit.
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