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

 Since March 15, 2023, Shanghai 15-day visa-free policy for cruise tour groups has been resumed, which has been stopped for 3 years after the outbreak of covid-19.
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 updated on Mar. 25, 2024 by Brenda Lian -
Questions & Answers on Shanghai 15-day Visa-free Policy for Cruise Tour Groups
Asked by Miladi from UNITED STATES OF AMERICA | Mar. 22, 2024 11:24Reply
Our cruise will finish in Shanghai, we’reUs Citizen, can we stay 2 nights without China visa
Answers (1)
Answered by Lori | Mar. 25, 2024 01:56

Are you planning to go back to US after visiting Shanghai and what's the previous station of your cruise tour, if it's not other cities in Mainland China, and you have a return ticket (either flight or cruise from Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal or Wusong Passenger Transport Center) to US, then you can enjoy 144-hour visa-free transit which allows you to stay 2 nights in Shanghai. The 15-day visa-free policy for cruise tour groups doesn't work for you.
Asked by Marie from PHILIPPINES | Mar. 21, 2024 23:01Reply
Filipino Citizen joining 4days cruise ship in Shanghai
Hi---- family of 5 Filipino citizen joining the 4day cruise ship in Shanghai. Cruise itinerary is Shanghai-Jeju-Nagasaki-Shanghai. We will fly from Philippines, join the cruise in Shanghai. Then disembark in Shanghai. Then fly back to the Philippines after the cruise. Do we need a visa?
Answers (1)
Answered by Marcy | Mar. 24, 2024 23:47

Let me tell you the conclusion first: You may finish your trip smoothly.
The policy requires tourist groups to enter Shanghai by cruise ship and exit from China by the same cruise ship, that is, you need to take a cruise to Shanghai to enjoy the policy. So you are not eligible.
But, since you can enjoy 24-hour visa-free transit, if your cruise ship will leave Shanghai for Jeju within 24 hours upon your flight arrival, you can finish your cruise tour smoothly, and after disembarking in Shanghai, you can enjoy another 24-hour visa-free transit holding a return flight ticket to take a flight back to Philippines within 24 hours.

So, you need to make sure that you can board the ship and leave Shanghai within 24 hours upon flight arrival and buy the ticket from Shanghai to Philippines.
Asked by Lucy from USA | Mar. 06, 2024 01:23Reply
on a cruise. do i need a visa
USA citizen, cruise will start in Japan, the ship will stop in Shanghai for 2 days. we would like to spend a night in Shanghai, returning to the ship before it leaves. our cruise ends in the Philippines. do i need a visa? we are not on a tour we will just explore on our own and book our own hotel.
Answers (1)
Answered by Hailey | Mar. 06, 2024 19:52

If your cruise only stop in Shanghai for 2 days without any other stop in mainland China and its next destination is not Japan, then you are eligible for the 144-hour visa-free transit.
Asked by Tuong from VIETNAM | Feb. 27, 2024 02:54Reply
Vietnamese nationality visa requirement for cruises ex-Shanghai
Vietnamese nationality flying from Vietnam to Shanghai to embark Spectrum of the Seas 5 day sailing to Japan and back to Shanghai for flight home to Vietnam. Is 15-day visa free policy applied? What documents are required to show immigration from both Vietnam and China sides? thanks
Answers (3)
Answered by Jessica | Feb. 27, 2024 22:16

I'm afraid you are not eligible for the 15 days visa-free policy for cruise tour groups. If you stop less than 24 hours, you are eligible for the visa-free transit. If you stay more hours, then you should apply for a transit visa in advance.
Answered by Tuong | Feb. 28, 2024 16:58

So if we fly in Shanghai and get on the cruise within 24 hour, back to Shanghai port and fly out within 24-hour, that should be eligible for 24-hour transit visa both ways for Vietnamese passport? do we need to book services like airport transfer, day tour through reputable company like you to be eligible? Thanks
Answered by Jessica | Feb. 28, 2024 18:14

Yes, your understanding is completely right, by this way, you don't need to book any tour through travel agencies.
Asked by Lucy holt from UNITED KINGDOM | Feb. 18, 2024 14:16Reply
Back to back cruise from shanghai
Hi. We fly in from the uk to Shanghai and have 48hrs there before emabarking on cruise to Japan mainland, we then come back to Shanghai for a day before heading back out to a different part of Japan on the same boat and then back to Shanghai to fly out back to uk. Am I correct thinking we can get the 144hr visa free transit at both ends of cruise and then the 15 day visa free policy for cruises for the day back in Shanghai in the middle as long as we use a reputable tour company to do a land tour? Many thanks
Answers (1)
Answered by Olivia | Feb. 18, 2024 18:41

Yes, you understand the policies perfectly right. Just one thing to know: if your stay in Shanghai at the two ends of the cruise is shorter than 24 hours, you will be given 24-hour visa free transit instead of 144-hour. Have fun~
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