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 24 hours 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 Mar. 06, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on Shanghai 15-day Visa-free Policy for Cruise Tour Groups
Asked by Daniel Callahan from UNITED STATES | Mar. 07, 2019 03:46Reply
We are USA citizens, fly from Vietnam to Shanghai 24 hrs prior to 8 days to japan on a cruise ship
And will leave 72 hrs after the cruise from SH back to USA. total of our time from the arrival at SH airport to the day that we leave SH Airport will be more then 144hrs. will we need china visa. thx
Answers (1)
Answered by Paul from USA | Mar. 07, 2019 11:24

You can stop in SH for 144 hours before the cruise to japan. You get another 144 on the way back from Japan. This is assuming your flights don't go through the same countries that your cruise goes through.
Asked by Tim Callahan from UNITED STATES | Mar. 07, 2019 03:35Reply
We are us citizens, flight into Shanghai 24 hrs prior to 8 days cruise to japan,and will fly back
To usa 72 hrs after the cruise, do we need visa.thx
Answers (1)
Answered by Addington from GERMANY | Mar. 08, 2019 00:20

No, you don't need a visa.
Asked by J morley from USA | Mar. 06, 2019 10:02Reply
Does the Shanghai 15 day cruise visa waver apply to us?
Arriving in SH by air from Japan, going on an 8 day cruise, returning to SH and flying back to USA
Answers (1)
Answered by Paul from USA | Mar. 06, 2019 16:54

No, the 15 day visa free is only when you enter SH by boat and join a group tour and then leave China by the same boat. If you fly from Japan, the next port cannot also be Japan. You would have to Enter China from another country on a non-stop flight for example LAX > SH on American Airlines or for example enter SH through Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific
Asked by Mike from CANADA | Feb. 27, 2019 13:25Reply
Hi, We are flying from Canada to Shanghai. We stay in shanghai for 1 day
And then go on a cruise to Japan for 5 days, then we come back to Shanghai for 1 day and fly back to Canada. Do we still need a Visa? Thanks.
Answers (2)
Answered by Ava from NEW ZEALAND | Feb. 27, 2019 19:39

No, you don't need visa. You can enjoy the 144 hours visa free policy.
Answered by Paul from USA | Feb. 28, 2019 12:18

Make sure your flight from Shanghai to Canada does not go through an airport in japan if that is the country you will be entering China from.
Asked by david from SPAIN | Feb. 22, 2019 15:31Reply
cruise ship on March
Hi we (3 persons) are travelling on a cruise ship for one month the 3rd of march. the first part of the journey is arriving from london to shanghai, staying 2 day in a hotel and board on the ship where the next (or first) stop is japan. i will ask the 144h free visa.
2 weeks after we are coming back to china with the cruise; Hongkong, shanghai, qingdao and taijin, then continue to Japan to end the trip.
Can i enjoy a 15 day visa free if we book a excursion in the 2nd time in shanghai?? If yes where can i book a cheap excursion? thank you
Answers (2)
Answered by Isla from CANADA | Feb. 27, 2019 01:21

For the route London-Shanghai-Japan, yes, you are eligible for the 144hrs visa free policy. In addition, if you leave by the same cruise, you can enjoy the 15 days visa free policy.
Answered by David from SPAIN | Feb. 28, 2019 02:08

Thank you very much! We will try to find a travel agency in Shanghai.
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