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 Feb. 09, 2020 -
Questions & Answers on Shanghai 15-day Visa-free Policy for Cruise Tour Groups
Asked by Michael Rodger from AUSTRALIA | Feb. 09, 2020 02:00Reply
We are travelling to Shanghai by cruise ship and have been told we need a Visa
we will be there for 2 days and depart by the same ship. The route is Brisbane (Australia) leaving on 22 February 2020, Airlie Beach (Australia), Manila, Shanghai (arriving 5 March 2020 & leaving 6 March 2020), Hong Kong, Singapore, Port Kalang, Penang, Colombo, Dubai, Muscat, Suez Canal, Valletta, Lisbon and finishing in South Hampton. We have Australian passports. Please advise whether we need a Visa for Shanghai.
Answers (1)
Answered by Katherine from USA | Feb. 09, 2020 17:28

Well, according to the situation, you can enjoy the visa free policy.
Asked by Jorge from DENMARK | Jan. 27, 2020 13:46Reply
Coming to Shanghai by ship and leaving same dat by plane. Do I need a visa?
Answers (1)
Answered by Lena from FINLAND | Jan. 31, 2020 19:07

It depends on your travel route. Would you mind provide more details?
Asked by David Chinn from USA | Jan. 26, 2020 12:09Reply
144 hr Transit Visa
Still confused about the 144 hr free transit visa.
Arriving in Shanghai 13 June and staying overnight.
Embarking in Shanghai Cruise port for cruise to Osaka, Kobe, and Yokohama, Japan
Disembarking in Shanghai on 21 June. Cruise is finished.
Can I stay 144 hours in Shanghai without a China visa and then fly PVG-SFO-SMF on 25 June arriving Sacramento 26?
Thank you.
Answers (2)
Answered by Deanna from FINLAND | Jan. 31, 2020 19:10

Here under are the requirements for the 15 days visa free policy:
1. Join in a qualified foreign tourist group
2. Have Travel Document, like passport
3. 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.

If you meet the requirements, then the route will be ok for the visa free policy.
Answered by CDKing from USA | Feb. 02, 2020 01:36

Just make sure the fight to Shanghai doesn't travel through Japan on the way nor stop in another Chinese City then you can do the 144 hour visa free transit. The information about the 15 day visa free is a different program and that is only available when arriving and departure on same cruise
Asked by rosana from UNITED STATES | Jan. 25, 2020 13:59Reply
Transit visa arriving the airport and cruise
My husband and I from Los Angeles, are going to Shanghai from 2/10-2/13, 2020. On 2/13-2/20, we will go on cruise in port of Shanghai to Japan for 7 nights then back to Shanghai Pudong airport that night going to Manila. Do we get the 72 hrs transit visa when we arrived on 2/10. How about coming back to Shanghai after our cruise to Japan, do we still need 24 hr transit visa. Thanks for your help.
Answers (1)
Answered by Hilda from GERMANY | Jan. 31, 2020 19:13

LA - Shanghai - Japan - Shanghai - Manila
For the route, you can eligible for the 144 hours visa free policy.
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