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72-Hour Visa-Free Transit in China

Visa Free Transit Service
Transit Service Counter
in Beijing Capital Airport

The 72-hour visa-free transit policy in China allows air passengers from 53 countries to transit and stay for up to 72 hours (3 days) in 18 China cities without a visa. In order to facilitate international visitors' short stay in China, the policy is promising to be carried out in more and more cities in the future.
 

Qualified Countries

24 Schengen Agreement Countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, 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
 

Cities Enjoying the Policy

Chongqing, Harbin, Xi'an, Guilin, Changsha

Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Shenyang, Dalian, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Shijiazhuang, Qinhuangdao, Chengdu, Wuhan, Xiamen, Qingdao, Kunming, the whole Guangdong Province - Extended to 144-hour Visa-free Transit
 

Areas Allowed to Stay

 Cities only with the 72-hour free entry policy:

Passengers transiting in Changsha are allowed to travel in the whole province.

Passengers transiting in Chongqing, Harbin, or Guilin cannot leave the transit city.

Passengers transiting in Xi'an Xianyang Airport are permitted to travel in Xi'an and Xianyang.


 Cities where the 72 hours scheme has been extended to 144-hour transit without visa (TWOV):

Passengers transiting in Shanghai, Zhejiang, or Jiangsu can move around the three places. With the implementation of the 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit Policy, they can actually stay for as long as 144 hours.

Passengers transiting in Guangdong can travel around the whole province.

Passengers transiting in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei can also move around the three places freely for 144 hours.

Passengers stopping over in Dalian or Shenyang can travel in the whole of Liaoning Province.

Passengers transiting in Chengdu, Kunming, Wuhan or Xiamen cannot leave the transit city.

Passengers transiting in Qingdao are allowed to move freely within the whole Shandong Province for 144 hours. 
 

Recommended Tours for Transit Passengers in Different Cities

 
Tiananmen SquareBeijing Layover Tours

To Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Great Wall…

Terrocotta WarriorsXi'an One-Day Tours

To Terracotta Warriors, City Wall, Small Wild Googe Pagoda...

Li River CruiseEssence of Guilin & Li River

3 days private tour to Guilin, Longsheng and Yangshuo

Conditions for Application

1. The confirmed seat onward ticket and valid visa to a third country or region (if required) are needed for entry. Based on the latest information, the 72 hours starts from 00:00 the day following the entry date in almost all the airports, except Beijing Airport. For example, if an air passenger arrives in Guangzhou at 08:00 on June 2nd, then the latest time for him to leave is 23:59 on June 5. In this case, the actual stopover time is more than 72 hours. However, in Beijing, the 72 hours count from the scheduled arrival time of the flight. To play on the safe side, passengers are recommended to be more conservative and not to exceed the "strict 72 hours" which counts from the flights' scheduled arrival time to the departure time.

2. The flights can only stop in one Chinese city, meaning passengers have to enter and exit from the same city, except in cities where the 144-hour visa-free transit has been implemented. For instance, if a flight lands in Xi'an via Beijing, passengers are not able to enjoy the policy. In addition, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are regarded as a third region in terms of transit issues. If a flight passes USA – Beijing – Hong Kong/Macau/Taiwan, passengers are able to enjoy.

3. Only use flights to transfer in China. Passengers using other vehicles (including using flight for single trip) are not eligible to enjoy the policy.

4. Passengers are required to leave from the same airport that they arrive, except in some of the cities with 144-hour visa-free transit scheme where they may enter or leave from land or sea ports.
 

Documents for Application

 Passport valid for at least 3 months from the date of entry. Actually there are cases that some passengers are denied at the immigration counter because the remaining validity of their passport is not more than 6 months, so it's better to keep your passport valid for at least 6 months to play safe.
 Visa for a third country or region (if applicable)
 A full completed Arrival/Departure Card (including name, nationality, passport no., visa no. & issuance place, flight no., purpose of visit, date of birth, gender)
 An onward ticket with confirmed seat are needed

Procedure

Inform the airlines when boarding – Fill an Arrival/Departure Card on the flight - Apply the 72-hour permit – Claim the luggage – Go through the custom - Leave airport

 Tips:
Visa Free Direction Board
Direction Boards for 72-hour Special Counter

1. It is necessary to inform the airline at check-in, so that they can declare your request to the airport custom before landing. Passengers transiting via Beijing Capital International Airport can apply for this free transit permit after arrival.

2. There is a special counter/lane for the 72-hour free transit at the immigration, so passengers can go there directly by following the signs. For example, the immigration channels 2 to 4 are for 72-hour TWOV passengers in Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport.

3. After the request to enjoy the 72-hour China TWOV is approved, the officer will stamp a stay permit on your passport. The duration of stay is written on the passport. Remember to tell the officer that one wants to use the 72-hour free transit if he/she already has a valid visa for China.

4. After leaving the airport, remember to register at local police station within 24 hours of arrival if one wants to stay over 24 hours. Those who live with family or friends need to go to register in person at the police station with relatives or friends. Those who live in hotels do not need to go, because the hotels will do it for the guests.

5. If visitors are unable to depart on time due to unavoidable reasons, such as flight cancellation or treatment of sudden disease, they need to apply for a visa from Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB). Otherwise, tourists cannot apply for an extension of stay.
 

Difference between 72-Hour Visa-Free Transit and 24-Hour Visa-Free Transit

Direct Transit within 24 hours is available for any nationality passenger and it is applicable to any vehicle, while the 72-hour Free Transit is only possible for passengers from designated countries and requires to transit in the airport.

Two pictures are helpful to make you clear.

24-Hour Direct Transit 72-Hour Free Transit

Other Services for Free Transit

There are service centers for transit passengers in the terminals, offering rest places with drinking water and reading materials if they do not want to leave the airport. For visa-free transit passengers, the airports also provide services for currency exchange, mobile phone rental, car rental, left luggage, as well as local souvenir shops. Tour buses are available from the terminals for the convenience of tourists.

 Read FAQ about 72-hour Visa-free Transit

 Note:
In case that 1) you can't provide any of the required documents listed above, 2) or your flight route does not qualify, 3) or you have the record of overstaying in a country or getting visa refusal before, your application for the 72-hour visa-free transit permit may be refused. For fear of troubles caused by such cases, please make sure that you are eligible or apply for a regular transit visa in advance. 

- Last modified on Nov. 06, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on 72-Hour Visa-Free Transit
Asked by Evelyn from USA | Nov. 19, 2019 10:36Reply
Would Visa be required for 4 hour layover, and then a 24hour layover in shangahai?
Hello,

Thank you for the information you have provided.
I am trying to understand what my trip would require?

I am flying to Taiwan from USA, and have a 4 hour layover in shanghai.
On the way back to USA from Taiwan, I will have a 24 hour layover in shanghai. (will leave the airport during this layover but stay within the city)

Do these required Visas?

Thank you very much.
Asked by norm from UK | Nov. 19, 2019 08:40Reply
Is this trip valid for 144hr tranist visa
Uk to Bangkok in transit with immediate same day flight connection to Beijing. Next destination after Beijing is back to BKK. Thanks
Answers (1)
Answered by CDKING from US | Nov. 19, 2019 08:56
00Reply


You will need a tourist (L) visa. Even though you only transferred in bangkok airport its viewed no differently than had you stayed all week. This is considered Thailand > China > Thailand which is not a transit
Asked by Latasha from USA | Nov. 19, 2019 06:25Reply
Dubai-Shanghai-South Korea-Shanghai-Dubai
Hello,
I’m leaving from Dubai and want to stay in shanghai for a few days then go to South Korea. From South Korea we will be returning to Dubai but will have a connecting flight in Shanghai. Is this itinerary eligible for the visa free entry?
Answers (1)
Answered by Saul | Nov. 19, 2019 09:09
00Reply


Yes, if your nationality qualifies.
Asked by Buyung from CANADA | Nov. 18, 2019 13:50Reply
Does Xiamen International Airport requires visa for transit flight from Vancouver to Singapo
If I fly from Vancouver to Singapore (and vice versa) via Xiamen International Airport (by Xiamen Airlines), do I need visa for the transit? Thank you.
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Nov. 18, 2019 14:34
00Reply


If the itinerary is, precisely:

Vancouver - Xiamen - Singapore

This itinerary is definitely eligible for visa free transit. It is eligible for both, 24 and 144 hour visa free transit in relation to the length of your layover. Of course, if your layover is longer than 24 hours, you will be eligible for 144 hour visa free transit, but your citizenship has to be among 53 eligible countries for this particular visa free transit scheme.

Please, have in mind that Malaysian citizens are not eligible for any kind of visa free transit scheme in China at the time being.
Asked by jansen from HOLLAND | Nov. 18, 2019 12:42Reply
Is the 24 hours visa free entry also valid for Shanghai Pudong airport?
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Nov. 18, 2019 14:30
00Reply


Actually, this is a temporary entry permit that you will apply for at Shanghai airport when flying on 24 hour visa free transit. It is available at Shanghai Pudong, but your layover is supposed to be 8 hours or longer than that and if your layover is during the night hours you are definitely encouraged to book your accommodation in advance and to have an accommodation booking confirmation printout with you.
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