Home / Embassy / Visa /

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

Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Harbin, Xian, Guilin, Kunming, Wuhan, Xiamen, Qingdao, Changsha

Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Shenyang, Dalian, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Shijiazhuang, Qinhuangdao - Extended to 144-hour Visa-free Transit
 

Areas Allowed to Stay

 Cities only with the 72-hour free entry policy:

Passengers transiting in Guangzhou, Chengdu, Qingdao, or Changsha are allowed to travel in the whole province.

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

Passengers transiting in Xian Xianyang Airport are permitted to travel in Xian 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 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.
 

Recommended Tours for Transit Passengers in Different Cities

 
Tiananmen SquareBeijing Layover Tours

To Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Great Wall…

Terrocotta WarriorsXian 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 Shanghai, Zhejiang, and Jiangsu, where the 144-hour visa-free transit has been implemented. For instance, if a flight lands in Xian 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 Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu, where they can enter or leave from any port in Shanghai, Nanjing Lukou Airport, or Hangzhou Xiaoshan Airport.

Documents for Application

 Passport valid for at least 3 months from the date of entry
 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 Oct. 21, 2018 -
Questions & Answers on 72-Hour Visa-Free Transit
Asked by Antony Cameron from AU | Oct. 21, 2018 00:18Reply
What visa do I need to board and dissembark a cruise ship in Shanghai?
Hi,
I am flying from Australia to Shanghai to join a 5 day cruise to Japan. I would like to spend two days in Shanghai before the cruise and three days in Shanghai after the cruise before flying back to Australia.

Can I do this on a transit visa or do I need a tourist visa?
Thanks for your help.
Asked by Alex from FRANCE | Oct. 20, 2018 23:04Reply
Hong Kong -> Shanghai -> Hong Kong
Iam currently visiting a friend in hong kong and i want to jump to Shanghai for a weekend.
Will I be allowed into Shanghai if I'm coming from Hong Kong and then returning to Hong Kong?
Thank you!
Answers (1)
Answered by Thomas | Oct. 20, 2018 23:29
00Reply


If you have a visa then you're fine to do HK - SHA - HK.

The 144h twov doesn't work for you as it's not a transit.
But to be eligible for the 144h twov you can fly Macau - Sha - HK or HK - SHA - Macau.
Asked by Greg from USA | Oct. 20, 2018 20:20Reply
How long can I stay in Beijing without a visa?
I’m coming from USA to Beijing to Hk. How long can I stay in Beijing? 72hrs or 144hrs?
Answers (1)
Answered by Thomas | Oct. 20, 2018 23:29
00Reply


144 hours.
Asked by Janice Lim from MALAYSIA | Oct. 20, 2018 18:52Reply
singapore - guangzhou - japan (roundtrip)
Hi,

I am Malaysian would like to travel from Singapore to Japan. I have a transit in Guangzhou about 6 hours, do I need to apply for a visa?
If yes, what Visa should I apply and where to apply ?
Asked by SUN from USA | Oct. 20, 2018 11:28Reply
JFK->Korea->Qingdao(China)->Korea->JFK
Do I need VISA for traveling to Qingdao?
Answers (1)
Answered by Vincent | Oct. 20, 2018 14:13
00Reply


Depends on your nationality, but it obviously doesn't qualify for visa-free transit.
Ask a Question
Question Summary (100 characters)
Details (optional) (2,000 characters)
 
media recommendationfeatured on media