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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


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

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

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 May. 07, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on 72-Hour Visa-Free Transit
Asked by Sharon from USA | Jun. 26, 2019 12:04Reply
Travel Manila - Beijing - USA (home country) 144hours Visa-free
My husband and I are planning to fly from Manila to Beijing (PEK) on October 10, then home to USA October 15.
Does this itinerary qualify for 144 hours Visa-free transit program?
Asked by Sumaya alexis Ramirez from UNITED STATES | Jun. 26, 2019 09:30Reply
Dominican Republic Passport transit thru WUH airport for 8 hours to Thailand
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Jun. 26, 2019 09:58

The citizens of Dominican Republic are eligible for 24 hours visa free transit in China if their entire transit time is less than 24 hours long. So, in your case, if Wuhan is your only stop in China and if your entire transit time is just 8 hours, you are definitely qualified for 24 hours visa free transit. Keep in mind that you will have to present your visa for Thailand.
Asked by mike johnson from UNITED STATES | Jun. 26, 2019 08:12Reply
Traveling to Bali with stop in Guanzhong
Hi my wife (Iranian citizen with American Green Card) and I (American citizen) are going to Bali with 23 hrs stop in Guanzhong. I think we both qualify for 24hr free visa. But can we take the train to Hong Kong for a short visit and come back to Guanzhong to continue our travel to Bali before 24 hrs runs out?
What happens if there is a train delay and we can't make it back within 24 hours?
Answers (2)
Answered by Thomas | Jun. 26, 2019 09:29

Guanzhong is an region in Shaanxi province. far away from HK.

Answered by ZUPAN | Jun. 26, 2019 10:09

Thomas, I'm more than confident that Mike was thinking about Guangzhou in Guangdong province :)

Mike, you and your wife are qualified for 24 hours visa free transit in Guangzhou, i.e. you don't need any kind of visa. Anyway, you are not allowed to make a visit to Hong Kong. Simply speaking you could theoretically travel to Hong Kong by train, but you would be required to return by plane. Also, your wife as an Iranian citizen would be required to obtain Hong Kong visa in advance. Also, in this case, your itinerary would be:

US - Guangzhou - Hong Kong
Hong Kong - Guangzhou - Bangkok

You would have to present your itinerary in the above mentioned way. So, if you only have allowed more time and also obtained a Hong Kong visa for your wife, you would have been able to perform something like this, but not in actual circumstances.
Asked by Robin from AUSTRALIA | Jun. 26, 2019 03:21Reply
We are from the Netherlands and Peru and are in transit in Ganghzou 1 day from 8am to 9pm. Does Peru nationality not offer the free visa to explore the city during the day?
Answers (1)
Answered by CDKing from USA | Jun. 26, 2019 04:11

No free visa but if you are in transit to third country under 24 you can travel without a visa. Peru can get the 24 hour but not the 72/144
Asked by Michelle from TAIWAN | Jun. 26, 2019 02:01Reply
Taipei - Beijing - Montreal
Hi! We are a two people with Swedish and Canadian passport. We are going to fly from Taipei, have a stopover in Beijing for approximately 24 hours, and then continue our flight to Montreal. Do you think we will be eligible to be visa-free?

Thanks for you help!
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Jun. 26, 2019 02:47

You are definitely eligible for visa free transit. Now, you have to know whether your stopover in Beijing is shorter or longer than 24 hours because if it's shorter, then you will travel covered by 24 hours visa free transit and in case that a stopover is longer for just one minute than 24 hours, you will be covered by 144 hours visa free transit. This is also important because 24 hours allows more than one stop within mainland China and 144 hours just one.
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