China 24-Hour Visa-Free Transit
24-hour visa-free transit in China, also called the 24-hour transit without visa (24-hour TWOV for short), regulates that visa is not required for air, train, and ship passengers transiting in mainland China for a stay of no more than 24 hours before heading for a third country or region.
Who are eligible for the 24-hour TWOV of China?
National of most countries are eligible for the 24-hour visa-free transit, while there are exceptions in certain airports for some nationalities.
1. Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Yemen passport holders transiting in Xiamen require a visa.
2. Syrian citizens transiting in Guangzhou are not eligible for the 24-hour visa-free transit.
What are the port restrictions?
Though a majority of international airports in China opt in the 24-hour TWOV, passengers transiting through the following airports all need a visa no matter how long the layover is.
• Fuzhou Changle Airport
• Huangshan Tunxi Airport
• Mudanjiang Hailang Airport
• Yanji Chaoyangchuan Airport
Besides, in Urumqi Diwopu International Airport, most travelers only enjoy visa-free transit for a maximum of 2 hours and are not allowed to get out of the airport. For citizens from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, Turkey and Yemen, they have to get a visa in advance.
If transiting in Guangzhou for less than 24 hours, you are able to apply for the 24-hour TWOV from Guangzhou Baiyun airport instead of its railway stations or other ports of entry. That is, only entering Guangzhou by air, you would be issued the 24h visa-free transit under qualified travel itinerary.
What is an eligible transit route?
|24-hour Direct Transit Rules|
An eligible transit route goes like Country A → China → Country C.
A and C are different countries. Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan can be regarded as A or C in this respect. For instance, if a passenger travels like USA – Beijing – Hong Kong, there is no doubt that this route qualifies for China 24 hour TWOV.
Generally speaking, the 24-hour visa-free transit allows aliens to have multiple stops in China as long as they leave the country within 24 hours, therefore the route USA - Beijing - Shanghai - South Korea also counts as eligible.
What are the requirements for TWOV?
Passport valid for at least 3 months from the date of entry
Onward air, cruise or train ticket with confirmed seat and date
Visa for a third country or region (if needed)
Can I get out of the airport during layover?
Passengers wishing to get out of the restricted transit area to claim luggage, take a connecting flight, or do some sightseeing in the city can apply for the 24-hour visa-free entry permit, which is a stamp or sticker on passport showing the permitted stay length.
Apply for 24-hour visa-free entry permit in 4 steps
Fill an Arrival/Departure Card at the border inspection counter
Get the temporary entry permit stamp or sticker
Claim the luggage (if needed)
Go through the customs
How to count the stopover time?
Ending: scheduled departure time
Recommended Day Tours for Transit Passengers
To Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Great Wall…
To Terracotta Warriors, City Wall, Small Wild Googe Pagoda...
To Yuyuan Garden, the Bund, Shanghai Museum...
Differences among 24/72/144-hour free transit
|24-Hour TWOV||72-Hour Visa-Free Transit||144-Hour Visa-Free Transit|
|For almost all countries||For 53 countries||For 53 countries|
|Available in most Chinese cities||Available in major Chinese cities||Guangdong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Dalian, Shenyang, Chengdu, Wuhan, Qingdao, Kunming, Xiamen|
|By air, cruise, train||By air||By air, cruise, train|
|Counted from the landing time||Counted from 0:00 the day following the entry date (Scheduled landing time in Beijing)||Counted from 0:00 the day following the entry date|
|Multiple stops||Single stop||Multiple stops|
Note that if 1) you lack any of the required documents listed above, 2) or your route does not qualify, 3) or you have the record of overstaying in a country or getting visa refusal before, your application for the 24-hour visa-free transit may be turned down. For fear of inconvenience caused by such case, please make sure that you are eligible or apply for a regular transit visa in advance.
My route is Bangkok-->Guangzhou (2 hour layover) --> Urumqi (5 hour layover) --> Almaty.
Do I need a transit visa for these layovers?
Both flights on China Southern
As far as your exit from the airport is concerned, you have to apply for 24 hours free entry permit upon your landing in Guangzhou. Keep in mind that is highly advisable to have your accommodation booking done before your arrival in Guangzhou and ready to present it in hard copy. Anyway, although you will almost certainly be allowed to exit the airport, you have to know that the last word always depands upon discretion of immigration official.