24-Hour Direct Transit in China

24-hour direct 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.

24-hour Direct Transit Rules

Aliens are able to enjoy 24 hour direct transit in most Chinese cities excluding Yanji, Mudanjiang, and Fuzhou. People cannot enjoy the 24 hours visa free transit in Shenzhen either, while 5-Day Visa on Arrival in Shenzhen & 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit in Guangdong enables tourists to travel in Shenzhen.

The 24-hour direct transit is available for passengers holding onward air, cruise or train ticket with confirmed seat to a third country or region. Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan can be regarded as a third region in this respect. For instance, if a passenger travels like USA – Beijing – Hong Kong – USA, there is no doubt that this route qualifies for China 24 hour TWOV.

​Stopover Time Counting:

Starting: scheduled arrival time
Ending: scheduled departure time

If wishing to leave the transiting area to explore the city during the layover, passengers are supposed to apply for a free temporary stay permit at the immigration counter upon arrival.

Who Are Eligible for 24-Hour TWOV?

National of most countries are eligible for the 24-hour direct transit, while a visa is needed for the passengers transiting on Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen passports.

Recommended Day Tours for Transit Passengers

Beijing Layover Tours

To Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Great Wall…

Xian Terracotta Warriors Bus Tour

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

One Day Shanghai Private Tours

To Yuyuan Garden, the Bund, Shanghai Museum...

In Beijing, tourists can visit the Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City together for a day trip. Managing your time well is critical. It respectively takes about one hour and three hours from the airport to the city center and Badaling. A Huangpu River Cruise can be a highlight of your one-day impressive trip in Shanghai.

What Are the Restrictions?

Generally speaking, the 24-hour direct transit allows aliens to have multiple stops in China as long as they leave the country within 24 hours. Nevertheless, if transiting in Weihai, Wuhan, Xian or Zhengzhou, US and Canadian citizens cannot enjoy multiple-stop transit.

Besides, in Urumqi Diwopu International Airport, most travelers only enjoy visa-free transit for up to 2 hours. But if they can exit mainland China within the remaining 22 hours, there is no problem for them to apply for 24-hour TWOV.

Requirements & Procedures

 Passport valid for at least 3 months from the date of entry
 Onward ticket with confirmed seat
 A fully completed Arrival/Departure Card
 Visa for a third country or region (if needed)

Show valid passport and tickets - Apply for the 24-hour TWOV and temporary stay permit upon arrival - Claim the luggage (if needed) - Go through the customs - Leave transiting area

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 Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Liaoning
Guangdong (To be implemented)
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 direct 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. 
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