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.
• Huangshan Tunxi Airport
• Mudanjiang Hailang Airport
• Yanji Chaoyangchuan Airport
Citizens from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, Turkey and Yemen are not eligible for 24-hour visa-free transit in Urumqi Diwopu International Airport.
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 Tours for Transit Passengers
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, Xi'an, Chongqing|
|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.
However, if you want to exit the airport, you will have to apply for a temporary entry permit immediately upon landing in Guangzhou at 24/144 hour visa free transit counter. You have to know that the granting of this entry permit is based solely on discretionary decision of airport officials on the day. So, I strongly advise you to make hotel reservation and to print out that reservation to have it at hand in order to be presented to the airport officials. This will definitely increase your chances to be granted a permit along with your very long layover. This application is for free and your chances to be granted a permit are really very good.
(Thailand - Chengdu - Dubai)
Do I need visa to for it because I need to check in again
Since you will have to do new check-in you will just have to approach 24/144 hour visa free transit counter immediately upon your landing in Chengdu where you will apply for a temporary entry permit. This is formality where you will present your ticket for Dubai. This application is absolutely for free. After a short check, you will be allowed to exit the airport and later to perform new check-in. You are good to go.
I will travel Rome - Chengdu - Ho Chi Minh city (Vietnam) with Sichuan Airlines round trip. The transit time in the outward travel to Vietnam is 12 hours, while in the return flight to Rome is 14 hours.
Do I apply for 24 hours TWOV? If yes, does it mean that I can also leave the airport for sightseeing and come back to check in for the second flight? Or I am restricted to stay in the transit area?
Does the same policy apply for outward and return flight?
This visa free scheme allows you to travel visa free via Chengdu and there is no doubt about it. Both of your journeys are eligible for visa free transit scheme and there is no difference between outward and return flights. Having in mind that you plan to exit the airport in order to enjoy some time in the city, you will approach 24/144 hour visa free transit counter immediately upon your landing in Chengdu. There you will apply for a temporary entry permit that is issued to those with long layovers, but always based on discretionary decision of airport authorities on a day of travel. You will present your flight itinerary and even better if you can add accommodation booking confirmation in case that you decide to rest in some of local accommodations. Since your layovers are long, I would say that your chances to be granted a temporary entry permit are very good. This application for a temporary entry permit is free of any charge.