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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 the 24-hour TWOV from Guangzhou Baiyun airport instead of its railway stations or other ports of entry. That is, only entering and exiting 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
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?

Starting: scheduled arrival time
Ending: scheduled departure time

Recommended Day Tours for Transit Passengers

Great Wall TourBeijing Layover Tours

To Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Great Wall…

Terracotta Warriors TourXi'an Terracotta Warriors Bus Tour

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

Shanghai TourOne Day Shanghai Private Tours

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 Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Dalian, Shenyang
Chengdu, Wuhan, Qingdao, Kunming, Xiamen
Guangdong (To be implemented soon)
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. 
- Last modified on Jan. 22, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on 24-Hour Visa-Free Transit
Asked by Marlena from CANADA | Jan. 22, 2019 09:37Reply
Canadians cruise stopping in Shenzhen at 7am-2pm then on to Hong Kong from 8pm-6pm next is Visa req?
Asked by Nigel Pong from MALAYSIA | Jan. 22, 2019 06:28Reply
Can I apply for transit visa
I'm flying from kual Lumpur to guongzhou and the back to Kuala Lumpur. From landing to departure time, I will be in China for only 25 hours. Do I qualify to get transit visa? I am holding Malaysia passport.
Answers (2)
Answered by John Doe | Jan. 22, 2019 06:54

"Only" 25 hours is still an hour more than 24 hours. You need a visa or a flight change.
Answered by Thomas | Jan. 22, 2019 07:14

And Kuala Lumpur - Guangzhou - Kuala Lumpur is not a transit so the twov is not allowed.
Asked by HARTONO TASLIM from ID | Jan. 22, 2019 02:50Reply
Singapore to Pyongyang transit at Beijing Capital Airport
I am flying with Air China from Singapore to Pyongyang and have to change plane (same airlines) at Beijing Capital Airport. The flight arrives Beijing at 5:30 AM, and next flight to Pyongyang with Air China depart at 2:30 PM (same day). Do I need transit visa? I am Indonesia passport holder. Airlines company can not give me definite answer, or should I consult China Embassy staff regarding this matter. Thank you
Answers (1)
Answered by John Doe | Jan. 22, 2019 06:54

You do not.
Asked by Claire from PHILIPPINES | Jan. 21, 2019 01:42Reply
Do I need transit visa? I am from Philippines and I have US tourist visa.
I have flight from LAX transiting to Shanghai Pudong International Airport before going to Philippines and vice versa. Do I need a transit g for this? The layover in PVG is just 6hrs.
Answers (2)
Answered by Rob | Jan. 21, 2019 13:42

You don't need a visa if you stay less than 24 hours in China.
Answered by Claire from PHILIPPINES | Jan. 21, 2019 17:26

Thank you so much :-)
Asked by smns from BANGLADESH | Jan. 21, 2019 00:41Reply
Am I eligible for TWOV so that can check in a hotel out of Airport?
I'll be traveling from Dhaka to Adelaide by China Southern. Having 12+ hours layover.

Thanks in advance.
Answers (3)
Answered by John Doe | Jan. 21, 2019 15:50

That's up to the immigration officer so no guarantees if you are not holding a visa.
Answered by smns from BANGLADESH | Jan. 21, 2019 21:22

thanks for the reply. however, when I visited the same route in 2017 I didn't had to take a visa from Dhaka. Me & my wife were granted a stay permit for 96 hours and checked in a designated hotel by the airline out of airport area. FYI, both of us are having an australian permanent residency visa. This time my father will be travelling with us holding a tourist visa. Could be there be any difference?
Thanks in advance.
Answered by John Doe | Jan. 22, 2019 07:02

96 hours doesn't sound right if you hold a Bangladeshi passport (or any passport for that matter since there no 96-hour transit). Regardless, local immigration changes the rules intermittently so you never know until you've landed. A year ago Shanghai banned anyone without a hotel reservation without any announcements and many were forced to spend their time touring the magnificent airport instead.
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