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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 airport 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.

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 TourXian Terracotta Warriors Bus Tour

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

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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
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 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 Nov. 15, 2018 -
Questions & Answers on 24-Hour Visa-Free Transit
Asked by Aimal from UNITED STATES | Nov. 14, 2018 22:59Reply
Pakistani national.
Hi, I am a Pakistani national with a US permanent residence card. I have a layover in Beijing (PEK) for 20 hours. I know Pakistan is listed as having some exceptions, but I was wondering if I would be eligible for the transit-fee visa in my case. Thanks!
Answers (1)
Answered by Roger from FRANCE | Nov. 15, 2018 17:42

I'm afraid you are not eligible for the free transit. You are advised to apply for a visa for the trip beforehand.
Asked by Bpnt from USA | Nov. 14, 2018 22:55Reply
Transit visa required??? Hi i have a nepali passport holder
and i am residing in united stated and i have green card. I am traveling to nepal via china eastern and have transit in kunming chi a for 15 hour and in return have 11 hour transit. Do i need to have transit visa ?
Answers (1)
Answered by Wesley from RUSSIA | Nov. 15, 2018 17:40

No. You can use free transit in China in both ways.
Asked by eva from ITALY | Nov. 14, 2018 07:45Reply
Do I qualify for a 24 hr visa? Rome-beijing-shanghai-krabi
I want to avoid the 1 month visa, I've already bought the flight from Rome to Shanghai, but the problem it's that I have a 7 hr scale in Beijing. I don't intend to go out of the airport, and when I arrive to Shanghai, my idea is to fly to Thailand in the next hours, in order to stay less than 24hr in mainland China. Do I qualify for the 24hr twov?
Answers (1)
Answered by Paul from USA | Nov. 14, 2018 07:49

yes as long as scheduled arrival in Beijing and scheduled departure from shanghai is under 24 hours. Time starts counting when you arrive.
Asked by Lilli from FINLAND | Nov. 14, 2018 03:07Reply
Asked by girl from Finland

I was hoping that maybe you can help me please.

I need some advice. I’m citizen of Finland and I’m in Australia at the moment. I booked a flight to Thailand via Shenzhen. I’m going to stay at the airport for 8 hours before flying to Thailand. It looks like that in Shenzhen airport I need to collect my luggage and check in again. So does that mean that I need visa in China?
Answers (1)
Answered by Daine from FRANCE | Nov. 14, 2018 17:31

You can get the 24h twov at Shenzhen airport, and no visa will be required. If you are still worried, you are advised to contact the airport to inquire that.
Asked by Chris from GERMANY | Nov. 14, 2018 03:04Reply
China 24-Hour Visa-Free Transit from Guangzhou to Hong Kong
Hello, I am a German national arriving in Guangzhou Baiyun Airport from Nairobi. I plan to immediately leave the airport and take the Vibrant Express train from Guangzhou South Station to Hong Kong for my onward stay. After a week in Hong Kong I wish to return to Guangzhou by the same train connection in order to take my outbound flight back to Nairobi. I assume that a 24-Hour twov would be sufficient, but would like to receive confirmation. Furthermore, I was wondering if there is any formality to be taken into consideration when leaving Hong Kong after my stay, and returning to Guangzhou (same 24-Hour free transit?). Thank you very much for your guidance!
Answers (1)
Answered by Chris from GERMANY | Nov. 14, 2018 03:49

I learned in the meantime that such transit may not be possible unless I take another flight from Guangzhou to Hong Kong. Before I do something that may get me into trouble, I would really appreciate some confirmation, either way. Thanks!
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