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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 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
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 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:
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 Sep. 11, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on 24-Hour Visa-Free Transit
Asked by Sara from NETHERLANDS | Sep. 24, 2019 00:31Reply
Traveling from Amsterdam to Auckland(AKL) ew Zealand with a 7hr 45 min stop at Guangzhou, Baiyun In'
Traveling from Amsterdam to Auckland(AKL) New Zealand with a 7hr 45 min stop at Guangzhou, Baiyun In' on an Iranian passport, the 24hr TWON will be ok ?
Asked by Marco from COSTA RICA | Sep. 23, 2019 23:06Reply
Different Airlines Itinerary
Hi,
We are flying to USA from Korea, with an 8 hours stop in Beijing. We are 4 passengers, holding Costa Rican passports. In addition, we have 2 different bookings with 2 different airlines: China Southern (GMP-PEK) and Air China (PEK-LAX). My question is, would this be an issue to become eligible for the 24 hours visa free transit? and must we be required to check in with Air China in Korea, before departing to PEK? Then should we inform China Southern, in Korea, that we will be requesting the 24hr TWOV upon our arrival to Beijing?
Thank you!
Asked by Eva from ISRAEL | Sep. 23, 2019 13:24Reply
24 hours visa free
Hi,
I’m traveling to Thailand through Beijing with an Israeli passport and have a connection of 15 hours. Will I be able to go out of the airport and see the city without a visa?
Also, how do I know if I have to claim my luggage? And if I do where do I leave the while I’m in the city?
My trip is tomorrow so I’d be glad to get an answer soon
Thanks a lot
Answers (4)
Answered by ZUPAN | Sep. 23, 2019 13:55
00Reply


Eva, could you tell us, do you travel on a single (through) or on a separate tickets? This is very important detail and upon this detail we will be able to offer you a correct and reliable answer.
Answered by Eva from ISRAEL | Sep. 23, 2019 20:30
00Reply


It is a single ticket
Thanks
Answered by ZUPAN | Sep. 23, 2019 23:33
00Reply


In this case, your luggage will be, almost for certain, checked all the way to your final destination. You will know this detail for certain during a check-in in your origin country. You will receive two boarding passes and just for a case you will also ask whether your luggage is checked all the way to Thailand.

To be allowed to exit the airport and explore the city, you will apply for a temporary entry permit upon your landing in Beijing. Having in mind that your layover is quite long, your chances to be granted one are fine. Also if your layover is during the night hours, it is highly advisable to book some simple accommodation, to print out a confirmation and to have this printout with you to enclose it with your application. Anyway, you have to know that the issuing of a temporary entry permit is always upon discretion of immigration authorities.
Answered by Eva from ISRAEL | Sep. 24, 2019 00:49
00Reply


Thank you so much!
The temporary permit is only done there? Or is it better to make it before?
Will it change anything and be for sure granted? Or it will also be to their discretion?
Thanks again
Asked by Andy Loh from MALAYSIA | Sep. 23, 2019 10:30Reply
24 hours transit without visa
I am holding Malaysia passport. I will be travelling to New York. My flight detail is Kuala Lumpur - Guangzhou - Wuhan-New York
And my return flight is New York - Wuhan-Guangzhou-Kuala Lumpur
Both flight is connecting flight without leaving the airport but need to pass through immigration to transfer to one domestic flight.
Do I eligible for the 24 hours transit without visa since I am holding Malaysia Passport?
Thank you
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Sep. 23, 2019 12:52
00Reply


Your situation is practically identical as the situation described by Cida Nanda Bora in the post below yours. I will just slightly adapt the answer already posted as an answer to his question:

First of all, you should count the hours of your entire transit through China. It is calculated from your first scheduled landing in China, in your case in Guangzhou and until your last departure from China, in your case from Wuhan. If that entire time that includes two layovers and the flight time between Guangzhou and Wuhan is less than 24 hours, you are definitely eligible for 24 hour visa free transit through China and you don't need any kind of visa.

You will have to print out your flight tickets and have the printouts with you ready to be presented to relevant authorities. During your check-in in Malaysia, you will declare that you will travel to New York via China using 24 hour visa free transit. You will also present your tickets and after a short inspection, you will be allowed to board the plane. Upon your arrival in Guangzhou you will apply for temporary entry permit because after Guangzhou you will proceed as a passenger on a domestic flight and you will literally enter China.

So, your itinerary seems fine, you should just calculate your entire time in China and if it is less than 24 hours, you will be definitely allowed to travel on your itinerary visa free.

By the way, the same is valid for your journey back and you should just reverse the order that I have already explained.
Asked by Cida Nanda Bora from INDIA | Sep. 23, 2019 00:50Reply
transit VISA for travel through China to USA
I have a Ticket to NYC via Guangzou & Wuhan. We r 2 Passengers travelling on 17th October. It is not clear whether we require Transit VISA for less than 24 Hrs stay in China as there has been instances of not allowing passengers to travel due to non availability of VISA. If required kindly let me know the procedure to apply for the same. Thanking You. C. N. Bora Ahmedabad India
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Sep. 23, 2019 12:46
00Reply


First of all, you should count the hours of your entire transit through China. It is calculated from your first scheduled landing in China, in your case in Guangzhou and until your last departure from China, in your case from Wuhan. If that entire time that includes two layovers and the flight time between Guangzhou and Wuhan is less than 24 hours, you are definitely eligible for 24 hour visa free transit through China and you don't need any kind of visa.

You will have to print out your flight tickets and have the printouts with you ready to be presented to relevant authorities. During your check-in in India, you will declare that you will travel to New York via China using 24 hour visa free transit. You will also present your tickets and after a short inspection, you will be allowed to board the plane. Upon your arrival in Guangzhou you will apply for temporary entry permit because after Guangzhou you will proceed as a passenger on a domestic flight and you will literally enter China.

So, your itinerary seems fine, you should just calculate your entire time in China and if it is less than 24 hours, you will be definitely allowed to travel on your itinerary visa free.
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