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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 May. 07, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on 24-Hour Visa-Free Transit
Asked by Agnes Horvath from HUNGARY | Jul. 23, 2019 05:50Reply
Urumqi transfer
In November we will travel in Malaysia on the Vienna - Urumqi - Guangzhou - Langkawi (Malaysia) route with China Soutern. First stop over will be to Urumqi 4h40m (CZ6883) Diwopu International Terminal 3, then our second transfer to Guangzhou from 2h25m (CZ6047) Baiyun International Terminal 2. Do we need a visa or are we eligible for a free visa?
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Jul. 23, 2019 14:38
00Reply


Unfortunately, you didn't take CZ6022 all the way to Guangzhou and even more because you will travel with the mentioned flight between Vienna and Urumqi... If you were only done that, you would be eligible for 24 visa free transit in China.

Like this, you are definitely ineligible and you have to obtain a Chinese transit (G) visa in advance.
Asked by Ali from JAPAN | Jul. 21, 2019 20:40Reply
Confirmation of trasnit visa in Beijing Capital for 6 and half hrs transit.
Dear Sir/Madam,
At the end of August, I am traveling to my home town as follow:
Departure:
Aug. 28th Haneda- Japan by Air China --> Beijing Capital (Layover time = 2h 35 minutes) --> Baku Heydar Int - Azerbaijan (Layover time = 4h 15 minutes) --> Tehran - Iran

Return:
Sept. 10th Tehran - Iran --> Baku Heydar Int - Azerbaijan (Layover time = 6h 20 minutes) --> Beijing Capital- by AIR China (Layover time = 6h 30 minutes) --> Haneda- Japan

I have IRANINA passport and Japanese resident card and round tickets as above.
I read the information in this webpage, but I wanted to confirm once more whether I can use TWOV.
I kindly appreciate your confirmation.
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Jul. 22, 2019 10:54
00Reply


Ali, both of your itineraries are definitely eligible for 24 hour visa free transit.

Anyway, I'm a bit afraid of your very short layover in Beijing within your first itinerary. It is only 2 hours 35 minutes and you have to accomplish quite a number of formalities since you will change the carriers. So, you will have to apply for 24 hour free entry permit and clear the immigration, collect your luggage, clear the customs, exit the transit zone, approach to new check-in, clear the security and arrive on time at the gate for your flight to Baku.

It is theoretically possible, but your time is so tight. If you only travel on a single ticket, it would be quite a different thing, but having two separate tickets will make you literally run from one formality to the next one and also hoping that your flight from Tokyo to Beijing is on time. Usually CA168 is on time, so let's hope that you will manage to catch your next flight.

Please, during your next travel, make a longer layover to avoid unnecessary stress.
Asked by Andrius from UNITED KINGDOM | Jul. 21, 2019 14:34Reply
Phuket to London via Shenzhen
Hi, my flight is from Phuket to London via Shenzhen airport where the waiting time between both flights is more than 8 hours. I'm wondering can I leave the airport during that time? I have Lithuanian passport
Answers (2)
Answered by ZUPAN | Jul. 21, 2019 15:27
00Reply


Yes in principle. You will have to apply for 24 hour free entry permit upon your landing in Shenzhen. Anyway, you should be aware that this permit is not a passenger's right, but more a privilege that is issued upon a discretion of immigration authorities on the day of your arrival in Shenzhen.
Answered by Andrius from UNITED KINGDOM | Jul. 22, 2019 00:17
00Reply


Thank you for the response, I really appreciate that
Asked by KD from USA | Jul. 21, 2019 11:51Reply
Register with Police
Do you have to register with the Police for the 24 hour visa?
Answers (2)
Answered by ZUPAN | Jul. 21, 2019 15:21
00Reply


Do you mean, when using 24 hour visa free transit? In the greatest number of cases, you don't have to do anything. Most 24 TWOV cases are just a transit without leaving the airport and it is logical that no registration with the police occurs. A smaller number of users leave the airport to have a sleep or a rest in the hotel because of the longer layover and in this case a hotel makes a registration with the police in the name of the hotel user. The tiniest and I would say, just sporadic occurrences are when someone sleeps at his/her friends, relatives or similar place. Then the registration in person with the police is compulsory.

Also, there is quite a number of passengers that exit the airport, but use their time just to make a stroll in the city, have a meal or take a half day tour. Those passengers also don't have to register with the police.
Answered by CDKING from US | Jul. 22, 2019 12:43
00Reply


registration is within 24 hours of arrival, since you are not staying 24 hours no need to register. Also note this is not a visa but a transit without visa.
Asked by Veronika Oškrdalová from CZECH REPUBLIC | Jul. 21, 2019 07:43Reply
Visa Urumqi
If I will fly from Vienna with China Southern with stop over 1,5 hour in Urumqi (flight number is still same CZ6022) and continue to Guangzhou with stay time 5,4 hour and finish in Langkawi Malaysia... way back is the same... Do I need a visa? Stopover is less than 2 hours, so I think I dont need them...
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Jul. 21, 2019 09:12
00Reply


Flight CZ6022, although very specific because of its stop in Urumqi is confirmed eligible for 24 hour visa free transit. You definitely don't need any kind of visa.
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