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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 Small Group Tour

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

Our Guests in BeijingBeijing Mini Group 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, 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. 
- Last modified on Oct. 15, 2020 -
Questions & Answers on 24-Hour Visa-Free Transit
Asked by Mirko from GERMANY | Oct. 14, 2020 06:33Reply
Train between Vietnam and Macau or Hong Kong
Can I make use of the 24 Hours visa free permit for the train connection between Vietnam (Hanoi) and Macau or Hong Kong in one or both directions? The connection includes a change in Nanning or Guangzhou.
Answers (1)
Answered by Vera | Oct. 15, 2020 23:54

Mirko, the 24 hours visa-free transit in China is not available now.
Asked by Jess from EL SALVADOR | Mar. 25, 2020 21:58Reply
It's transit through China still possible without getting quarantine?
Im not or either coming from a risky country. But I saw they are testing and quarantine all people coming to China. I only want to transit for a few hours will this be smooth?
Answers (4)
Answered by Andrew from IRELAND | Mar. 25, 2020 23:09

Jess, I personally think it's fine because you will just stay in the international transit zone. Confirm this with your airline please.
Answered by John Doe | Mar. 26, 2020 07:29

Transiting in Beijing is a big no-no at this point as it's two airports have stopped accepting international flights. If transiting at other designated airports (Shanghai Pudong, Guangzhou or Xiamen) then you would need to contact the airline's customer service, as well as the local immigration office during Chinese business hours, to confirm that you could be exempted from quarantine. If not then your best bet is to transit through Korea, Japan, Russia or Qatar.
Answered by John Doe | Mar. 26, 2020 07:39

A quick update: transiting through Guangzhou is possible without being quarantined if your transit time will not be more than 12 hours. If it's more than 12 hours you will be shuttled to a designated hotel (although it's not completely clear whether you will be required to pay). No information is available for Shanghai Pudong or Xiamen so far. Also it goes without saying that you cannot have more than one stop in Mainland China right now.
Answered by John Doe | Mar. 26, 2020 08:24

Update #2: non-Chinese nationals can no longer enter Mainland China from 12 AM March 28. All kinds of TWOVs are suspended.
Asked by LB from AUSTRALIA | Feb. 23, 2020 06:16Reply
Multiple Transits during Trip
I am considering flying to Kinmen County from Taiwan, and spending a few days there. After, I want to take a ferry to Xiamen, before flying on to a third country (within 24 hours). When I come back home a few weeks later, can I use the 72hr transit visa in another city (with flights booked both into and out of China)?
Answers (2)
Answered by Thomas | Feb. 23, 2020 06:21

Taiwan has closed all borders to mainland China.
Answered by John Doe | Feb. 26, 2020 14:15

You can. However many governments have recommended not to plan any trips to China at the moment in the likely case that the epidemic is still not under control by the time of your travel.
Asked by Stargirl from ENGLAND | Feb. 17, 2020 05:29Reply
Passport and validity
Hi, do passports need to be valid for a least 6 months? I know the article says 3 months but I have read conflicting information. My children's will have 3 and a half months on the way out but 3 months and a week on the way back in. Can somebody advise please? Is it worth me getting them new passports?
Answers (1)
Answered by Wendy from USA | Feb. 17, 2020 18:05

If you want to apply for a China visa, the passport should be valid for at least 6 months. If you wanna use the visa-free transit policy of China, the passport should be valid for at least 3 months.
Asked by Tony from UNITED KINGDOM | Feb. 16, 2020 02:32Reply
Trains and Planes

Can I make use of the 24 Hours visa free permit if I land in Beijing and then take the train from Beijing to Russia? Although I will have a booked train and seat to leave Beijing within 24 hours of landing in China, I won't technically leave the country well after 24 hours.

Arrive Beijing 0850 Saturday by Air.
Leave Beijing 2300 Saturday by Train.
Leave China 0417 Monday (same train)

Any help appreciated
Answers (1)
Answered by Saul | Feb. 16, 2020 03:27

The train to Russia always requires a visa.
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