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China 24-Hour Visa-Free Transit

 China has resumed the 24-hour visa-free transit policy since January 8th, 2023 after 3 years’ suspension because of the covid-19 epidemic.

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 Tours for Transit Passengers


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 updated on May. 25, 2023 by Catherine He -
Questions & Answers on 24-Hour Visa-Free Transit
Asked by Akshay from INDIA | Jun. 02, 2023 09:17Reply
Does my route qualify for 24 hour transit visa?

I am an Indian passport holder, traveling from Moscow with a 12 hours stop over at Shanghai. My route is Moscow >> Shanghai >> Sydney. If I don't intend to leave the airport, do I still need a transit visa? Or am I eligible for the 24 hours free transit visa? Your answer will be of greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
Asked by Salam from ALEIKUM | Jun. 01, 2023 05:06Reply
Do i need visa?
I am a Tajikistan citizen who is currently residing in South Korea. I want to travel to Russia but there are 18 hours of transit in Guangzhou. Do I require a visa or not? Thanks in advance.
Answers (1)
Answered by Mia | Jun. 01, 2023 20:55

If you don't stop in any other mainland city, then you are qualified of the 24-hour visa-free transit. You can transit in Guangzhou without a visa.
Asked by MICHAEL from MALAYSIA | May. 31, 2023 03:51Reply
Hi Sir/Madam,
My flight from Singapore to Geneva, stop at Beijing 20 hours, flight CA970 & CA861 Air China, I plan to get out Beijing airport and go to Beijing city area.

Can I have 24hours transit pass or temporary arrival permit? How to do? Is this free?
Answers (1)
Answered by Maria | May. 31, 2023 18:38

Yes, you can transit without a visa and get a temporary entry permit at 24-hour visa free transit desk in the airport. It is completely free.
Asked by Tracy Tham from SINGAPORE | May. 30, 2023 08:20Reply
I am going to Hong Kong and wanted to travel to Shenzhen for a day trip.
I am a Singapore citizen. I am planning to go to Hong Kong. From there, I would like to have a day trip to Shenzhen. Do I need to apply for the 24 hours Visa free transit ? Thank you!
Answers (1)
Answered by Borut | May. 30, 2023 08:48

No, you cannot do that. However, you can apply for a 5 days Shenzhen visa on arrival at designated border crossings. My suggestion is to think about taking a direct morning ferry provided by CKS from Hong Kong to Shekou port in Shenzhen because it is a comfortable way of travel and also the waiting times at Shekou visa office are shorter than those at overland border crossings. You should just be aware of the Shekou visa office opening times: 9:00 - 13:00 & 14:30 - 16:30.

After your stay & exploration in Shenzhen, you can return to Hong Kong taking any mean of transportation (high speed train included) and by taking any border crossing.
Asked by Clement from FRANCE | May. 29, 2023 16:11Reply
Travel document
Hi, my transit is in Guangzhou travelling from Sydney to Paris, as my understanding the 24hrs visa will be done during transit, also regarding the covid test is it pcr or rap that I have to take 48hrs before departure?
Answers (1)
Answered by Borut | May. 29, 2023 16:21

Actually, if your transit time is shorter than 24 hours, you will be covered by 24 hour visa free transit and as you can see, there is no need for any visa at all. If your transit time is longer than 24 hours and you are a French citizen, then you will be covered by 144 hour visa free transit and again, no visa is needed.

If your transit time is longer, maybe more than 8 hours or so, you can apply on arrival for a temporary entry permit at 24/144 visa free transit desk for a temporary entry permit to be allowed to exit the airport. This application is free and this permit is not a visa, but as the name says, a temporary entry permit that allows you to move around and explore the city during your transit time and maybe to have an overnight in the hotel...

You need a rap, DIY tests and you should fill out the Chinese Health Declaration Form.
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