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China Visa Exemption

China visa exemption policy mainly applies to 10 groups of people, including 24-hour direct transit passengers, 53 countries’ passport holders enjoying 72-hour or 144-hour visa-free transit, tour groups organized by local travel agencies to specific areas like Hainan and Guangdong, and holders of Japanese, Singaporean, Qatari and Bruneian passports, or Chinese Alien Residence Permit. Please read the following details to check whether you meet China visa exemption requirements.

Under the 24-hour visa-free transit rule, no visa is required for international flight, ship, or train passengers who transit directly through mainland China and will stay for less than 24 hours. This policy is applicable to almost all nationalities. Most airports are eligible, except the airports in Shenzhen, Yanji, Mudanjiang, and Fuzhou. Passengers should hold tickets to a third country or region and have a confirmed seat.

In case that they want to leave the port for city sightseeing or transfer to another port during the 24 hours, they can apply for a Temporary Stay Permit upon arrival. Those who transfer in more than one city of China within 24 hours can also enjoy this policy. For instance, if one's trip is Los Angeles – Beijing – Shanghai – Bangkok and the total time in China is less than 24 hours, the passenger can still enjoy the 24-hour direct transit.

Passport holders of the following 53 countries and regions can be granted a visa-free stay up to 72 hours while transiting via Beijing Capital Airport, Shanghai Pudong Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, and airports of Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Shenyang, Dalian, Harbin, Xi'an, Guilin, Kunming, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Tianjin, Qingdao, Nanjing, Changsha, and Xiamen:

 24 Schengen Agreement Countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland

 15 Other European Countries: Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia (FYROM), Albania, Belarus, Monaco

 6 American Countries: the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile

 2 Oceania Countries: Australia, New Zealand

 6 Asian Countries: Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Qatar


Passengers from the above countries transiting in Guangdong, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Xi'an, Chongqing, Liaoning, Chengdu, Wuhan, Qingdao, Kunming, and Xiamen can enjoy a visa-free stay up to 144 hours.

 See Beijing Layover Tours


Citizens holding the passport of the 59 qualifying countries are exempt from China visas when they travel to Hainan Province as a group or an individual organized by Travel Agencies in Hainan. The stay is limited to 30 days in general, and the 30 days start from 00:00 the day following the entry date.

Foreigners who take a cruise to Shanghai and leave with the cruise from Shanghai or other ports of China can enjoy a 15-day visa-free stay in China given that they are received by a local travel agency as a tour group. The group should contain at least two members. Eligible passengers can travel with the ship to other coastal cities and provinces, including Beijing, Liaoning, Hebei, Tianjin, Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hainan. The stay period counts from the following day after arrival.


6-Day Visa Exemption for Tourists to Pearl River Delta

Citizens holding passports issued by the nations with diplomatic relations with China are exempted from China visas if they join a tourist group at Hong Kong or Macao organized by registered travel agencies in HK and Macao to visit the Pearl River Delta region for tourism and stay up to 6 days. The region includes Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Zhaoqing, and Huizhou.

 Do I Need A Visa for Guangzhou If Traveling from Hong Kong?


6-Day Visa Exemption for ASEAN Tour Groups Visiting Guilin

Tour groups from ASEAN member countries, including Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Myanmar, Brunei, and the Philippines, can visit Guilin for six days free of visa. They should be received at Guilin Liangjiang Airport by local travel agencies in Guilin. During the six days, all members cannot leave Guilin. In addition, tour groups using this visa exemption policy shall exit from Liangjiang Airport only.


Nationals of Singapore, Brunei, Japan, Qatar and Armenia

Ordinary passport holders of Singapore, Brunei and Japan are allowed to enter China without visas for up to 15 days for tourism, visiting family or friends, or minor business purposes provided they enter through international ports open to foreigners. According to Mutual Visa Exemption, Qatar citizens with ordinary passports may stay in China for less than 30 days without visa. Armenian citizens who stay in China for no more than 90 days every 180 days are exempt from visas.

For nationals of these countries, a visa is required under following circumstance:
(1) Ordinary passport holder visits for tourism, business, visiting friends and relatives but stays for more than 15 days (30 days for Qataris, 90 days for Armenians).
(2) Ordinary passport holder visits for the purposes of study, work, official visit, settling down and interview.
(3) Japanese Diplomatic and Official passport holder.


Holders of Aliens' Residence Permit

Foreigners who visit for study on X1 visa or for work on Z visa and resident foreign journalists shall apply for Aliens' Residence Permit at local public security bureau within 30 days after entry.
Within the period of the validity of the Residence Card, the holder is entitled to enter and exit from China for multiple times without applying for another visa.


Holders of APEC Business Travel Card

The APEC Business Travel Card is regarded as a multiple entry visa valid for three years. With this card and relevant passport, the holder is entitled to enter China for many times within its validity. The duration of each stay should be within 2 months.


Diplomatic, Service or Official Passport Holders

China has mutual visa-exemption agreements with some foreign countries, but they are mainly for diplomatic, service or official passport holders and only allow a stay less than 30 days.

- Last modified on Dec. 03, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on China Visa Exemption
Asked by Sara from USA | Dec. 10, 2019 17:50Reply
Sfo to Las Vegas to Beijing, and then Beijing to Las Vegas to SFO
Will this itinerary qualify me for the 72 hour transit visa?
Asked by Jenny Gannon from PORTUGAL | Dec. 10, 2019 00:33Reply
Visa for Xiamen only for Portuguese residents with UK and Irish passport
My husband (Ireland) and I (UK) passport (both residents in Portugal) will be stopping in Xiamen for 10 hours on a cruise in January. Do we need a visa? No other ports of call in China only Hong Kong for which a visa is not necessary I believe.
Many thanks
Answers (1)
Answered by CDKing from USA | Dec. 10, 2019 03:42

What is the cruise port before and after xiamen? Just make sure port before and after are different countries. For example one cruise has Philippines - xiamen - Hong Kong at the end of the itinerary and that qualifies for the visa free transit
Asked by Harrold from SPAIN | Dec. 09, 2019 10:19Reply
Flying from NZ to Beijing to take transmongolian visa 144free
Hello so my question is if it's possible to arrive to Beijing from New Zealand and apply for the 144h free Visa and after take the Transmongolian to Mongolia, I am Spanish and my friend is French do we qualify for free 144 visA? Thank you so much
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Dec. 09, 2019 12:21

Unfortunately, Transmongolian train requires a visa obtained in advance. It has never been eligible for any kind of visa free transit. The only train that is eligible for 144 hour visa free transit in Beijing area is a through overnight train from Beijing to Hong Kong. Of course, you could become eligible for 144 hour visa free transit if you take a flight from Beijing to Ulaanbaatar.
Asked by Amitabh from USA | Dec. 05, 2019 21:01Reply
Kolkata-Kunming-Nanjing-LA transit visa needed for USA passport?

I am traveling Kolkata-Kunming-Nanjing-LA with less than 24 hours in China. Do I qualify for the 24 or 72 hour visa-free transit? I hold a USA passport.
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Dec. 05, 2019 23:14

When a traveler has two or more stops within mainland China, he/she is eligible for 24 hour visa free transit only, regardless of citizenship. In other words you are allowed to travel visa free only if your entire transit time, calculated from your first scheduled landing, in your case in Kunming, until your final departure from China, in your case from Nanjing, is less than 24 hours.
Asked by Nathan Ide from UNITED STATES | Dec. 05, 2019 10:58Reply
Does the timing of my flights still make me eligible for the 144 hour visa free transit?
I'm taking a flight from Taiwan on the 4th that gets in at 4:15 and staying in Beijing till the 10th at 11:20. Does that still make me eligible for the 144 hour visa free transit?
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Dec. 05, 2019 15:00

Yes, of course you are eligible, but your flight out of Beijing has to be to a city/country different than mainland China and Taiwan. Also, your flights to and from Beijing are not allowed to have any additional landing in mainland China of any kind!
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