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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 Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Liaoning, Chengdu, Wuhan, Qingdao, Kunming, and Xiamen can enjoy a visa-free stay up to 144 hours. Passengers may also be able to use this facility in Guangdong in the near future.

 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 and Qatar

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. 

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).
(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 Apr. 16, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on China Visa Exemption
Asked by NARINDER SINGH from INDIA | Apr. 17, 2019 02:37Reply
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Apr. 17, 2019 11:52

If I have understood correctly, you plan to visit China, first Sanya and after that Guangzhou on a single entry visa? This is fine of course because the visa is valid for the entire country (with the exception for Tibet and some other smaller areas where a visitor needs additional Tibet Travel Permit). Single entry tourist visa has usual validity of 30 days starting from the day of your entry in China.
Asked by sachin from INDIA | Apr. 16, 2019 02:48Reply
can i get business visa of china in Taiwan holding an Indian passport???
hey, i'm Indian passport holder working in Taiwan. i need to travel to china for company work and its my first time to travel there. what the exact process for it??? can i apply it at Hong Hong??
Answers (1)
Answered by Bruce | Apr. 17, 2019 19:05

As I know, there is no Chinese office in Taiwan, you are advised to find an agency to help you apply. Or you can try to apply from the office of the commissioner of the ministry of foreign affairs of PRC in HK SAR after preparing all requirements.
Asked by Kate from THAILAND | Apr. 13, 2019 22:05Reply
Thailand national
My flight is BKK-PVG (arrived PVG at 7.40) and PVG-JFK (leave PVG at 20.20) can I leave the port for sightseeing? I have ticket to a third country but may not have a confirmed seat.
Answers (1)
Answered by CDKING from US | Apr. 14, 2019 06:19

Its up to Immigration discretion if you can leave the airport on 24 hour transit. The odds are not good for daytime layover, you may have to stay inside the airport. You don't need assigned seat just no standby like airline employee free ticket.
Asked by ILOVEPANDAS | Apr. 12, 2019 03:43Reply
2 visa exemptions in a row

I'm planning to go to China (Chengdu and Changsha) from Vietnam and stay there for 6 days then go back to Vietnam. As it's almost impossible to get a visa in Vietnam and I'm wondering if I could do the following:

Vietnam -> Chengdu (144hrs exemption) -> Hong Kong -> Changsha (72hrs exemption) -> Vietnam

I would basically do Chengdu -> Hong Kong -> Changsha the same day.

Would it be possible to do so?

Answers (1)
Answered by CDKING from US | Apr. 12, 2019 05:58

If your passport is from one of the 53 approved countries you can do this. Just make sure you take the flight to HK
Asked by Kathy from USA | Apr. 10, 2019 12:08Reply
How much does it cost to get a visa to china
Answers (3)
Answered by Jackson from HONDURAS | Apr. 10, 2019 18:56

As a US citizen, usually you need USD140 per person.
Answered by CDKING from US | Apr. 11, 2019 13:49

$140 plus any fees if you cannot go to the consulate for the region you live in. I had to use a visa service from Massachusetts to Washington DC. It was $140 consulate fee + agency service fees + return shipping totaling ~$300. Good news is as long as your passport is good for more than a year its a 10 year multiple entry (You carry old and new passport with you for the time between passport expiration and visa expiration)
Answered by CDKING from US | Apr. 11, 2019 13:51

Now if your flight meets criteria for the free transit without visa then you don't have to apply for a visa
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