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China Visa Exemption

 China 24/72/144-hour visa free transit has been resumed since January 8, 2023 while other types of visa exemption, including Hainan 30-day visa-free access has been resumed since March 15, 2023. 

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.

  Tip: The above visa exemption for ordinary passport holders of Singapore, Brunei and Japan has been suspended after the outbreak of covid-19 and has not been lifted. 


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 updated on May. 25, 2023 by Brenda Lian -
Questions & Answers on China Visa Exemption
Asked by Aaron from MALAYSIA | Jun. 02, 2023 03:37Reply
Hi, I'm holding a Malaysia passport and travelling from london to kuala lumpur but will have a transit of 15hrs in Guangzhou, am i eligible to apply for the 24hrs stay permit for myself to leave the port?
Answers (1)
Answered by Lisa | Jun. 04, 2023 21:00

Yes, you are eligible for the 24-hour visa-free in Guangzhou and can get out of the airport with a temporary entry permit.
Asked by John Tai from SINGAPORE | May. 28, 2023 13:56Reply
We are a group of 5 Singaporeans to tour Hainan Island on 30 June to 8 July 23. Do we need visas ?
We are a group of 5 senior citizens (all older than 70 year old and holding Sinagpore Passports) have booked airtickets on our own (no travel agent involved) to tour Hainan Island staring on 30th June to 8th July 23. Can you please confirm that no requirement for Visa to tour Hainan. The flight is by JetStar airways directly from Singapore to Haikou, Hainan. Appreciate your early confirmation. Thankyou, John Tai from Singapore
Answers (1)
Answered by Kelly | May. 29, 2023 18:44

Hi, according to recent feedback, you are eligible for entering Hainan without a visa and stay for at most 30 days. It seems no travel agency registering is needed at present but you may be required to show your return flight tickets and hotel orders. It is also not allowed to go to other mainland cities. Have a nice trip!
Asked by Shirley from SINGAPORE | May. 28, 2023 06:28Reply
Singaporean travelling to zhuhai from macau
Hi I'm holding Singapore passport planning to travel from Macau to zhuhai for 1day trip. Do I need to apply for Visa?
Answers (1)
Answered by Maria | May. 29, 2023 18:40

Yes, you do. But you can apply for a 3-day visa on arrival in Gongbei, Hengqin and Jiuzhou ports.
Asked by Cara Chan from SINGAPORE | May. 27, 2023 08:36Reply
Singapore passport
Hi, I’m a singaporean, I want to travel to Zhuhai for 3 days and Shenzhen for 5 days, do I need to apply visa?
Answers (1)
Answered by Leo | May. 29, 2023 00:49

If you want to visit both of the two places in one time, obtaining in advance a China visa is must. Or you can enter Shenzhen via the 5-day VOA, and leave for HK or Macau. After that, try to get a 3-day VOA to enter Zhuhai.
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