Home / Embassy / Visa /

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. 30, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on China Visa Exemption
Asked by John from USA | Jan. 16, 2020 14:58Reply
Multiple Visits under 72 & 144 hour free transit
I am a US citizen and will be in Japan. I want to take a week to visit Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. Does the following itinerary violate the free transit options:

- Fly from Tokyo to Beijing (Begin Free Transit #1)
Stay in Beijing for 2 days
-Fly from Beijing to Hong Kong (End Free Transit #1)
Stay in Hong Kong for 3 days
- Fly from Hong Kong to Shanghai (Begin Free Transit #2)
Say in Shanghai for 4 days
- Fly from Shanghai to Taipei before heading home to US. (End Free Transit #2)
Asked by Brendan from UNITED STATES | Jan. 16, 2020 06:33Reply
Going on cruise out of Shanghai
I am going on a cruise out of Shanghai to Japan. I fly in from the United States on Friday, May 22nd, will be in Shanghai till Sunday, May 24th before going out on cruise. We arrive back in Shanghai on Sunday, May 31st. We fly out that day. We are not with a tour group. I'm thinking we'll need the Chinese visas, but technically we aren't in country for more than about 60 hours. So just trying to confirm before we go through the process of getting the visas.

Asked by Sophie from AUSTRALIA | Jan. 15, 2020 22:22Reply
Sydney-changsha(6.5 hours layover)-Beijing(144hours TWOV)-soeul
Hello my name is Sophie.
My inbounding trip is Sydney to Changsha( 6.5 hour layover- getting free accomodation) to Beijing (stay 144hours TWOV) to soeul.
Outbounding trip is Seoul to Beijing (144hours TWOV) to haikou(6.5 hours layover-getting free accomodation) to Sydney.

1. Do I need a visa to go out to the free accomodation by Hainan airline?
2. If I need a 24 hours transit visa in Changsha, can I also apply TWOV in Beijing?
3. Can I also apply 144 hours TWOV two times in Beijing?
Answers (2)
Answered by CDKING from US | Jan. 16, 2020 11:40

144 hour visa free transit requires flight to be non-stop, no other Chinese landings allowed.
This needs double entry tourist (L). Hainan airlines is not compatible with TWOV when traveling to/from Australia or New Zealand
Answered by CDKING from US | Jan. 16, 2020 11:51

I should say Hainan is not compatible for most destinations due to limited non-stop flights to third countries from their their secondary hubs. Changsha for example only has non-stop flights to Sydney, Melbourne, Los Angeles & London, all other destinations need a visa or continue on with a different airline.
Asked by Mikey from AUSTRALIA | Jan. 15, 2020 10:41Reply
Shenzhen stopover
Hi there, is it possible for Australian citizen with Australian passport to fly from Australia to Shenzhen, have a stopover there (what is the time limit), and then - as it is so close - travel by train to Hong Kong?
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Jan. 15, 2020 12:37

Yes, you can do that, but with a slight change in your itinerary. You will have to use a ferry (a catamaran in reality) instead of a train. Simply speaking, a train is not an eligible option when you travel on 144 hour visa free transit from Shenzhen.

So, your stay in Guangdong province will have to be at least 25 hours long, but less than 144 hours. You are informed that you are allowed to travel throughout entire Guangdong province and not only to stay within Shenzhen city limits.

To be eligible for this visa free transit option, you will have to book online, in advance a ticket for a ferry from Shenzhen Shekou to Hong Kong Macau ferry port through CKS - Chu Kong Passenger transport company website. When you book your ticket, you will receive an e-confirmation that you will print out and bring with you. This e-confirmation will be your proof that you will be in a real transit and also to collect your real, paper ticket at Shekou ferry terminal.

So, you will declare at check-in in Australia that you will travel to Hong Kong visa Shenzhen using 144 hour visa free transit. You will present your tickets and after a short check you will be allowed to board the plane. You will also print out an accommodation booking confirmation for at least for the first overnight in Guangdong province.

Upon arrival in Shenzhen, you will approach 144 hour visa free transit where you will fill out a blue form and shortly after you will get a sticker in your passport and will be allowed to exit the airport. One more detail. You will have to take exactly that ferry that you have bought your ticket for!
Asked by Carol from IRELAND | Jan. 15, 2020 10:25Reply
Do I need a double entry visa ?
Hi, I arrive on Shanghai on 13th June, stay 1 night and pick up a 7 night cruise on 14th around Japan back to Shanghai on 21st staying 2 nights and flying home on 24th June, will I need a double entry visa to China with this itinery ?
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Jan. 15, 2020 12:28

No, you don't need need any kind of visa because you will be eligible for 144 hour visa free transit in Shanghai twice. Anyway, to be completely certain about that, here is a couple of conditions your itinerary has to fulfill:

- Your flight from, I assume Europe, is not allowed to have any additional landing within mainland China and in Japan
- Your flight from Shanghai to, I assume Europe, is not allowed to have any additional landing within mainland China and in Japan

If the above conditions are fulfilled, you will be eligible for 144 hour visa free transit in Shanghai twice. OK, maybe you will be eligible for 24 hour visa free transit during your first stop in Shanghai if your entire transit time, counted from your scheduled plane arrival, until your scheduled cruise departure, is less than 24 hours long. Anyway, if it is just a minute longer than 24 hours, you will be eligible for 144 hour visa free transit. Basically, this is perfectly the same for you because you will be allowed to travel visa free in both cases.
Ask a Question
Question Summary (100 characters)
Details (optional) (2,000 characters)