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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.


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, Qatar and Armenia

Ordinary passport holders of Singapore and Brunei 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 updated on Sep. 08, 2023 by Brenda Lian -
Questions & Answers on China Visa Exemption
Asked by Aleksei from RUSSIA | Sep. 27, 2023 18:53Reply
24 hours free transit with changing airport
If I come to Beijing via PKX airport, and next go to PEK airport on taxy, flight to Guangzhou and next flight to third country, can I use the 24 hours visa free transit? All air company's are different. Not one ticket. And same come back. Or I need use only same airports in transit cities?
Answers (1)
Answered by Pepper | Sep. 28, 2023 01:31

You don't need a visa as long as your schedule landing time in China to scheduled departure time from China is less than 24 hours. It does not matter you hold ticket of different airlines.
Asked by Will Davies from UNITED KINGDOM | Sep. 26, 2023 21:27Reply
Fly to Guangzhou from Thailand
Hey, can a UK citizen arrive in Guangzhou without a visa (flight bangkok-Guangzhou, Guangzhou- Bangkok) on the 72 hours deal?

Thanks in advance
Answers (1)
Answered by Paul | Sep. 27, 2023 19:28

No, because it's a round-trip, not transit.
Asked by Win from UNITED STATES | Sep. 26, 2023 07:15Reply
Can business visa be used for personal travel?
I have a 10 year multiple entry business visa to China. Can I also use this business visa for personal travel on separate trips to China?
Answers (1)
Answered by Dennis | Sep. 26, 2023 20:41

Yes, you can.
Asked by Jim Butler from USA | Sep. 22, 2023 17:47Reply
If I land in Hong Kong
I believe no visa needed in Hong Kong for less than 7 days. Possible to get visa exemption for 24 hrs to visit Shenzhen ?
Answers (1)
Answered by Mia | Sep. 24, 2023 22:52

You can get a 5-day Shenzhen visa on arrival but it only allows you to stay in Shenzhen.
Asked by James F Butler from USA | Sep. 19, 2023 21:23Reply
I’m traveling to Hong Kong and maybe Shenzhen
I will be traveling from the United States to Singapore, followed by 10 days in Bali, followed by a few days in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, then Hong Kong. I’m told no visa necessary for Hong Kong. I’ve been invited to Shenzhen to visit a friend for 1-2 days. From Hong Kong I have ticket to Istanbul for four days followed by my final journey home. I’m a retired cardiologist, and I plan to be traveling internationally for five weeks. My total time in China will be less than 144 hours.
Answers (1)
Answered by Dennis | Sep. 21, 2023 00:21

So is your itinerary about China HK - Shenzhen - Istanbul? If yes, you are eligible for the 144 visa-free transit.

However, pay attention that, there is generally no flights available between Shenzhen and Hong Kong, and you have to take a flight from HK to Guangzhou and then go to Shenzhen. ONLY flight is eligible for the 144-hour scheme.

Also, you need to take a direct flight from Shenzhen or Guangzhou to Istanbul without any stop in HK or other Chinese mainland cities.
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