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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.


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 Feb. 16, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on China Visa Exemption
Asked by raphael from FRANCE | Feb. 16, 2019 05:52Reply
Visa fuzhou
I am French and I bought a ticket for a flight from Paris CDG to Bangkok with a transit of 6:30 to Fuzhu in China on February 28th. The problem is that I do not have a Chinese Visa thinking that this one was not necessary for such a short transit time, and that I see Fuzhu as an airport that is an exception to this free transit visa-free.
If I stay in the international zone do I need a visa?

Yours sincerel
Answers (6)
Answered by raphael from FRANCE | Feb. 16, 2019 05:53

Fuzhou = 6h30 transit * sorry for my english
Answered by Paul from USA | Feb. 16, 2019 08:15

Fuzhou requires a visa even if you don't leave the airport.
Answered by Raphael from FRANCE | Feb. 16, 2019 08:28

Hello Paul, I just saw that Paris CDG airport issues a free 24-hour transit visa before departure. Just fill out a form at the registration service.
Answered by John Doe | Feb. 16, 2019 08:57

But that's not Fuzhou.
Answered by Raphael from PAYET | Feb. 16, 2019 09:03

Service de transit à Fuzhou

Transit Service in Fuzhou

4 Immigration / emigration:

4.1 General Procedure: Complete immigration / emigration check-in / check-in formalities with your valid travel documents and itineraries.

4.2 Visa exemption for China (entry): in case of possession of an air ticket with correspondence and stay in mainland China not exceeding the planned number of hours
Answered by Paul from USA | Feb. 16, 2019 18:07

Government sites can be out of date. The official source in TIMATIC database and is also consulted by the airlines. It says the 24 hour transit does not apply at the following:

- This TWOV facility does not apply at Shenzhen (SZX) when
passengers are traveling to Hong Kong (SAR China) or Macao
(SAR China).
- This TWOV facility does not apply at Fuzhou (FOC),
Huangshan (TXN), Mudanjiang (MDG), Urumqi (URC) and Yanji
Asked by Ian from USA | Feb. 15, 2019 12:47Reply
Question about 144 transit visa
US citizen

Flying non stop DFW to shanghai.
4 nights shanghai

Flying to manila with 1 hr 20 mins stop in HK
6 nights manila

(Manila to tokyo non stop; 3 nights then non stop back to dallas)

Does this itinerary qualify?
Answers (1)
Answered by John Doe | Feb. 16, 2019 08:58

Asked by Janjor from UNITED KINGDOM | Feb. 13, 2019 05:32Reply
Is London-HK-Beijing-London an acceptable route, and how long would you need to stay in HK for?
Answers (3)
Answered by Paul from USA | Feb. 13, 2019 06:08

There is no limit in time needed in third country. However if your return flight Beijing > London lands in HK even for an hour (Cathay Pacific for example) then you will need a visa.
Answered by Janjor from UNITED KINGDOM | Feb. 13, 2019 07:02

Thank you - that is very kind. So just to confirm. LDN to HK (6 hour stay in HK), HK to Beijing (48 hour stay) then Beijing to London (Direct) is ok?
Answered by Paul from USA | Feb. 13, 2019 16:20

non-stop British Airways or Air China

Direct with stop in a third country such like Asiana through Seoul, Qatar Airways through Doha, Aeroflot through Moscow etc. you just cant travel through the Hong Kong Airport twice nor another Chinese city.
Asked by marifel from PHILIPPINES | Feb. 13, 2019 00:43Reply
Philippine passport holder. Please advice
I will fly to Osaka on the 12 of April 2019 from Bangkok, Thailand. I have 2 stop overs: 1 in Kunming for 7 hours and a Technical stop at Shanghai, China for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Do I still need to get a visa for the Shanghai Technical stop?
Answers (2)
Answered by Shirley | Feb. 13, 2019 01:51

You will be eligible for 24h twov in mainland China. No visa will be needed.
Answered by marifel from PHILIPPINES | Feb. 13, 2019 17:20

Thanks much for your help. Really appreciate it! :)
Asked by yoolykeme from USA | Feb. 12, 2019 15:17Reply
Does it matter where I come from?
I'm USA cit. Entering Asia through Singapore and will visit many countries. Will be entering China coming from the Philippines. Is this okay and does it matter what country I came from in order to be eligible for the visa, or does it just matter that I'm a US citizen and that I get the 72 hour twov as long as I show confirmed travel to the USA within the 72 hour time frame?
Answers (1)
Answered by Christina from DENMARK | Feb. 12, 2019 19:33

As long as you travel country A-Chinese qualifies city-country B, you will be able to apply the free transit in China after arrival.
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