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China Visa on Arrival

Foreigners normally need to obtain a visa for a trip to China before departure, while in certain cases they are likely to get a China visa on arrival at entry ports. The validity counts from the day following your entry and only one entry is allowed. Once you exit from China, the VOA expires.

Below are two cases where you can apply for China visa on arrival:

Visa on Arrival at Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Xiamen, and Hainan for Tourists

Visa on Arrival Valid for Eligible Ports Areas Allowed to Stay
In Shenzhen 5 days Luohu (Lo Wu), Huanggang, Shekou and Fuyong ports, Shenzhen Airport Shenzhen
In Zhuhai 3 days Gongbei, Hengqin and Jiuzhou ports Zhuhai
In Xiamen 5 days Xiamen Airport Xiamen
In Hainan 30 days Haikou Airport, Sanya Airport, cruise ports in Haikou and Sanya Mainland China

In comparison with others, Hainan enjoys more privileges for issuing a VOA besides the Hainan 30-Day Visa-Free Access. The landing visa you get in Hainan can last as long as 30 days. You can use it to visit other cities in mainland China and exit from all ports open to foreigners. In addition, the VOA is also available for international cruise ship travelers who disembark in Haikou or Sanya.

Who is eligible?

Passport holders of most countries can easily get a VOA, such as the US, France, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland and Spain.

Some may apply for it by showing passports with proof that they have been issued a Chinese visa before by embassies and consulates, such as Indonesians and Filipinos.

Countries not eligible include Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Cameroon, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Israel, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Sudan, Turkey, Uganda, and Yemen.

How to apply?

When you get to the VOA office at the border, just complete the application form, take a photo and pay the fee. The visa will be issued within 5 to 10 minutes. You may need to wait longer if the room is busy.

In Shenzhen, Zhuhai, and Xiamen, what you need for the application is just a valid passport, while if you apply for the Hainan visa on arrival, return ticket and hotel bookings are required as well.

What's the cost for China visa on arrival?

It costs CNY 168 for applicants of most countries, but UK nationals have to pay CNY 304 based on a reciprocal basis. Only CNY is accepted for payment and HK dollars are not accepted.


1. There are nearly 10 ports linking Shenzhen with Hong Kong, while tourists can only get the Shenzhen VOA from Luohu, Huanggang, Fuyong, Shekou, and the airport. Please be cautious when travelling to Shenzhen from Hong Kong to find the right port.

2. Upon arriving at the Gongbei immigration building in Zhuhai, you can find the office by passing all the duty free shops; it is behind a green door on the right hand side of the immigration building. Currency can be changed at the China Tourist Services Office back downstairs in the immigration hall.

Visa on Arrival for Travelers in Emergencies

Aliens may, under circumstances where they must necessarily rush to China but have no time for an application, apply for a visa on arrival at entry ports as authorized by the Ministry of Public Security.

This always requires an invitation from an accredited Chinese organization which explains the emergency, mostly related to business purposes that from the Chinese perspective it is important that you be admitted without delay, or that you are in a life-and-death situation.

 Warning: Not all applicants are guaranteed to obtain a landing visa, thus it's advised to get a visa in advance if time permits. See details on how to apply for a China visa.

- Last modified on May. 17, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on China Visa on Arrival
Asked by Lena | Aug. 17, 2019 23:22Reply
Question about visa
Hi. I am in usa not citizen planning to get a chinese tourist visa, do i need another visa to go to hainan?
And also I have a friend who already has a chinese student visa and want to go to sanya, yalong bay, does he need another visa too?
Thank you
Asked by Jo Han from UNITED KINGDOM | Aug. 16, 2019 05:43Reply
only fly in and fly out shenzhen for 4 days visit
I fly in Shenzhen from London, but need to transfer in Beijing, then stay at Shenzhen for 4 nights, fly back to London, but transfer in Beijing again, do I need China visa?? thanks!!!
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Aug. 16, 2019 09:16

Yes, you do. Simply speaking, your itinerary is not eligible for any kind of visa free transit and VOA too. You are transiting through two Chinese transit zones in a row and that is not allowed, you also plan to travel on domestic flights and you are not in a transit. I'm sorry, but you will have to obtain a Chinese tourist (L) visa in advance. Assuming that you are a UK citizen, you should keep in mind that you are eligible for long term (multi year) multiple entry visa, but you have to ask for one at the time of your application. You should argument your request by saying that you plan to travel to China quite often in the near future.
Asked by Martin from SLOVAKIA | Aug. 15, 2019 19:51Reply
Slovak Passport holder eligible for Shenzhen VOA?
Hi can somebody tell me if Slovak passport holder is eligible for Shenzhen VOA?
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Aug. 16, 2019 09:10

Slovak citizens are definitely eligible for Shenzhen VOA. Recommended border crossing to obtain a Shenzhen VOA is Lo Wu / Luohu. Bring you passport a passport size photo and keep in mind that you will pay for your visa (168 CNY) in Chinese currency.
Asked by Qing Yun from INDONESIA | Aug. 15, 2019 00:07Reply
Visa on Arrival to Hainan for Indonesia passport
Please advise if I can have visa on arrival at Haikou Airport. I am Indonesia passport holder. I plan to fly from Singapore to Haikou for holidays purpose in Hainan island. Thank you
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Aug. 15, 2019 01:00

You are not eligible for visa on arrival, but you are perfectly eligible for 30 day visa free access. In other words, you should choose one of the local agencies that will support you with your travel to Hainan. You should make an initial contact with the agency by telling them roughly about your planned dates and the places you would like to visit and after roughly 3 to 4 working days of correspondence you will have their positive confirmation that your 30 day visa free access is granted. This 30 day visa free access is free of charge, but the rule has allowed the agencies to negotiate with the passenger to Hainan about the service he/she is supposed to book from the agency. Prospective passengers choose a service from a wide spectrum of different offers and in most cases an airport transfer will suffice.
Asked by Fred from NETHERLANDS | Aug. 13, 2019 04:14Reply
Shenzhen AirPort to Hong Kong
Is it possible to land in Shenzhen AirPort, apply for visa on Arrival in Shenzhen and travel to HK?
Answers (3)
Answered by ZUPAN | Aug. 13, 2019 09:41

Yes, it is possible, but you should take care that your flight arrives directly and without any kind of stop within mainland China. Anyway, in my opinion, since you will continue your travel to HK, much better option is to travel on 144 hour visa free transit. This option allows you to fly directly into Shenzhen and to depart, after at least 24 hours and 1 minute in Shenzhen, to Hong Kong by ferry. This option is absolutely free (there is no charge) and it also allows you to travel throughout Guangdong province.

Think about it and I sincerely encourage you to use this 144 hour TWOV option.
Answered by Fred from NETHERLANDS | Aug. 13, 2019 23:53

Thanks for your reply, Zupan. I Will follow your advice!

Best regards,

Answered by ZUPAN | Aug. 14, 2019 08:07

Just a few details regarding the ferry... Before your journey begins, you have to book a ferry from Shenzhen Shekou port to Hong Kong Macau ferry terminal through CKS - Chu Kong Passenger Transport company website. You will receive an e-confirmation in your inbox that you will print out and bring it with you as a proof for your transit all the way to Hong Kong. You will use this e-confirmation to collect your real paper ticket at Shenzhen Shekou terminal. Please, have in mind that you have to travel exactly by that ferry you have bough your ticket for.
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