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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 Dec. 26, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on China Visa on Arrival
Asked by Sally Innes-Wayling from AUSTRALIA | Feb. 03, 2020 15:29Reply
Cruise ship visit to Shanghai and Hong Kong
Just wondering whether I (an Australian) need a visa to visit shanghai (12 hrs) and HK (12 hrs) from a cruise ship. The Princess Cruise ship is saying yes, I need to get one before leaving Australian, unless I take one of their shore excursions, while in the port. Is this correct or should I be able to get a visitors visa on arrival in both ports?
Answers (1)
Answered by Ada from UNITED KINGDOM | Feb. 08, 2020 19:50

Sally, if you hold an Australian passport, I can say that you don't need visa for HK. For the layover in Shanghai, you need to check whether your route is eligible for the 144h visa-free transit. If yes, you don't need a visa for Shanghai either.
Asked by Alfred Winklmayr from AUSTRALIA | Jan. 28, 2020 00:31Reply
Cruise Passengers Visa
I am considering to Join a Cruise, departing SHANGHAI on 14th February 2020
I intend to fly into Shanghai on 13th or 14th February - only to go from Airport to the Ship for embarkation.
I am a Citizen of AUSTRIA
What type of Visa will I need? How long will it take to process (I live in AUSTRALIA) and at what COST??
Reply - PLEASE asap
Answers (2)
Answered by Janez from SLOVENIA | Jan. 28, 2020 14:46

Alfred, you don't need any kind of visa because you will be covered by 24 hour visa free transit. You will just print out your flight and cruise tickets and you will declare at check-in in Australia that you will travel to the country that will follow immediately after Shanghai using 24 hour visa free transit.

You will be allowed to board the plane. After your landing in Shanghai you will approach 24 hour visa free transit counter where you will present the mentioned tickets. Shortly after, you will be allowed to leave the airport and to join your cruise. This is all free of any charge.
Answered by Alfred Winklmayr from AUSTRALIA | Feb. 01, 2020 12:21

I have now been informed, that the Cruise Company has changed the Itinerary - cancelled the Shanghai departure - and will leave from Singapore instead - due to the Virus
Asked by Paul KNight from UNITED KINGDOM | Jan. 23, 2020 05:41Reply
Shekou Cruise port for 9 hours
What sort of visa will I need in Shekou if calling on cruise ship for 9 hours. This ship will arrive from Singapore, and the next port is Hong Kong.
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Jan. 23, 2020 11:47

Your short trip to Shekou (Shenzhen in reality) will be covered by 24 hour visa free transit because your itinerary is eligible for this visa free options. Anyway, in case that you are required of some sort of visa, it is a good detail that Shekou port issues 5 day Shenzhen visa on arrival. In reality, you will enjoy 24 hour visa free transit, but I have mentioned this 5 day Shenzhen VOA just as a backup and for your peace of mind.
Asked by R from UKRAINE | Jan. 21, 2020 04:35Reply
Can US passport holder with reentery permit (based on Hong Kong residency) also hold a Chinese visa
I am a US citizen who was born in Hong Kong. I have a reentry permit which allows me to go to China (as a Chinese national) without visa. I am going to travel far inland and would prefer to use my US passport. Will I have problem applying for a visa from the Chinese embassy?
Answers (1)
Answered by Sandy from UNITED KINGDOM | Jan. 21, 2020 22:14

You can apply for a China visa from the embassy.
Asked by Jane from AUSTRALIA | Jan. 18, 2020 12:40Reply
Visa and entry
I am travelling to China for 12 months to work and by error have a single entry only.
Does this mean I cannot leave the city I am in and travel to Beijing for example .
Can I reapply for visa once in China .
Bit confused by the whole process - advice welcomed . I am an Australian citizen
Answers (1)
Answered by Rosie from IRELAND | Jan. 18, 2020 19:59

Jane, did you get a work Z visa? If yes, you can apply for a temporary residence permit within 30 days upon your arrive. After you get it, you can leave the city you are in and travel to Veijing, and you are allowed to travel out of the country and re-enter as long as the residence permit is still valid.
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