144-hour Visa-free Transit in Kunming

Kunming in Yunnan China has implemented the 144-hour visa-free transit program. Passport holders of the 53 qualifying countries can be granted a visa- free stay of up to 144 hours if they transfer via Kunming Changshui Airport on the way to a third country. During the stay, they can leave the airport, making it possible to conduct a layover tour.

Who qualifies for the 144-hour visa-free transit? - List of 53 Countries

 American Countries: US, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile

 Oceania Countries: Australia, New Zealand

 Schengen Agreement Countries: Austria, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland

 Other European Countries: UK, Ireland, Russia, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Belarus, Monaco

 Asian Countries: South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Qatar

Areas Allowed to Stay

Currently, passengers transiting in Kunming are only allowed to move around in this city if they wish to enjoy the 144-hour visa-free transit. It means those who want to take a tour to Lijiang, Dali, Xishuangbanna, or other cities need to get a normal visa.

What Is an Eligible Route?

Departure Country A: → Kunming → The Third Country C

It indicates that:
1) Passengers can only stop in one mainland Chinese city, namely Kunming. Multiple domestic stops are not allowed;
2) Passengers need to enter Kunming from Country A and then leave for Country C. A and C should be different countries, which means they cannot return to the departure Country A immediately after the layover in Kunming.
Note that Country A and C can be foreign countries, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.

What Are the Required Documents?

1. Your passport, valid for not less than three months at the time of entry
2. A flight ticket to a third country with confirmed date and seat (standby flight ticket doesn’t work)
3. A visa to the third country if required
4. The Arrival / Departure Card

How to Apply for a 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit in 6 Steps

144-hour visa-free transit

1. Inform the airline when boarding
2. Fill out an Arrival/ Departure Card
3. Apply for the 144-hour visa-free stay permit upon arrival
4. Claim your luggage
5. Go through the customs
6. Leave the airport

What Are the Eligible Transit Ports?

In Kunming, the 144-hour visa-free transit is only available at Changshui International Airport. It means you have to fly in and fly out. Land ports in Yunnan do not issue a 144-hour visa-free stay permit.

Inquiry No. of Changshui Airport: 0086-871-96566

What Can I Do in Kunming During the 144 Hours?

Tour around the Dianchi Lake

If the length of your stay is short, you can take a tour around Dianchi Lake, which is about 40 km (25 mi) from the airport. Choose one from the Grand View Park or Haigeng Park to take in the beauty of the lake. If your visit is during the period from October to March, you can see a wide range of migrant birds wintering in these parks. Yunnan Nationalities Village also lies near the lake, where you can appreciate the architecture and folk customs of 26 of China's ethnic groups.

Marvel at the Stone Forest

The Stone Forest, located in Shilin Yi Nationality Autonomous County of Kunming, is about 2 hours' drive from the airport. Here you can see many karst limestone formations created by nature, resembling caves, animals, and giant columns. Direct tourist buses between Changshui Airport and the scenic area are available, making it easy to arrange a day trip.

Take a photography tour to Dongchuan Red Land

Unless your flight schedule is tight, it's a great idea to take a two-day visit to the Dongchuan Red Land. Here swathes of bright red soil contrast with the colors of seasonal crops and plants and is often compared to an artist's palette overturned by God. Shutterbugs should not miss the chance to take a stopover tour in Dongchuan Red Land, especially when your visit is during late April to early May, late August to early September, or mid-November to December when the colors are most vibrant.

144-Hour Visa-Free Transit in Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang
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144-Hour Visa-Free Transit in Xiamen
144-Hour Visa-Free Transit in Wuhan
144-Hour Visa-Free Transit in Chengdu
144-Hour Visa-Free Transit in Qingdao
144-Hour Visa-Free Transit in Guangdong
- Last modified on Aug. 11, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on 144-hour Visa-free Transit in Kunming
Asked by puja from NEPAL | Aug. 11, 2019 10:06Reply
Entering Kunming city
My husband is travelling from Nepal to san francisco (round trip) with China Eastern having Kunming airport as transit. He was given 1 day free visa on his layover and the hotel he stayed was around the airport and he did not have to enter to kunming city. But while returning from San francisco he has booked hotel right inside the Kunming city. Do you think there are any checking? (I saw there is a Kunming International Airport Entrance). Is the one day free visa is valid to go beyond that entrance point and go to Kunming city?

Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Aug. 11, 2019 16:09

By using correct terminology we can conclude that he was traveling on 24 hour visa free transit and he was granted 24 hour free entry permit. After he was granted an entry permit, he is allowed to travel to Kunming city as he wishes. Anyway, he should be aware that this entry permit is not a passenger's right, but it depends solely on discretion of immigration officials at the day of his arrival in Kunming.

It is true that in case of long layovers, especially those during the night, immigration officials usually grant entry permits to the passengers with advance hotel booking, exactly as your husband has done.

So, everything your husband has to do is to exactly repeat the procedure he has already done and his chances to be allowed to exit the airport are really very good.

I will just repeat that when he is granted an entry permit, he is allowed to stay close to the airport or to travel to the center of Kunming. It is entirely his decision and the Chinese authorities are fine with that.
Asked by sarah from USA | Aug. 03, 2019 20:49Reply
I received my passport over two months ago. Are they extremely strict on this 3 month validity?
And if I can't get a visa-free transport am I ok to get my bags and stay in the airport without a regular visa? I am flying with China Eastern, and I was told I have to pick up my bags, and re check them to fly onto Vietnam.
Answers (2)
Answered by ZUPAN | Aug. 04, 2019 09:51

Sarah, if you have received your passport over two months ago, it means that your passport has many years before it expires. In other words, you can freely use your passport for any kind of travel. I assume that you have mixed up the expiry date with the date of issue. The rule says nothing about new passports, but is says that passport can be used for transit purposes if it has at least 3 months before its expiry.
Answered by Sarah from USA | Aug. 04, 2019 21:39

Thank you for clarifying! I realized afterwards that is what you meant by validity.
Asked by Vance Hartzell from UNITED STATES | Aug. 03, 2019 18:27Reply
After staying 6 days (Oct.24 to Oct. 29) in Peking.
I travel back to LAX but with a 3 hour stop in Shanghai. Would I qualify for the 166 hour visa?
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Aug. 04, 2019 09:17

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as 166 hour visa. Also, you need a Chinese tourist (L) visa for your journey because you are not allowed to travel through two different Chinese transit zones if your journey is longer than 24 hours. Your journey is longer that 24 hours and you are transiting through two Chinese transit zones (Beijing and Shanghai).

So, you will have to obtain a visa in advance or rearrange your flights to avoid your layover in Shanghai or any other mainland Chinese city. In other words, you should find a flight that will take you directly out of China if you want to remain eligible for 144 hour visa free transit.
Asked by Edralin ishizaki from PHILIPPINES | Jul. 31, 2019 08:39Reply
Flying from Yangon Myanmar to Qingdao but have a layover in Kunming
Are we possible to get VOA in Qingdao ? Were flying from Yangon to Qingdao to watch soccer of my son representing Myanmar , i am a Filipino passport holder but have. 1 year visa in Yangon Myanmar as dependent visa of my Japanese husband and have a permanent visa in japan . thank you in advance
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Jul. 31, 2019 10:16

As I have already mentioned in your similar post in the other part of this forum, you will have to obtain a Chinese tourist (L) visa in advance since there is no Qingdao VOA. There is 24 or 144 hour visa free transit, but you obviously are not in transit and also, as a Philippine citizen, you are eligible for just 24 hour visa free transit.
Asked by Shareen from PHILIPPINES | Jul. 21, 2019 19:34Reply
Flying from Bangkok-Kunming (layover)-Philippines
We are Filipinos and will be flying back
To the Philippines from Bangkok with a 15 hrs layover to KM. Are we eligible for the 24 hr visa transit? We are planning to explore KM during our layover.

Thanks in advance.
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Jul. 22, 2019 13:40

Your itinerary is definitely qualified for 24 hour visa free transit, so you don't need any kind of visa. You should also adopt this, correct terminology and avoid using wrong terminology like "24 hr visa transit" in order to avoid any possible misunderstandings.

As far as your exit from the airport is concerned, you will have to apply for 24 hour free entry permit upon your landing in Kunming. I would say that your chances are very good to be granted this permit. Anyway, you should be aware that this permit is not a passenger's right, but more a privilege that is issued upon a discretion of immigration authorities on the day of your arrival in Kunming.
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