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.

Read More: Top 10 Things to Do in Kunming

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- Last modified on Dec. 29, 2020 -
Questions & Answers on 144-hour Visa-free Transit in Kunming
Asked by shelley Lalonde from CANADA | Feb. 09, 2020 01:07Reply
will i need a visa for china
I am flying from Vancouver on Feb 27th to Thailand Via China I have a stopover in Nanjing China but not getting off the plane then I have a stopover in Kunming China for 17 1/2 hours. Am i able to use the 144 hour visa, I have the same flight from Thailand 3 weeks later.
Answers (1)
Answered by Joan from DENMARK | Feb. 09, 2020 17:28

No, I am afraid not. According to the situation, you need to apply for the China Visa in advance in your country.
Asked by Adrian from CANADA | Nov. 30, 2019 13:26Reply
Clarification of Visa in of one of the posts.
My departure from Vancouver–Kunming–Singapore on Dec 29 with an 11:55 hours transit has been explained in one of your posts above. So it's all good. It's my return from Singapore–Shanghai Pudong–Vancouver on Feb 14 that I'm concern about. It wasn't clear to me in one of your posts. I will be in transit in Shanghai Pudong for 2:25 hours. I will be staying in the airport. Do I need a 24-hour visa plus go through custom, process visa, claim baggage, check-in again and go through custom again? I'm not sure 2:25 hours is sufficient enough for this whole process.
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Nov. 30, 2019 15:36

Adrian, it all depends on the type of your flight ticket. If your are flying on a single (through) ticket all the way from Singapore to Vancouver and by the same airline, you will not have to perform all the formalities you have mentioned. In this case, your luggage will be tagged all the way to Vancouver and you will not need a temporary entry permit. In other words, you will just remain within the transit area of the airport with short security and immigration checks. This is perfectly doable during your layover. Of course, I repeat, if you are traveling on a single (through) ticket.
Asked by Kate from CANADA | Nov. 23, 2019 13:40Reply
Require a visa to perform a self-transfer in Kunming?
My partner and I (Canadian citizens) are flying China Eastern from YVR --> NKG -->KMG --> BKK leaving Dec 29 and arriving Dec 31 and it says we need to do a self-transfer. Since the flight number is the same for YVR --> NKG and NKG --> KMG but different for KMG --> BKK I imagine the only self-transfer we need to do is at KMG? On the skyscanner website it says we "must pass through security and passport control during each connection and [we] will need a visa if [our] connection is in a country that requires one". Will we need to / be able to get a free 24 hour visa to get our bags and go back through security? We only have a 3.5 hr layover in KMG so we will not be leaving the airport.
Thanks so much!
Answers (2)
Answered by ZUPAN | Nov. 24, 2019 04:39

Part one:

Kate, we need more information about the details of your itinerary, especially the portion that passes through China. The most important detail is your entire transit time, calculated from your first arrival in China, in your case in Nanjing, until your final departure from China, in your case from Kunming.

You will be obviously fly on China Eastern flight MU216 from Vancouver to Kunming with a short layover in Nanjing. After that, I assume that you will continue also on China Eastern flight MU757.

If I'm right, your first arrival will be at 14:45 (2:45pm) in Nanjing and your final departure will be at 14:30 (2:30pm) from Kunming. So, if this is the case, you are perfectly eligible for 24 hour visa free transit and you don't need any kind of visa because your entire transit time in China will be less than 24 hours.

As far as your luggage is concerned, this detail always depends on airline, in your case, China Eastern policy and you can expect the range from collecting and rechecking your luggage at every stop, until the possibility that your luggage is tagged all the way to Kathmandu. My experience tells me that this could be the most likely outcome. This detail you will know only during your check-in in Vancouver where you should not forget to ask for this very important detail.
Answered by ZUPAN | Nov. 24, 2019 04:39

Part two:

You will print out your flight tickets and have those printouts with you. Also, you will declare at check-in in Vancouver that you will travel to Kathmandu via China using 24 hour visa free transit. After a short inspection of your tickets, you will be allowed to board the plane. Again, you should not forget to ask about your luggage!

Upon your arrival in Nanjing, you will apply for a temporary entry permit at 24 hour visa free transit counter that will be definitely granted to you because the next portion, Nanjing to Kunming, although on the same plane and under the same flight number, is considered a domestic flight. You can also expect that those passengers that proceed to Kunming, will get a herd leader that will take care of the formalities. If this happen to be the case, youst follow him/her and listen to his/her instructions. The stamp that you will receive here will allow you to exit the airport in Kunming and to have a decent sleep after such a long journey.

Basically, this is it and I would suggest you to look at your flight itinerary, so that we can confirm everything above mentioned. In reality, this will be less stressful than you think about it right now. It is essential that you travel relaxed because this 24 hour visa free transit system is already used by literally millions.

OK, hear from you soon.
Asked by Hyun from SOUTH KOREA | Nov. 18, 2019 22:46Reply
South Korea - Qindao Airport(stay 5hours) - Kunming Airport(stay 14hours, overnight) - 3rd country
I am travelling from South Korea to Myanma via Qingday Liuting International Airport, via Changshui International Airport. Is it available to stay in the city with "144-hour visa-free transit"?

For reference, I do not go outside the airport in Qingdao.
But I will leave the airport and stay overnight in the city. The combined time for both airports is 19 hours.
Answers (3)
Answered by ZUPAN | Nov. 19, 2019 13:42

Hyun, you are not eligible for 144 hour visa free transit because of two consecutive stops within mainland China, but you are eligible for 24 hour visa free transit and that is perfectly suitable for your needs. You just need to calculate your entire transit within mainland China in different way. This type of visa free transit is calculated from your first scheduled landing, in your case in Qingdao, until your final departure from China, in your case from Kunming. So, if your entire transit time is less than 24 hours, you will be perfectly covered by 24 hour visa free transit and you don't need any kind of visa.

You will just print out your flight tickets and have those printouts with you. Also, you will declare at check-in in South Korea that you will travel to Myanmar via China using 24 hour visa free transit. After a short inspection of your tickets, you will be allowed to board the plane.

Upon your arrival in Qingdao, you will approach 24 hour visa free transit counter where you will apply for a temporary entry permit that will be granted to you because your next flight is purely domestic. Upon your arrival in Kunming, you will go to your hotel to have an overnight and after that you will proceed by your flight to Myanmar.

Hyun, you are advised to calculate carefully your entire transit time in China where you have to take into account also a time spent on a domestic flight between Qingdao and Kunming.
Answered by Hyun from SOUTH KOREA | Nov. 19, 2019 18:06

Thank you for kind answer.
When I go to Myanmar from Korea, I arrive at Qingdao at 15:25(January 1). And the departure time from Kunming to the third country is 14:20(January 2). Therefore, staying in China is about 23 hours including flight time between China and China. Is it possible to issue a 24 free transit visa?

And when I go back to Korea, I go via Kunming.
Myanmar-Kunming(stay 5hours at Kunming airport)-South Korea is my schedule.

Therefore, when I go to Myanmar on January 1, I will stay in China for 23 hours, and when I return to Korea on January 8, I will stay in China for 5 hours.
So, should I get a paid visa? Or is it possible with a "24-hour visa free"?
Answered by ZUPAN | Nov. 20, 2019 12:14

Yes, your itinerary is perfectly eligible for 24 hour visa free transit and you don't need any kind of visa.

You should do exactly as I have written in my first post and you will enjoy your travel through China and even make a short exploration of Kunming during your transit. You can really travel with complete peace of mind because all that you have presented is within the rules.

Also, you are perfectly eligible for 24 hour visa free transit for your journey back to South Korea. You really don't have to good anywhere to ask for visa or any other formality. Just print out your flight tickets, appear at check-in and enjoy your travel. You are perfectly fine :)
Asked by Vladi from GERMANY | Nov. 09, 2019 03:42Reply
Hi, can I visit with the 144-hour-visa also Shangri La and Lijiang? Thanks Vladimir
Answers (3)
Answered by ZUPAN | Nov. 09, 2019 04:24

Unfortunately, you are not allowed to do that because the mentioned places are outside of the area allowed for stay and move when traveling on 144 hour TWOV in Kunming.
Answered by jyeh from USA | Dec. 15, 2019 08:09

Is it possible to apply for a 30 day tourist visa after arriving in Kunming?
Answered by Ann from USA | Dec. 15, 2019 18:55

I think it is impossible.
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