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 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 May. 22, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on 144-hour Visa-free Transit in Kunming
Asked by brenna from USA | Jun. 15, 2019 10:07Reply
can you have 2 visa free visits in a short amount of time?
flying on 11/25 from US - Kunming (16 hr layover) - Bangkok
one week later, I'm returning from Bangkok - Shanghai (6 hr layover) - US

would both of my layovers qualify for the visa free program? I understand I may be denied at shanghai due to the length of my layover.
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Jun. 15, 2019 13:40

Brenna, you are definitely eligible for 24 hours visa free transit both in Kunming and in Shanghai. You would be even eligible for 144 hours visa free transit with your itineraries, but you are staying in both places for just a short time, so 24 hours applies. Anyway, I understand that your key points are the possibility of entry into China, i.e. exits from the airport. According to the law that regulates the entire visa free transit structure, there are no limits on number and frequency of temporary entry permits (exits from the airport), but there is so called discretionary right of immigration officials to determine whether they will allow you the exit or not. In general, the longer the layover, the chances are increasing, also if the layover is during the night and you have brought accommodation booking confirmation, this is almost certain to be allowed to exit the airport. OK, I will conclude and tell you that your chances to exit the airport in Kunming are very good and in Shanghai next to impossible. Of course, if you fly by China Eastern Airlines all the way from Bangkok to US, you should forget about the exit, but in case that you have different airlines and have to collect your luggage and even make a new check-in, then they will simply have to allow you to exit the transit zone, but here we have a question of time that is left to you for a quick stroll in the city because Shanghai airport, as the second largest in China is quite time consuming.
Asked by John from LAOS | Jun. 10, 2019 03:48Reply
Flying into Kunming from LAOS, then Beijing, then fly to BKK, Thailand
Greetings, i wanted to book a trip next month and take advantage (if possible) of this 144 hour Visa :: Vientiane, LAOS to Kunming, one night there, then Kunming to Beijing, three days/nights there, then Beijing to Bangkok, THAILAND.

Would this be possible?

Thank, John
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | Jun. 10, 2019 04:27

No, it wouldn't. You should have in mind that 144 hours visa free transit is available just within one transit area in mainland China and if you travel through two different transit areas, you are limited to just 24 hours! Essentially you have to choose which one of destinations within mainland China you prefer and fly there.

So, you can choose between:

Vientiane - Kunming - Bangkok
Vientiane - Beijing - Bangkok

Please, keep in mind that in each case, the flights have to be nonstop.

I assume that your original itinerary is probably cheaper, but as least you still didn't buy your tickets and you can take a decision that will suite you best. By the way, there is no "144 hours visa", but 144 hours visa free transit (no visa, without visa)... It is necessary to use correct terminology to avoid any possible misunderstandings.
Asked by Sherry from PHILIPPINES | May. 22, 2019 03:41Reply
Dubai to Bangkok with 6 hours layover in kunming
Hello, I am holding Philippines passport. I am traveling from Dubai to Bangkok with 6 hours layover in the city. Do I need visa to go outside to spend the 6 hours layover?
Answers (1)
Answered by ZUPAN | May. 22, 2019 12:39

If Kunming is your only stop within mainland China and your layover is 6 hours, you are definitely qualified for 24 hours visa free transit. Anyway, I sincerely doubt that you will be allowed to exit the airport since all transit times less than 8 hours are usually regarded as too short. Of course, you can apply for 24 hours free entry permit upon your arrival maybe you will be granted a permit, but be prepared to be rejected.
Asked by Gracia from PHILIPPINES | May. 19, 2019 03:35Reply
Philippine Passport but have UAE Residents Working Visa
I have a layover of 23hrs and 30 minutes in Kunming Airport... From Philippines to KM to Dubai... Am I allowed to go out the airport to have some tour for 23hrs with the free transit visa or i still need to apply visa?

Answers (3)
Answered by ZUPAN | May. 19, 2019 15:18

Gracia, your itinerary is definitely covered by 24 hours visa free transit, so you don't need any kind of visa. Also, upon your landing in KM you can apply for 24 hours free entry permit to be allowed to exit the airport. In order to secure your exit you should bring your flight ticket and also your accommodation booking in hard copy. By presenting this to the relevant authorities, you will be allowed to exit the airport, explore the city and to have a normal overnight. By the way, there are no direct connections between Manila and Kunming. Do you maybe fly by Lucky Air from Cebu?
Answered by Gracia from PHILIPPINES | May. 20, 2019 00:08

My itenerary would be Manila - Shanghai 1hr layover - Kunming 23hrs layover going to Dubai... Thanks for the reply, its so helpful.. 😁
Answered by ZUPAN | May. 20, 2019 03:58

Gracia, now you have opend a problematic detail... Well, in case that you first arrive in Shanghai where your layover is 1 hour, and later 23 hours in KM, you have to add a flight time between Shanghai and KM to all of this. Unfortunately, this brings you to more than 24 hours, thus making you ineligible for 24 hours visa free transit.

Please, could you write down you exact time beginning from your arrival in Shanghai until your departure from KM. Thanks.
Asked by Manuel from MEXICO | May. 01, 2019 16:09Reply
Transit_Kunming Changshui International Airport KMG
I am flying in from MEXICO to SHANGHAI. ONE day I´ll go to Shanghai to Myanmar. My flight stops off at Changshui International Airport KMG and I leave the city next day. Do I need a visa?
Answers (1)
Answered by CDKING from US | May. 01, 2019 19:40

You will need a visa unless the time between scheduled arrival in Shanghai and scheduled departure from KM is under 24 hours. In order to get the 144 hours visa free you can only have a landing in a single Chinese city and must be non-stop to the third country.
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