China 72-hour Visa

Air travelers holding a passport from 53 countries can have access to the 72-hour visa in nearly twenty cities of China as long as they meet the requirements. This allows them to take a short China tour up to 72 hours without obtaining a visa in advance. As the 72-hour visa-free transit procedure is fast and totally free for visitors, it saves the money and time consumed by the regular China visa application process.

Now, the 72-hour visa is available in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xi'an, Chongqing, Harbin, Guilin, Kunming, Wuhan, Xiamen, Qingdao, Changsha, Tianjin, Shenyang, Dalian, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Shijiazhuang, and Qinhuangdao.

* Note that in Guangdong, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Shenyang, Dalian, Shijiazhuang, Qinhuangdao, Chengdu, Xiamen, Qingdao, Wuhan, Xi'an, Chongqing and Kunming, the 72-hour visa exemption has been extended to 144-hour visa-free transit.

Confirm your eligibility for 72-hour visa before departure

Travelers must confirm their eligibility for 72-hour visa-free transit scheme before leaving to not ruin their China trips.

1. Check whether you hold a valid passport from one of the countries listed below:

 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

2. Check your flight itinerary

72-hour visa-free transit route
Eligible Flight Route

This is the most critical but confusing step when confirming whether you qualify for the 72-hour visa.

 First, make sure that your flight route is Country A → China (B) → Country C. A and C are different countries and can include Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan. B is the transit city in China. You must have an onward ticket to country C with a confirmed seat and date.

 Second, remember that you can transit only in one Chinese city, which means two stops in China would make you ineligible for this visa-free transit.

 Third, calculate your flight layover in the city involved. The layover should be less than 72 hours, but since it counts from 00:00 of the day following your arrival, you may actually stay a little longer than 72 hours.

3. Have a visa for the destination country if required

You should obtain a visa for the country you will visit immediately after the layover in China if you are required to have one. Of course, if you enjoy free entry to the country, it's not needed. If you wish to get a visa on arrival at the destination country, you should obtain a document proving that you are able to do so.

6 steps to apply for China's 72-hour visa

1. Inform your airline when boarding
2. Fill out an Arrival/Departure Card on the flight
3. Apply for the 72-hour visa at the designated counter upon arrival
4. Claim luggage
5. Go through the custom
6. Leave airport

If you will stay for more than 24 hours in China, you need to register your stay at the local police station within 24 hours of your arrival. Hotels can do this for you, but if you lodge at a friend's or relative's house, you will need to visit the police station in person with your host.

Take a visa-free tour during the layover

As you are allowed to go out of the airport when using the 72-hour visa-free transit, why not take advantage of this to take a tour in the transit city? Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xi'an, Chengdu, Xiamen, Guilin, and Hangzhou all rank among the best travel destinations within China. Exploring cities can uncover a corner of China in front of your eyes and provide a fun experience. See some of the best visa-free tour packages.

- Last updated on May. 15, 2023 by Catherine He -
Questions & Answers on China 72-hour Visa
Asked by A. SHAM from USA | Jun. 03, 2023 12:43Reply
How does the 72hours visa free works for cruise travelers?
I'm flying from USA to embark a Holland America cruise from Hong Kong, then 2nd port overnight in Shanghai, then will go to S. Korea and last disembark in Japan; do I qualify for 72 hrs visa free? Do I have to do normal visa application or it is a landing visa or it means don't have to apply at all? Or cruiselines will arrange Chinese Immigration officers to stamp for cruise travelers?
Answers (1)
Answered by Jack | Jun. 05, 2023 02:16

In fact, you are eligble for the 15-day visa-free policy for cruise tour groups (at least two people), so there is no need to apply it in advance.
Asked by David from THE NETHERLANDS | May. 15, 2023 05:43Reply
visit both Shanghai and Guangzhou?
What if I want to visit 2 cities, first Guangzhou and few days later Shanghai.. within a period of 144/hours?
I thought of the following solution to make this happen
Hong Kong - Guangzhou .. and fly out to HongKong again
few days later
Hong Kong - Shanghai - Amsterdam

Is such schedule allowed on 144-hour visa-free transit
Answers (1)
Answered by Sally | May. 15, 2023 19:54

The first itinerary is a return journey not transit but the second is okay. For the first one, you can change it to: fly from HK to Guangzhou and then take a ferry to Macau , then move on back to HK.
Asked by Sunny Yee from SINGAPORE | Apr. 17, 2023 06:18Reply
applying for 144 hours free visa to Guangzhou
I am travelling to Hong Kong and intend to go Guangzhou for shopping and later I depart Guangzhou to Macau by train. Am I able to get the 144 hours free visa to enter Guangzhou.
Answers (1)
Answered by Vicky | Apr. 18, 2023 20:57

The route is eligible. But you need to fly into Guangzhou and a hard copy of the ticket leaving Guangzhou for Macau is needed, when ferry is the most feasible.
Asked by Ching from UNITED STATES | Mar. 19, 2023 06:08Reply
144-hour visa-free transit questions
I am holding US passport. I have round trip ticket US <> Taiwan. If I visit China from Taiwan to China with different airports transfer entering China and leaving China (see route below), am I eligible for 144-hour visa-free transit ?
- US > Taiwan
- Taiwan > Shanghai (transfer in Hong Kong)
- Shanghai > Taiwan (transfer in Macau)
- Taiwan > US.
Answers (2)
Answered by Borut | Mar. 19, 2023 09:22

All that matters is the segment:

Hong Kong - Shanghai - Macau

If Shanghai remains the only airport within Mainland China, you are perfectly eligible for 144 hours visa free transit in winder Shanghai area
Answered by Borut | Mar. 20, 2023 03:55

All that matters in your case is just a portion:

Honk Kong - Shanghai - Macau

Everything else before and after that is irrelevant. So, if this is your route and your flights within this route are of nonstop type, you are definitely eligible for 144 hours visa free transit in wider Shanghai area.
Asked by Hillechien Frew from AUSTRALIA | Jan. 25, 2020 17:11Reply
We are flying from Australia to Shanghai and board a cruise ship after a 48 hours
We are flying from Australia to Shanghai and board a cruise ship after a 48 hours stop over, we then cruise from Shanghai to Busan South Korea, can we use the 144 hour visa on arrival in Shanghai?
Answers (1)
Answered by Gill from DENMARK | Feb. 01, 2020 21:34

Yes, you can use the 144h visa-free transit upon arrival in Shanghai.
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