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 modified on Feb. 01, 2020 -
Questions & Answers on China 72-hour Visa
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.
Asked by Jen from UNITED KINGDOM | Jan. 05, 2020 10:21Reply
Hi we fly to Shanghai staying with a friend 5 days then heading onto Hanoi Vietnam does this qualify
Answers (1)
Answered by Evelyn from UNITED KINGDOM | Jan. 06, 2020 01:11

Jen, if you fly from the UK to Shanghai, stay there for 5 days, then head onto Hanoi, and you don't have other layovers in China on the way. you will be able to use the 144h visa-free transit in Shanghai.
Asked by Barb from USA | Dec. 08, 2019 18:42Reply
Is the application for the 72 hour visa the same as the 144 hour? Any differences?
Answers (1)
Answered by Alin from USA | Dec. 09, 2019 17:54

Yes, it's the same.
Asked by Svetlana from UKRAINE | Dec. 01, 2019 05:32Reply
Cruise from Japan
Hello! my cruise arrival from Japan to Shanghai at 7:00 a.m., where we will be until 11:00 a.m. the next day. then we fly home via Vienna to Ukraine. we can use free transit
Answers (4)
Answered by Alan from CANADA | Dec. 02, 2019 19:21

Yes, you can use it. Have a nice trip!
Answered by Svetlana from UKRAINE | Dec. 04, 2019 05:11

Once again I want to clarify. Vienna-Shanghai-Japan-Shanghai-Vienna. can I take free transit everywhere?
Answered by Alan | Dec. 09, 2019 17:54

You can enjoy visa-free transit in Shanghai twice for this route.
Answered by Svetlana from UKRAINE | Dec. 09, 2019 22:51

Thank you so much!
Asked by Lesley from NEW ZEALAND | Nov. 17, 2019 18:57Reply
I am on a cruise and stop in Hong kong for 2 days - will I need a visa to visit Macau - NZ Passport
Answers (1)
Answered by Fred from UNITED KINGDOM | Nov. 18, 2019 17:30

Lesley, you can enjoy visa-free entry for Macau as a New Zealand citizen.
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