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 if you are transiting in Guangdong, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Shenyang, Dalian, Shijiazhuang, Qinhuangdao, Chengdu, Xiamen, Qingdao, Wuhan, or 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 Aug. 29, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on China 72-hour Visa
Asked by Erin Redman from UNITED STATES | Sep. 19, 2019 11:09Reply
Departing ticket proof
As we wont have our actual tickets for our flight leaving to Taiwan as we wont have been able to check in yet, can we just have the printed copies of the confirmation from Delta to show that we have tickets out of the country? Just want to make sure we have what we need to prove we are indeed leaving. Thank you!
Answers (1)
Answered by Bernie from UNITED KINGDOM | Sep. 22, 2019 20:35

Yes, you can.
Asked by GC from USA | Sep. 17, 2019 23:27Reply
Visa for 5 days in Beijing?
We are traveling from the US to Tokyo (a few-hour layover) and to Beijing. We will be in Beijing for 5 days before flying to Tokyo to be there for a week before flying back to the US. Do we need a visa to be in Beijing for 5 days, or can we take advantage of the 144 hour visa free status?
Answers (1)
Answered by Anna from GERMANY | Sep. 18, 2019 20:12

You can take advantage of the 144h visa-free transit.
Asked by Adam Smith from UNITED KINGDOM | Aug. 28, 2019 04:55Reply
2 day stopover in Beijing - UK Citizen/Passport
Hi there,

I arrive in Beijing around 06:35am on 24th Nov, and leave at 3pm on the 26th Nov. I have proof that I am arriving from Kuala Lumpur and leaving to go Houston TX (seats are already booked and pre-paid) on my e-ticket. Is this sufficient enough to obtain a free transit visa (72-144 hours). I will be staying in a hostel, so can register with them (regarding Police). I am going to get it in writing about the visa from the airline and the Chinese Embassy. Anything else I need to obtain?
Answers (2)
Answered by Laura from USA | Aug. 28, 2019 20:05

Your passport and the ticket to Houston with confirmed seat and date are enough for the 72/144 visa-free transit.
Answered by Adam from UNITED KINGDOM | Aug. 29, 2019 01:49

Hi Laura,

Does it matter that my flight ticket from KL goes direct to Beijing, and then 2 days later my flight from Beijing goes direct to Houston TX? With all this proof, I will be allowed to leave the airport (for free), and then come back 2 days later to take my direct flight to USA?
Asked by kaan aslan from TURKEY | Aug. 27, 2019 03:53Reply
do i need to apply for transit visa ?or i can just pass by boarding ticket?
hi ,i am holding turkey passport and i wanna transfer by beijing airport for 7 hours and then fly to taipei,in this case do i need to apply for transit visa ?or i can just pass by boarding ticket??
Answers (1)
Answered by Edward from UNITED KINGDOM | Aug. 28, 2019 01:34

Kaan, you don't need to apply for transit visa as you are eligible for the 24h visa-free transit.
Asked by Liam from AUSTRALIA | Aug. 14, 2019 14:38Reply
Layover in Hong Kong OK?
I’m traveling directly from Sydney to Shanghai, arriving Thursday evening and depart Sunday midday to Hong Kong (3 hr layover) then onto Brisbane. Do I qualify?
Answers (1)
Answered by Logan from UNITED KINGDOM | Aug. 15, 2019 00:22

Yes, you qualify. Even a touchdown in Hong Kong counts.
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