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 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 Jan. 16, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on China 72-hour Visa
Asked by Megan from SOUTH AFRICA | Jan. 15, 2019 23:09Reply
South African passport holder having a 16hour layouver in Shenzhen, Shenzhen, China
I have a 16hour layover in Shenzhen, Shenzhen, China before departing for Phuket for holidays, am I egible for a 72-hour visa to book into one of the near by hotels?
Answers (1)
Answered by Jones | Jan. 16, 2019 17:07

You are eligible for 24h twov in Shenzhen.
Asked by Binit from INDIA | Jan. 07, 2019 22:11Reply
have an Indian passport and travelling from India to US via Bejing. Am I eligible for 72 hour twov?
Answers (1)
Answered by George from FINLAND | Jan. 08, 2019 17:38

You are not eligible for that. But if your layover time in Beijing is less than 24 hours, you can use 24h twov.
Asked by s donati from ITALY | Jan. 06, 2019 04:32Reply
I am a Professor lecturing different locationsin China.
I have to fly this itinerary: from Taiwan to Nanjing to Taiwan, is it possible ? or alterantively Taiwan to Nanjing to Hong Kong, can I do that on 72 or 144 visa-free ?
If not, will it be good this itinerary: Taiwan to Nanjing to Tokyo ? thanks for answering
S Donati
Answers (1)
Answered by Dawson | Jan. 06, 2019 19:29

Taiwan to Nanjing to Hong Kong and Taiwan to Nanjing to Tokyo are both fine for applying the free transit.
Asked by Niels from NETHERLANDS | Jan. 02, 2019 05:18Reply
Multi City Itinary
Dear reader,

I will travel from Amsterdam to Manilla, Manilla to Shanghai and then from Shanghai back to Amsterdam on a Dutch passport. Transit time in Shanghai is around 72 hours. Can I travel with a 144h twov?

Thanks in advance for your reply.

Kind regards,
Answers (1)
Answered by Massey from ESTONIA | Jan. 03, 2019 17:33

Yes, you can travel with a 144h twov.
Asked by Markus from USA | Dec. 29, 2018 12:34Reply
Airline ticket on different airlines
I purchased a round trip ticket from Guam to Beijing on one airlines. And then purchased another round trip ticket on another airlines from Beijing to another country in europe. I wanted to stay in Beijing for 2 days before going to final destination. Do I qualify?
Answers (1)
Answered by Fields from DENMARK | Jan. 01, 2019 19:42

Yes, you qualify for the free transit in Beijing.
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