China 72-hour Visa
Nowadays, 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, or Qinhuangdao, where the 72-hour visa-free scheme has been extended to 144-hour visa-free transit, you may end up applying for the 144-hour free entry instead of the 72-hour visa.
Confirm your eligibility for 72-hour visa before departure
Travelers must confirm their eligibility for this 72-hour visa-free transit scheme before leaving to not ruin their China trips.
1. Check whether you hold a valid passport of the countries 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
|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 also refer to Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. B is the transit city in China. Booking an onward ticket to country C with confirmed seat and date is a must.
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 it counts from 00:00 of the day following your arrival, so actually you may stay a little longer than 72 hours.
3. Check your visa for the destination country if required
You should prepare a visa for the country you will immediately visit after the layover in China if you are supposed to get 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 may need to 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 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 needed to register your stay at the local police station within 24 hours after entry. Hotels can do this for you, but if you lodge at a friend’s or relative’s house, you need to visit the police station in person with his or her company.
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 this advantage to make 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 presents you with a fun experience. See some of the best visa-free tour packages.
We are booked on a cruise that departs Shanghai on 3 February 2019 at 17h00.
Are we eligible for the 72 or 144 hour free transit (we have pre-booked accommodation in Shanghai for 3 nights, and will not be leaving Shanghai during that period)?