China 72-hour Visa

Air travelers holding a passport from 54 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, Norway, 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 Nov. 21, 2023 by Kate Liu -
Questions & Answers on China 72-hour Visa
Asked by Mart from DENMARK | Nov. 28, 2023 03:20Reply
Arriving in HK - visit in SZ - depart from HK
Hi, Im a Danish citizen arriving from Taiwan to HK, I want to visit friends in Shenzhen for 20 hours, then go back to HK and fly to Denmark. So arrive/depart in HK airport, but visit to SZ. Is this possible without a VISA ?
Can I get a VISA On Arrival (VOA) at Lo Wu (Luohu) gate ?
Answers (1)
Answered by Andrew | Nov. 29, 2023 01:32

You are eligible for the 5-day Shenzhen VOA and yes, you can get it at Luohu Port.
Asked by Jordan from UNITED KINGDOM | Nov. 27, 2023 16:51Reply
I'm a UK citizen. Can I travel from hong kong into China and back to hong kong for a day trip?
Answers (1)
Answered by Jessica | Nov. 29, 2023 01:17

Yes, you can get a 5-day Shenzhen visa on arrival at Luohu, Shekou or Huanggang port and the visa fee is a little expensive, CNY 834. However, it only allows you to stay in Shenzhen.
Asked by Jenn from MALAYSIA | Oct. 30, 2023 08:21Reply
malaysian getting a visa on arrival
hello, i am a PR in HK, holding a malaysian passport. I noticed that it doesn't mention 'Malaysia' on the list of eligible countries, but there shouldn't be an issue getting the VOA right? And where is the exact location for the Huanggang Visa office? It seems like I should get off at the bus stop instead of the Lok Ma Chau MTR line? Many thanks in advance!
Answers (3)
Answered by Helen | Oct. 31, 2023 17:56

I'm sorry but Malaysian passport holders are not eligible for the 72 or 144-hour visa-free transit.

Shenzhen has a 5-day VOA but Malaysian passport holders are highly rejected. So it is more recommended to obtains a China visa in advance.
Answered by Jenn | Nov. 15, 2023 19:22

Hi Helen,
I have just completed my trip to SZ. Your info is wrong and outdated.

The Lok Ma Chau office does not have a visa processing office anymore, so one would have to take a mini-bus outside the station and go to the Huanggang port to complete the visa process. Would suggest to arrive early, and be courteous to the port officers.

Malaysian passports ARE allowed to apply for VOA, and I was given a 144 hour pass.
Answered by Helen | Nov. 15, 2023 19:31

Hi, you are a lucky one but some Malaysian passport holders have been rejected before. This is not 144-hour visa-free transit but a 5-day Shenzhen visa on arrival. Anyway, enjoy your trip!
Asked by linda from HONGKONG | Sep. 03, 2023 20:18Reply
indonesian passport but permanent resident in hongkong
hi, may i ask if i can get any visa free to china ???, im holding indonesian passport but i do have hkid too (live in hkg more than 20 yrs)
Answers (1)
Answered by Kelly | Sep. 06, 2023 00:36

I'm sorry but you still need to apply for a visa in advance.
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.
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