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 Nov. 03, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on China 72-hour Visa
Asked by jenny sopoco from UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | Nov. 03, 2019 04:44Reply
My boss is travelling to Shanghai on 6th November and has no valid visa.Could he enter Shanghai?
My boss is a French National and he needs to travel to Shanghai from Poland Krakow on 6th November and has no valid visa. Could he enter Shanghai on visa on arrival via 72 transit rule
Answers (1)
Answered by Beth from UNITED KINGDOM | Nov. 03, 2019 18:40

Jenny, will he leave Shanghai for another country after a stay of less than 144 hours? If the country is not Poland, he can actually enjoy the 144h visa-free transit in Shanghai.
Asked by Secretary from HOLLAND | Oct. 31, 2019 04:25Reply
Traveling from AMS - Nepal - Zhejiang
Can we apply for a transit visa if we travel from Amsterdam to Nepal to Zhejiang and back to Amsterdam? We will stay a maximum of 2 days in China.
Answers (1)
Answered by Conny from AUSTRALIA | Nov. 03, 2019 18:38

If you have a Netherlands passport, you can use the 144h visa-free transit in the region covering Zhejiang, Shanghai, and Jiangsu of China.
Asked by Niklas Eriksson from SVERIGE | Oct. 28, 2019 13:32Reply
48 hour shanghai transit visa
Hi we are planning on going Sweden - Germany - Shanghai - switzerland - Sweden,

With a 48 hour stay in Shanghai, is the assumption correct that we can enjoy the transit visa?
Answers (1)
Answered by Peter from UNITED KINGDOM | Oct. 29, 2019 19:42

Yes, you are right. Actually the 72h visa-free transit has been replaced by the 144h one a couple of years ago, so you can stay as long as 144 hours.
Asked by RD from SLOVAKIA | Oct. 21, 2019 04:07Reply
Slovakian from Vienna to Bali
I´m Slovakian, travelling from Vienna to Denpasar but will cross China - Urumchi - technical stop for 2 hours and then one offcial stop in Guangzhou - do I need visa?
Or will be 72 hours / 144 hours regime applied?

Thank you very much.
Answers (1)
Answered by Evelyn from AUSTRALIA | Oct. 21, 2019 18:24

72/144 hours visa-free transit is not applicable because you transit in two cities of China. I heard that the technical stop in Urumqi won't affect passengers' eligibility for the 24h visa-free transit, but you had better confirm this with the airline.
Asked by NSN from NEW ZEALAND | Oct. 16, 2019 16:46Reply
Can I fly Auckland - Shanghai - Auckland and avail 72 hour visa?
Answers (1)
Answered by Henry from UNITED KINGDOM | Oct. 16, 2019 20:04

No, this route is not eligible.
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