Ever wanted to visit the Great Wall, the Forbidden City or the Venice of the Orient? You don’t need to travel to China to visit a Beijing or Shanghai, but simply travel through!
China implements two transit-without-visa (TWOV) schemes of 144 hours and 72 hours for foreign nationals in transit through specific ports of entry at 19 cities.
144-Hour Visa-Free Transit in China
The 144-hour visa-free transit policy allows air, rail and cruise passengers from 53 countries to transit and stay for up to 144 hours (6 days) in 13 cities of Mainland China without a visa.
This scheme applies to the following cities:
- Beijing, Tianjin, and Shijiazhuang
Passengers must enter and exit from any of these ports: Beijing Airport, Beijing West Railway Station (when travelling on the Beijing-Kowloon Through Train), Tianjin Binhai Airport, Tianjin Cruise Home Port, Shijiazhuang Zhengding Airport or Qinhuangdao Port.
Passengers are permitted to stay in the cities of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province up to 144 hours.
- Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Nanjing
Passengers must enter and exit from any of these ports: Shanghai Pudong Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, Shanghai Port Cruise Terminal, Wusong Passenger Transport Center, Shanghai Railway Station (when travelling on the Shanghai-Kowloon Through Train), Hangzhou Xiaoshan Airport or Nanjing Lukou Airport.
Passengers are permitted to stay in Shanghai, Jiangsu province and Zhejiang province up to 144 hours.
- Dalian and Shenyang
Passengers must enter and exit from any of these ports: Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport or Shenyang Taoxian International Airport.
Passengers are permitted to stay in Liaoning province up to 144 hours.
- Chengdu through Chengdu Shuangliu Airport, currently permitted to stay in Chengdu city up to 72 hours, 144 hours from January 1, 2019.
- Kunming through Kunming Changshui Airport, currently permitted to stay in Kunming city up to 72 hours, 144 hours from January 1, 2019.
- Qindao through Qingdao Liuting Airport or Qingdao Sea Port, currently permitted to stay in Qindao city up to 72 hours, 144 hours from January 1, 2019.
- Wuhan through Wuhan Tianhe Airport, currently permitted to stay in Wuhan city up to 72 hours, 144 hours from January 1, 2019.
- Xiamen through Xiamen Gaoqi Airport or Xiamen Sea Port, currently permitted to stay in Xiamen city up to 72 hours, 144 hours from January 1, 2019.
72-Hour Visa-Free Transit in China
The 72-hour visa-free transit policy allows air passengers from 53 countries to transit and stay for up to 72 hours (3 days) in 6 additional cities of Mainland China without a visa.
This scheme applies to Beijing, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Dalian, Shenyang, Chengdu, Kunming, Qindao, Wuhan, Xiamen and the following cities:
- Changsha through Changsha Huanghua Airport, permitted to stay in Hunan Province up to 72 hours
- Chongqing through Chongqing Jiangbei Airport, permitted to stay in Chongqing city up to 72 hours
- Guangzhou through Guangzhou Baiyun Airport, permitted to stay in Guangdong province up to 72 hours
- Guilin through Guilin Liangjiang Airport, permitted to stay in Guilin city up to 72 hours
- Harbin through Harbin Taiping Airport, permitted to stay in Harbin city up to 72 hours
- Xi An through Xi An Xianyang Airport, permitted to stay in Xi An and Xianyang cities up to 72 hours
Countries eligible to apply for the 144-hour / 72-hour Visa-Free Transit in China
The passport holders of the following countries qualify for the free transit permit exemption:
- 24 European Schengen Agreement Countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
- 15 other European Countries: Russia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Belarus, Monaco
- 6 American Countries: United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile
- 6 Asian Countries: Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Qatar
- 2 Oceania Countries: Australia, New Zealand
Conditions to apply for the 144-hour / 72-hour Visa-Free Transit in China
Eligible foreign nationals must comply with the following requirements:
- passport valid for at least 3 months from the date of entry
- passengers tickets (by air/train/ship) of confirmed travel date and confirmed seats to a third country or region, including Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan.
- visa for the third country or region (if applicable)
To qualify for the 72-hour or 144-hour transit permit, the passenger inbound and outbound flights must arrive and depart from one of the designated ports of entry from or to a third country. Flights must be non-stop or have no stopover of any kind within Mainland China prior to arrival or after departure at the port of entry. The outbound flight’s first stop or destination must be in a different country than the inbound flight’s.
Return flights having the same country of origin and destination do not qualify for the free transit permit.
Procedures to apply for the 144-hour / 72-hour Visa-Free Transit in China
To apply for the 72-hour or 144-hour transit permit, passengers must follow the following steps:
- Inform the carrier when boarding
It is necessary to inform the airline during check-in, so they can declare the passenger’s request to the airport customs before arriving in Mainland China.
- Fill in the Arrival/Departure Card
The Arrival/Departure Card can be obtained at immigration checkpoints. There are special counters for the applicants of free transit permit at the eligible ports of entry, so passengers can go through quicker.
- Apply for the 72-hour or 144-hour visa-free stay permit upon arrival
After completing the inspection process, visitors will be given a temporary entry permit, in the form of a stamp or a sticker, with the approved area of stay as well as the date of entry and departure. The 72-hour or 144-hour duration of stay may start from 00:00 AM on the date of arrival or the following day, depending on the port of entry.
- Claim the luggage and clear customs
- Leave the terminal and enjoy the stay
If the visitor has not booked any accommodation or intends to stay with family or friends, they must register at the local Public Security Bureau within 24 hours of arrival. If the visitor stays at a hotel, they don’t need to worry as the staff will register them as a foreign guest.
- Leave the country by the allowed date of departure
Extending the period of stay by delaying the outbound ticket, or abusing the scheme by cancelling the original outbound ticket to the third country and purchasing another to return directly to the inbound country, can cause the visitor to be considered as an illegal resident and be subject to 5-year ban from using the free transit permit or entering Mainland China.
Book your flights to China and plan your layover
Baolau integrates international flights to China, connecting Beijing, Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Guilin, Hangzhou, Kunming, Shanghai, Wuhan, Xi An, and Xiamen with the following countries and regions:
- Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar in the Mekong Region
- Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and Philippines in Southeast Asia
- Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan in East Asia
To benefit from the 72-hour or 144-hour transit permit, you can book a one-way inbound flight from any of these countries or regions to a city in Mainland China participating in the visa-free transit scheme, then another one-way outbound flight to a third country or region within 6 days and 3 days, respectively.