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China 24-Hour Visa-Free Transit

 China has resumed the 24-hour visa-free transit policy since January 8th, 2023 after 3 years’ suspension because of the covid-19 epidemic.

24-hour visa-free transit in China, also called the 24-hour transit without visa (24-hour TWOV for short), regulates that visa is not required for air, train, and ship passengers transiting in mainland China for a stay of no more than 24 hours before heading for a third country or region.

Who are eligible for the 24-hour TWOV of China?

National of most countries are eligible for the 24-hour visa-free transit, while there are exceptions in certain airports for some nationalities.

1. Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Yemen passport holders transiting in Xiamen require a visa.

2. Syrian citizens transiting in Guangzhou are not eligible for the 24-hour visa-free transit.

What are the port restrictions?

Though a majority of international airports in China opt in the 24-hour TWOV, passengers transiting through the following airports all need a visa no matter how long the layover is.
• Fuzhou Changle Airport
• Huangshan Tunxi Airport
• Mudanjiang Hailang Airport
• Yanji Chaoyangchuan Airport

Citizens from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, Turkey and Yemen are not eligible for 24-hour visa-free transit in Urumqi Diwopu International Airport.

If transiting in Guangzhou for less than 24 hours, you are able to apply for the 24-hour TWOV from Guangzhou Baiyun airport instead of its railway stations or other ports of entry. That is, only entering Guangzhou by air, you would be issued the 24h visa-free transit under qualified travel itinerary.

What is an eligible transit route?

24-hour direct transit
24-hour Direct Transit Rules

An eligible transit route goes like Country A → China → Country C.

A and C are different countries. Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan can be regarded as A or C in this respect. For instance, if a passenger travels like USA – Beijing – Hong Kong, there is no doubt that this route qualifies for China 24 hour TWOV.

Generally speaking, the 24-hour visa-free transit allows aliens to have multiple stops in China as long as they leave the country within 24 hours, therefore the route USA - Beijing - Shanghai - South Korea also counts as eligible.

What are the requirements for TWOV?

 Passport valid for at least 3 months from the date of entry
 Onward air, cruise or train ticket with confirmed seat and date
 Visa for a third country or region (if needed)

Can I get out of the airport during layover?

Passengers wishing to get out of the restricted transit area to claim luggage, take a connecting flight, or do some sightseeing in the city can apply for the 24-hour visa-free entry permit, which is a stamp or sticker on passport showing the permitted stay length.

Apply for 24-hour visa-free entry permit in 4 steps

 Fill an Arrival/Departure Card at the border inspection counter
 Get the temporary entry permit stamp or sticker
 Claim the luggage (if needed)
 Go through the customs

How to count the stopover time?

Starting: scheduled arrival time
Ending: scheduled departure time

Recommended Tours for Transit Passengers


Differences among 24/72/144-hour free transit 

24-Hour TWOV 72-Hour Visa-Free Transit 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit
For almost all countries For 53 countries For 53 countries
Available in most Chinese cities Available in major Chinese cities Guangdong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Dalian, Shenyang, Chengdu, Wuhan, Qingdao, Kunming, Xiamen, Xi'an, Chongqing
By air, cruise, train By air By air, cruise, train
Counted from the landing time Counted from 0:00 the day following the entry date (Scheduled landing time in Beijing) Counted from 0:00 the day following the entry date
Multiple stops Single stop Multiple stops

Note that if 1) you lack any of the required documents listed above, 2) or your route does not qualify, 3) or you have the record of overstaying in a country or getting visa refusal before, your application for the 24-hour visa-free transit may be turned down. For fear of inconvenience caused by such case, please make sure that you are eligible or apply for a regular transit visa in advance. 
- Last updated on Jul. 31, 2023 by Kate Liu -
Questions & Answers on 24-Hour Visa-Free Transit
Asked by Tuan Le from VIETNAM | Aug. 22, 2023 09:48Reply
Transit in mainland China with 2 stops
I am Vietnamese.
Can I transit with 3 different flights via 2 airports in China, like Saigon - Guangzhou - Urumqi - Bishkek?
Answers (1)
Answered by Edward | Aug. 22, 2023 20:37

It is okay if your total stopover in China is less than 24 hours. However, if the transit time is more than 24 hours, you need to obtain a Chinese visa in advance.
Asked by Lily from MALAYSIA | Aug. 22, 2023 09:01Reply
Transit Visa Free Malaysian
Hi, I'm holding a Malaysian Passport. I'm flying from Moscow -> Beijing -> Kota Kinabalu via 2 different airlines, China Southern Airlines and AirAsia (with a 15 hours transit). I need to claim my baggage and recheck in in Beijing airport due to two different airline.

Am I eligible for a 24hour transit visa free?
Answers (1)
Answered by Amanda | Aug. 22, 2023 20:36

Yes, you are eligible for that.
Asked by Said from RUSSIA | Aug. 20, 2023 15:10Reply
Transit visa for Azerbaijan citizen through China (Baiyun)
I am an Azerbaijan citizen and a permanent resident of Russia. I am considering the following flight:
Indonesia (DPS) -> Baiyun (CAN) -> Russia (SVO)

I have a 8hr layover in China, Baiyun

Do I need a transit visa or not? Because it says For Azerbaijan citizens who flying through Xiamen, they need a visa. But i'm transiting through Baiyun. Help me please
Answers (3)
Answered by Becky | Aug. 21, 2023 02:13

As I know, you can transit in Guangzhou Baiyun Airport visa free for at most 24 hours. Have a nice trip~
Answered by Said | Aug. 21, 2023 04:17

Even if I’m a Azerbaijan citizen? Can you help me to confirm this info? Because I called the airlane company, they told me that I need visa, on the other hand the foreign affair of Azerbaijan told me that I don’t need a visa, what should I do?
Answered by Becky | Aug. 21, 2023 18:16

I didn't find any restrictions on Azerbaijan citizen transiting in Guangzhou. If you still have any doubt, just confirm with China foreign affairs bureau at 12367.
Asked by Anh from VIETNAM | Aug. 20, 2023 14:18Reply
Layover in Guangzhou
Hello, I am holding a Vietnamese passport, flying from South Korea -> Guangzhou -> London. There is a 16 hours layover in Guangzhou. Can I leave the airport and stay a night in one hotel the city? Do I need a visa for that?
Answers (2)
Answered by Bella | Aug. 21, 2023 01:25

You are eligible for 24-hour visa free transit. But to leave the airside, you need to apply for a temporary entry permit; but I'm not sure if you can get it successfully or not. Anyway, good luck with you~
Answered by Anh | Aug. 21, 2023 03:54

Thank you so much for your reply.
Asked by Andrew from NEW ZEALAND | Aug. 20, 2023 04:30Reply
Covid health check requirement
Is there any Covid check requirement now when transiting Guang Zhou Airport?
Answers (1)
Answered by Bob | Aug. 21, 2023 00:19

A self-serviced antigen test within 48 hours may be needed and a photo of the test result is enough.
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