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China Visa Exemption

China visa exemption policy mainly applies to 10 groups of people, including 24-hour direct transit passengers, 53 countries’ passport holders enjoying 72-hour or 144-hour visa-free transit, tour groups organized by local travel agencies to specific areas like Hainan and Guangdong, and holders of Japanese, Singaporean, Qatari and Bruneian passports, or Chinese Alien Residence Permit. Please read the following details to check whether you meet China visa exemption requirements.

Under the 24-hour visa-free transit rule, no visa is required for international flight, ship, or train passengers who transit directly through mainland China and will stay for less than 24 hours. This policy is applicable to almost all nationalities. Most airports are eligible, except the airports in Shenzhen, Yanji, Mudanjiang, and Fuzhou. Passengers should hold tickets to a third country or region and have a confirmed seat.

In case that they want to leave the port for city sightseeing or transfer to another port during the 24 hours, they can apply for a Temporary Stay Permit upon arrival. Those who transfer in more than one city of China within 24 hours can also enjoy this policy. For instance, if one's trip is Los Angeles – Beijing – Shanghai – Bangkok and the total time in China is less than 24 hours, the passenger can still enjoy the 24-hour direct transit.

Passport holders of the following 53 countries and regions can be granted a visa-free stay up to 72 hours while transiting via Beijing Capital Airport, Shanghai Pudong Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, and airports of Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Shenyang, Dalian, Harbin, Xi'an, Guilin, Kunming, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Tianjin, Qingdao, Nanjing, Changsha, and Xiamen:

 24 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, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia (FYROM), Albania, Belarus, Monaco

 6 American Countries: the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile

 2 Oceania Countries: Australia, New Zealand

 6 Asian Countries: Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Qatar


Passengers from the above countries transiting in Guangdong, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Xi'an, Chongqing, Liaoning, Chengdu, Wuhan, Qingdao, Kunming, and Xiamen can enjoy a visa-free stay up to 144 hours.


Citizens holding the passport of the 59 qualifying countries are exempt from China visas when they travel to Hainan Province as a group or an individual organized by Travel Agencies in Hainan. The stay is limited to 30 days in general, and the 30 days start from 00:00 the day following the entry date.

Foreigners who take a cruise to Shanghai and leave with the cruise from Shanghai or other ports of China can enjoy a 15-day visa-free stay in China given that they are received by a local travel agency as a tour group. The group should contain at least two members. Eligible passengers can travel with the ship to other coastal cities and provinces, including Beijing, Liaoning, Hebei, Tianjin, Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hainan. The stay period counts from the following day after arrival.


6-Day Visa Exemption for Tourists to Pearl River Delta

Citizens holding passports issued by the nations with diplomatic relations with China are exempted from China visas if they join a tourist group at Hong Kong or Macao organized by registered travel agencies in HK and Macao to visit the Pearl River Delta region for tourism and stay up to 6 days. The region includes Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Zhaoqing, and Huizhou.

 Do I Need A Visa for Guangzhou If Traveling from Hong Kong?


6-Day Visa Exemption for ASEAN Tour Groups Visiting Guilin

Tour groups from ASEAN member countries, including Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Myanmar, Brunei, and the Philippines, can visit Guilin for six days free of visa. They should be received at Guilin Liangjiang Airport by local travel agencies in Guilin. During the six days, all members cannot leave Guilin. In addition, tour groups using this visa exemption policy shall exit from Liangjiang Airport only.


Nationals of Singapore, Brunei, Qatar and Armenia

Ordinary passport holders of Singapore and Brunei are allowed to enter China without visas for up to 15 days for tourism, visiting family or friends, or minor business purposes provided they enter through international ports open to foreigners. According to Mutual Visa Exemption, Qatar citizens with ordinary passports may stay in China for less than 30 days without visa. Armenian citizens who stay in China for no more than 90 days every 180 days are exempt from visas.

For nationals of these countries, a visa is required under following circumstance:
(1) Ordinary passport holder visits for tourism, business, visiting friends and relatives but stays for more than 15 days (30 days for Qataris, 90 days for Armenians).
(2) Ordinary passport holder visits for the purposes of study, work, official visit, settling down and interview.
(3) Japanese Diplomatic and Official passport holder.


Holders of Aliens' Residence Permit

Foreigners who visit for study on X1 visa or for work on Z visa and resident foreign journalists shall apply for Aliens' Residence Permit at local public security bureau within 30 days after entry.
Within the period of the validity of the Residence Card, the holder is entitled to enter and exit from China for multiple times without applying for another visa.


Holders of APEC Business Travel Card

The APEC Business Travel Card is regarded as a multiple entry visa valid for three years. With this card and relevant passport, the holder is entitled to enter China for many times within its validity. The duration of each stay should be within 2 months.


Diplomatic, Service or Official Passport Holders

China has mutual visa-exemption agreements with some foreign countries, but they are mainly for diplomatic, service or official passport holders and only allow a stay less than 30 days.

- Last updated on Jul. 27, 2023 by Brenda Lian -
Questions & Answers on China Visa Exemption
Asked by Lemon from SOUTH AFRICA | Aug. 20, 2023 08:37Reply
China Visa
I am from South Africa and want to visit Honk Kong for 30 days. While in Hong Kong, I would like to go sight seeing in China for a maximum of 4-7 days. Can I get a visa for China when I arrive in Hong Kong?
Answers (3)
Answered by Bonnie | Aug. 21, 2023 01:52

It's risky if you are only a visitor in HK. You'd better apply for a China visa in advance.
Answered by Lemon | Aug. 21, 2023 04:53

So visa on arrival is not possible?
Answered by Bonnie | Aug. 21, 2023 18:20

VOA is possible for you but you cannot leave the certain administration borders. For instance, with Shenzhen VOA, you can only travel within Shenzhen; with Zhuhai VOA, you can only travel within Zhuhai... Also, you need to arrive at the related border from a different immigration zone, like Hong Kong, Macao, or another country.
Asked by Cheak Kimlin from CAMBODIA | Aug. 17, 2023 21:31Reply
1. I am cabin crew and holding Cambodia passport, my flight landing in Macau and layover for 10hrs. I have visa on arrival at Macau, how to enter Zhu Hai? Do I need any visa?
Thank You
Answers (1)
Answered by Emily | Aug. 18, 2023 00:51

If you plan to visit Zhuhai, you have to obtain a China visa in advance. Macau visa is not eligible in Zhuhai.
Asked by Lynn Rhodes from UNITED STATES | Aug. 17, 2023 14:00Reply
I’l be on a Oceana cruise from Tokyo Hong Kong that has a 3 day stop in Shanghai. Do I need a visa?
Answers (1)
Answered by Andrew | Aug. 18, 2023 00:42

It is better for you to offer a complete itinerary and that will help to confirm if you need a visa.
Asked by Mulan from GERMANY | Aug. 17, 2023 12:14Reply
short stay in Shenzhen with hongkong visa
Hello, I am currently studying in Hong Kong and have a Hongkong student visa as well as a Hong Kong ID card. I would like to visit shenzhen over the weekend (maximum 4 days). I have a german passport and wanted to know if that may fall under the pearl river delta visa free category. Do I need to join an official tour group or can I hand in proof of hotel booking, tickets etc myself?
Thanks in advance
Answers (1)
Answered by Rita | Aug. 18, 2023 00:01

You can acquire a 5-day visa on arrival in Shenzhen border, generally by ferry in Shekou Port. However, this is only eligible in Shenzhen city. If you want to explore other places, obtaining a visa in advance is needed.
Asked by Fendy from INDONESIA | Aug. 16, 2023 00:37Reply
Transit in Xiamen
I am traveling to Hong Kong from Jakarta transit in Xiamen for 21 hours. Do I need a transit Visa?
Answers (1)
Answered by Selena | Aug. 16, 2023 00:45

You are eligible for the 24-hour visa-transit if you don't have any stop in other Chinese mainland cities.
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