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Visa-Free Travel to China

With communications between China and the foreign world becoming more and more frequent, China has made a lot of changes in terms of entry. Citizens from more countries have the privilege of Visa-free travel. Here is a guide for Visa-free travel to China.

1.24-Hour Visa-Free Transit

Those who hold international flights, cruise, or train tickets to a third country or region but need to transit through China are exempted from China Visa as long as they only stay in the airport/train station for less than 24 hours. For example, you are from California, your destination is Bombay, and your flight stops at Guangzhou for less than 24 hours. You don’t need a China visa as long as you have air tickets for Bombay and stay at Guangzhou airport during the transition.

2.72-Hour Visa-free Transit

1)Who can enjoy the 72-hour visa-free transit policy?

Travelers who 1. are citizens from the 53 countries listed below; 2. have valid international travel documents and the air tickets for the third country or region confirmed; 3. pass the airport that allows travelers to go to the third country or region.

2)Which countries allow their citizens to enjoy the 72-hour Visa-free policy of China?

39 European 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, Russia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Monaco, Republic of Belarus
6 American countries: United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile;
2 Oceania countries: Australia and New Zealand;
6 Asian countries: South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Qatar.

3)Which airports in China allow 72-Hour Visa-free Transit?

Beijing Capital International Airport, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport, Shenyang Taoxian International Airport, Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport, Xi'an Xianyang International Airport, Guilin Liangjiang International Airport, Kunming Changshui International Airport, Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport, Wuhan Tianhe International Airport, Tianjin Binhai International Airport, Harbin Taiping International Airport, Qingdao Liuting International Airport, Changsha Huanghua International Airport.

4)How to apply for 72-hour visa-free transit?

Those who meet the requirements of the 72-hour transit visa exemption need to submit relevant documents to the Chinese airlines they are bound for, and the Chinese airlines will help to declare to the China customs on behalf of the passengers. The passengers can also declare to the China customs themselves.

5)Can passengers bounding for the third country or region buy the air tickets (72 hours before leaving) for their third destination when they arrive at a Chinese airport?

According to the regulations, only people who already hold the air tickets for the third country or region can enjoy the 72-hour visa-free transit. Otherwise, you will need a China Visa for your stay in China.

6)Do I need a China Visa if I depart from New York, pass Beijing, Shanghai, or other Chinese cities that allow visitors to transit to other countries or regions, and then get back to Los Angeles?

In this case, you will need a China visa. It’s like you travel to China for less than 72 hours from the United States and then get back to the United States. While the 72-h free visa transit requests, you must travel from your city, pass a city (belonging to the ones who have the 72-h free visa transit policy) in China for within 72 hours, and then leave for another country or region.

7) Can travelers leave the transit city and go to other cities of China during their 72-hour transit?

Passengers who applied for their 72-hour free-visa transit entry in airports of Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Shenyang, Dalian, and Xian are not allowed to leave the administrative area of the city. While visitors who received their 72-hour free-visa transit exemption in Guangzhou are allowed to move around but only limited to Guangdong province.

8) What happens if the passengers can't leave China within the 72-hour transit due to some personal reasons?

Those who can't leave China within 72 hours will have to apply for a China visa from the exit and entry department. Those who failed to acquire the China Visa in this period shall be found illegal and transferred to the relevant law-enforcing department. They are likely to be declined by the China customs for 72-hour free-visa entry the next time.

9)Can travelers leave from another airport after they acquired the 72-hour visa-free transit?

They can only stay at the airport where they applied for their 72-hour visa-free entry and depart from the same airport.

10)Can travelers leave from Beijing by air within 72 hours after they get in Beijing by train?

Only 15 cities in China allow passengers with 72-hour visa-free exemption to arrive by train and leave by air, including Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Dalian, Guangzhou, Guilin, Chongqing, Chengdu, Kunming, Xian, Xiamen, Wuhan, Harbin, Qingdao, and Changsha.

3.144-Hour Visa-Free Transit

Citizens from 53 countries (same as exempted countries of 72-hour transit) holding their valid international travel documents and the tickets (with a confirmed date and seat) bound for a third country or region are allowed to apply for 144-hour visa-free entry.

Which cities can I apply for 144-hour visa-free entry?

1)Shanghai (Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal, Shanghai Railway Station, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport), Nanjing (Nanjing Lukou International Airport), Hangzhou (Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport). Travelers are allowed to stay in Shanghai city, Jiangsu province, and Zhejiang province for 144 hours free of a China visa.
2)Beijing (Beijing Capital International Airport, Beijing West Railway Station), Tianjin (Tianjin Binhai International Airport, Tianjin International Cruise Port), Hebei (Shijiazhuang Zhengding International Airport), Qinhuangdao (Qinhuangdao Port). Visitors are allowed to stay in Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei province for 144 hours free of a China Visa.
3)Shenyang (Shenyang Taoxian International Airport), Dalian (Dalian Zhoutianzi International Airport). Passengers are allowed to stay in Liaoning for 144 hours free of a China Visa.

4.30-day Visa-Free Stay in Hainan Province

Citizens of the following 59 countries are allowed to apply for Visa-free entry to Hainan province and have a stay of 30 days at most in Hainan jurisdiction. Local travel agencies of Hainan will receive these passengers. Those who stay at a hotel will be registered by the hotel. Those who don't stay at a hotel will have to register themselves or ask their receivers to register for them in a local police substation or foreigner service center 24 hours within their stay.

Fifty-nine countries: Germany, Russia, United Kingdom, France, Norway, Ukraine, Italy, Austria, Finland, Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, UAE, Qatar, Monaco, Belarus.

5.Foreigners in Hong Kong and Macau

Foreigners who hold ordinary passports (from the countries that have diplomatic relations with China) and are already in Hong Kong or Macau can join travel groups (operated by legal travel agencies) to Guangdong and the Pearl River Delta regions including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing and Huizhou and stay for less than 6 days without a China visa.

6.Citizens of Singapore, Brunei, and Japan

Citizens from Singapore, Brunei, and Japan with ordinary passports coming to mainland China for travel, business, relatives, or friends visiting purposes or just passing China within 15 days are exempted from a China visa.
However, if passengers meet the above requirements plan to stay longer than 15 days, they will need a China visa. Besides, people with ordinary passports and who come to China for purposes of study, working, settling, official visit, and interview will need a China visa.

7.APEC Business Card

Those who hold a valid APEC business travel card can travel multiple times to China within three years, and each stay must not exceed two months.

8.Passengers holding a valid residence permit of the People's Republic of China issued by Chinese Public Security Organs don’t need a China visa.

9.Foreigners holding the permanent residence permit of the People's Republic of China issued by Chinese Public Security Organs don’t need a China visa whenever they travel to China.

10.Citizens of the following 20 countries, regardless of their passports, are exempted from visas for 48 hours if they pass Shanghai: South Korea, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Germany, France, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland, and the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy and other countries who signed the Schengen Agreement.

With all the Visa-free policies listed above, you can plan and spend your China stopover hassle-free.

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