72-Hour Visa-free Transit in China 2020/2021

From January 1, 2013, China started to implement the 72-Hour Visa-free Transit Policy in Beijing and Shanghai, for citizens from the appointed 45 countries holding connecting flight tickets within 72 hours. Later, more cities and ports of entry have been added in the list. Until now (April, 2019), there are totally 23 cities in China offering the 72-Hour Transit Visa Exemption convenience for foreigners from 53 countries, most are major tourist cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Guilin, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, etc. (Tips: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xian, Chengdu, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Kunming 72-Hour Visa-free Transit has been extended to 144 hours.)

Hot News: From December 1, 2019, Xian and Chongqing has upgraded from 72 hours to 144 Hour Visa Free Transit.

China 72 Hour Visa Free Transit Cities

Map of China 72-Hour Visa-free Transit Cities

Please unfold the 72-Hour Visa-free China City List (click here) to know more details about the valid ports of entry in each city and limited stay area.

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China CityPort of EntryPermitted Visa-free Stay Area Implement Date
Beijing Beijing Capital International Airport
Beijing West Railway Station
Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei Province December 28, 2017
Tianjin Tianjin Binhai International Airport
Tianjin International Cruise Home Port
Shijiazhuang (Hebei Province) Shijiazhuang Zhengding International Airport
Qinhuangdao (Hebei Province) Qinghuangdao Port
Shanghai Shanghai Pudong International Airport
Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport
Shanghai Railway Station
Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal
Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal
Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Jiangsu, Zhejiang Provinces January 30, 2016
Nanjing Nanjing Lukou International Airport
Hangzhou Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport
Guangzhou Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Chaoshan, Guangdong Province August 1, 2013
Shenzhen Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport May , 2019
Jieyang (Chaoshan) Jieyang Chaoshan International Airport
Chengdu Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport Chengdu January 1, 2019
Kunming Kunming Changshui International Airport Kunming
Xiamen Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport
Xiamen Wutong Ferry Terminal
Xiamen International Cruise Center
Xiamen
Wuhan Wuhan Tianhe International Airport Wuhan
Qingdao Qingdao Liuting International Airport Shandong Province
Shenyang Shenyang Taoxian International Airport Liaoning Province January 1, 2018
Dalian Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport
Xian Xian Xianyang International Airport Xian, Xianyang June 1, 2014
Guilin Guilin Liangjiang International Airport Guilin July 28, 2014
Chongqing Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport Chongqing December 30, 2013
Harbin Harbin Taiping International Airport Harbin August 1, 2015
Changsha Changsha Huanghua International Airport Hunan Province January 1, 2016
Ningbo Ningbo Lishe International Airport Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang Province December 1, 2019

What are the Limited Conditions? - China 72-Hour Visa Free Requirements

To apply for the 72-Hour Transit Visa Exemption, foreigners have to meet 3 crucial requirements. And there is also strict restriction of ports of entry and exit.

(1) Transit foreigners must come from the appointed 53 countries

Currently, the 72-Hour Visa Free Transit is only applicable to nationals from the 53 states in Europe, America, Oceania and Asia. (See the full visa free country list below.) You should check the basic condition before departure. Upon arrival, the immigration officer at the entry port will check your nationality to see if you are qualified to apply.

(2) Transit Foreigners must hold passports with at least 3-month validity

A passport is the proof of your citizenship, which widely recognized in the world. Aliens are required to hold personal valid passport or other valid international travel documents. The documents should must have a validity of minimum 3 months before entering the China. 

Note: You will not be granted visa-free transit, if your passport (travel document) is valid for less than 3 months, or have visa refusal stamp.

(3) Transit Foreigners must take connecting tickets to onward destination within 72 hours

Applicants need to present connecting (flight, vessel, train) ticket to a third country (region) with confirmed seat and date within 72 hours. It is a necessary evidence for your short-term visa-free transit in China. You can NOT use the policy if you arrival in China without exit ticket for leaving, or your last and next destination is the same.

Note: Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR are considered as third regions from mainland China. So, Country A - Hong Kong/Macau - Coutry B is OK. Hong Kong Visa /  Macau Visa >>

Valid Routes Samples:

1. US > Beijing > Hong Kong or Macau

2. Australia > Shanghai > Hangzhou > Hong Kong or Macau

3. US > Guangzhou > Japan > US

4. New York > Beijing > Kuala Lumpur

5. London > Beijing > Hong Kong

6. Los Angeles > Hong Kong > Xian > Los Angeles

(4) Transit Foreigners must enter & exit from China via specified ports

Please attention that only certain ports of entry are opened for visa-free transit passengers in each city/region of China. Besides, foreign travelers need to exit from designated ports as regulated. For example, only Xian Xianyang International Airport allows the entry and exit when using the 72-Hour Visa-free Transit in Xian.

Which Countries can Apply the China 72-Hour Visa-free Transit?

Which countries can enjoy China’s visa-free transit? Since January 1, 2013, China firstly carried out the 72-Hour Visa Free Transit Policy in Beijing & Shanghai for nations from 45 foreign countries. At that time, the transit passengers are only allowed to enter from aviation ports and move within administrative area of Beijing or Shanghai. Later, the 72-Hour Transit Visa Exemption was extended to Guangzhou, Chengdu and more cities, more ports and larger area of movement. Now, it applies to nations from 53 foreign countries in 4 continents, which is precisely the same list of 144-Hour Visa-free Transit Policy. (updated on December, 2019)

① European Schengen Visa Agreement Countries (24):

Austria, Belgium, Czech, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

② Other European Countries (15):

Russia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Monaco and Belarus.

③ American Countries (6):

United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and the Republic of Chile.

④ Oceania Countries (2):

Australia and New Zealand.

⑤ Asian Countries (6):

South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

72-Hour Transit Visa-free Cities in China

Once meet the requirements, aliens can get a transit visa-free travel in one of 23 Chinese cities, even continue your journey to another country (region). If you are looking for transit visa waiver in Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Guangzhou, Chengdu , Chongqing, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Qinhuangdao, Xiamen, Kunming, Wuhan, Qingdao, Shenyang, Dalian, Ningbo, please visit China 144-Hour Visa-free Transit to get more details. For transit trip to Guilin, Harbin and Changhsa, check the following guide to plan your business, travel or family trip to the cities in China.

◆ Guilin 72-Hour Visa-free Transit

From July 28, 2014, China made Guilin the 9th cities & the first prefecture-level city to carry out the 72-Hour Visa-free Transit for aliens from 51 countries. Guilin Liangjiang International Airport is the only port for entry and exit. After entering, foreigner are only allowed to stay administrative area of Guilin. Then it’s your free time to visit attractions in downtown Guilin, Yangshuo and Popular. If you are citizens of ASEAN member states, read 6-Day Visa-free Tour Group of ASEAN for a longer travel in Guilin.

Entry & Exit Port in Guilin: Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (IATA: KWL)

Airport Introduction: The airport is the sole airport serving tourism of Guilin. It has more than 10 international (regional) airlines to Asian countries, including Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Siem Reap, Bangkok, Jeju, etc.

Most Recommended Guilin Visa-free Tours:

>> 2 Days Guilin Ideal Li River Cruise with Yangshuo Essence Tour

>> 3 Days Classic Guilin Tour - Guilin Brief Vacation

China Guilin 72 Hour Visa Free Transit Idyllic Karst Landscape along Li River, Guilin

◆ Harbin 72-Hour Visa-free Transit

China brought the 72-Hour TWOV Policy in Harbin for nationals from 51 countries in August 1, 2015. So, Harbin is the 3rd city in Northeastern China after Shenyang & Dalian, and the 9th city in this policy. If you transit in Harbin during cold winter days, you can spend happy hours in Harbin Ice & Snow World, experience interesting skiing in Yabuli Ski Resort, Russian style architectures in St.Sophia Cathedral, and see an “Frozen” world in reality.

Entry & Exit Port: Harbin Taiping International Airport (IATA:HRB)

Airport Introduction: Harbin Airport is an international airport serving Harbin, a major hub airport in Heilongjiang Province, as well as the biggest international aviation port in Northeastern China. It is an important transit station between Asian and North American airline routes. International destinations linked include Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, Jeju, Tokyo, Osaka, Singapore, Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Cheongju, and Moscow, Yakutsk, Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg in Russia.

Most Recommended Harbin Visa-free Tours:

>> 3 Days Classic Harbin Winter Tour

>> 3 Days Harbin Ice Festival Tour

China Harbin 72 Hour Visa Free Transit Beatiful Snow and Ice World in Harbin

◆ Changsha 72-Hour Visa-free Transit

Since January 1, 2016, Changsha began to implement 72-Hour Visa-free Transit. Changsha Huanghua International Airport is the one and only port valid in the rule. Different from other cities, transiting travelers can visit and stay in Changsha, Zhangjiajie, Fenghuang Ancient Town (Xiangxi Autonomous Prefecture) and any city in Hunan Province.

Entry & Exit Port: Changsha Huanghua International Airport (IATA: CSX)

Most Recommended Changsha Visa-free Tours:

>> 3 Days Best Changsha Tour with Chairman Mao’s Hometown Visit

China Changsha 72 Hour Visa Free Transit Orange Island with Mao's Stone Statue in Changsha

◆ Xian 72 Hour Visa-free Transit (Already Extended to 144 Hours since Dec. 2019!)

Approved by the State Council, Xian became the 8th city in China operated the 72-Hour Transit Visa Exemption for 51 foreign countries (later unified to 53 countries), since June 1, 2014. Visitor who meet relevant requirements may enter from Xian Xianyang Airport, stay within Xian and Xianyang for no more than 72 hours without applying a Chinese Visa, and leave from Xianyang Airport.

It’s very convenient to take advantage of the no-visa rule to enjoy a classic Xian City tour. During the short layover, you can visit archaeological wonder of Terracotta Warriors, view cultural & historical treasure in Shaanxi History Museum, bike on the Xian Ancient City Wall, satisfy your taste bud in Muslim Quarter in Xian. And, you can have a side trip to Xianyang, explore more Chinese ancient tombs there.

Entry & Exit Port in Xian: Xian Xianyang International Airport (IATA: XIY)

Airport Introduction: Xian Xianyang International Airport is the largest air hub in Northwest China. So far, it has opened 64 international (regional) airlines, connecting 53 cities in 29 countries. The connected international destinations include Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Busan, Helsinki, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Jeju, Bangkok, Male, Almaty, Osaka, Phuket, etc.

Most Recommended Xian Visa-free Tours:

>> 2 Days Xian City Break

>> 3 Days Classic Xian Tour

China Xian 72 Hour Visa Free Transit Foreigners Riding Bikes on Ancient City Wall
China Xian 72 Hour Visa Free Transit Terracotta Warriors

◆ Guangzhou 72 Hour Visa-free Transit (Already Extended to 144 Hours since May. 2019!)

Guangzhou, as the third city, started the 72 Hour Transit Visa Waiver Policy for 45 nationals since August 1, 2013. Qualified travelers may enter and exit Guangzhou from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, and are allowed to visit Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan and all cities in Guangzhou Province. During the 3-day transit, you could visit Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Memorial Hall, Yuexiu Park and else landmarks in Guangzhou, or pay a visit to Shenzhen and nearby cities. 6-day Visa-free Group Tour in Pearl River Delta from HK/Macau>>

Entry & Exit Port in Guangzhou: Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (IATA: CAN)

Airport Introduction: Guangzhou Baiyun Airport is the 3rd busiest airport in China, and the 13th busiest airport in the world. It is also one of the three major comprehensive air gateway in China. Known as an international transport hub, Guangzhou Airport handles about 150 international (regional) airlines, with more than 1,000 flights to 219 world wide destinations. You can take international flights from Guangzhou to Hong Kong, Taipei, Moscow, Tokyo, Osaka, Bangkok, Singapore, Jakarta, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur, Phuket and so on. Flights to Guangzhou >>

Updated News: Guangdong has started 144-Hour Visa-free Transit Policy in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Jieyang (Chaoshan) since May 1, 2019. Read Guangzhou 144 Hour Visa Free Transit to know detailed entry ports and more related information.

Most Recommended Guangzhou Visa-free Tour:

>> 3 Days Guangzhou Short Stay Tour

China Guangzhou 72 Hour Visa Free Transit Guangzhou Canton Tower
China Guangzhou 72 Hour Visa Free Transit Chen Clan Ancestral Hall with Delicate Carvings

◆ Chongqing 72-Hour Visa-free Transit (Already Extended to 144 Hours since Dec. 2019!)

From December 30, 2013, Chongqing was officially appointed as the 5th city implementing 72-Hour TWOV in China for some business visitors and tourists. Foreigners qualified all requirements can visit Chongqing via Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport, stay in administrative regions of Chongqing. Thus, visitor can tour city center, visit Ciqikou Ancient Town, Three Gorges Museum and travel to farther areas to see Dazu Rock Carving or Wulong Karst landscape within 3 days.

Tips: A Chinese Visa is needed (apply at the local Public Security Bureau) if you plan to take a Yangtze River Cruise from Chongqing to Yichang or other cities in China.

Entry & Exit Port in Chongqing: Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport (IATA: CKG)

Most Recommended Chongqing Visa-free Tours:

>> 1 Day Chongqing Short Stay Tour

>> 2 Days Chongqing Highlights Tour with Dazu Rock Carvings

China Chongqing 72 Hour Visa Free Transit Stunning Night View of Hongyadong in Chongqing

How to Apply for the 72 Hour Transit Visa Free

>> Required Documents

● A Valid Passport (or international travel document): it must be issued by one of the 53 countries listed above, valid for at least 3 months and with valid visa to the third country/regions if requires.

● A Connecting Air (or vessel, train) Ticket : it must be valid, going to the onward country/region with detailed date & seat within 72 hours.

● A completed Arrival Card : you can get the card in the airport after landing, and then submit at the immigration counter.

>> Application Procedures

Step 1: When boarding on (a airplane, ship, train), you should notify the carriernotify the carrier that you would apply for the 72-Hour Visa-free Transit. They will declare your request to the immigration office prior to your visit.

Step 2: Upon arrival, follow the signs, go to customs area, fill in the Arrival Card, and submit application of transit visa exemption at the specialized counter/channel. It’s easy to locate the related immigration department in the airport.

Step 3: If approved, your valid passport will be pasted a short-term stay permit (a paster) by the officer. There has clear regulation of the issuing date and allowed duration of stay.

Step 4: If you have a valid Chinese Visa, and don’t want to use it this time, you should tell the immigration officer you will enter and transit by applying the 72-Hour Visa-free Transit this entry.

Step 5: After leaving airport, you must register yourself within 24 hours upon arrival at the local police station or Public Security Bureau (PSB). If you will stay in hotel, the hotel staff will do the registration for you. (Your application will be refused if you had violation of accommodation registration and caused serious cases in China within 2 year.)

Step 6: You’re required to apply for a Chinese Visa from the local PSB, if you intend to travel other cities or stay longer than 72hours. Otherwise, your illegal stay will face fines and other serious consequences. How to Apply for A Chinese Visa >>

FAQs and Special Notes of China 72 -Hour Visa-free Transit

1. 72-Hour Visa-free Transit or 24-hour Direct Transit?

China offers different visa policy for different situations, including transit visa, and 3 kinds of visa-free transit, etc.

*It’s suitable for you to apply for 24-Hour Visa Free Transit, if you will have a short layover in China within 24 hours, and are quite urgent to catch your next flight. Attention that once get this 24-hour free transit permit, you’re required to stay within the airport only.

*72-Hour Visa-free Transit is recommended for those who intend to enter the transiting city for a brief travel or business trip. The key point is your itinerary is not in a rush, more flexible. Make sure your flight ticket for departure is within 72 hours.

*If you are not eligible for China’s Transit Visa Free Policy, a Chinese Transit Visa (G Visa) is required if you want to go out the airport.

2. Transit routes & interline air ticket booking advice

Due to this policy is only valid for foreign passenger from 53 countries with connecting flights to a third country/region, one of the most important material you should prepare is the connecting flight ticket. It simply explains your travel itinerary and this entry is indeed a short-dated layover.

1.) This measure does NOT apply to a passenger traveling back and forth different areas of same country. (Note: Hong Kong, Macau, Taipei are counted as the third regions from mainland China.)

Airline Route Examples:

a.“San Francisco - Xian - Chengdu - Canada” is NOT OK.

b. “San Francisco - Guangzhou - Canada” is OK.

c. “New York, USA - Guangzhou - Los Angeles, USA” is NOT OK.

2.) You should enter and exit from specific port as the limited. Therefore, check carefully whether the airline you chose have layover in a right airport in China. Except Beijing, Shanhai, Tianjin and Xiamen has more than 1 entry port, other 72-Hour Transit Visa Free cities only open one air port.

3. 72-Hour Transit Visa Cost

Applying the visa-free transit in a airport, seaport or railway port is much easier and faster than application in a Chinese Embassy or Consulate abroad. Once successfully approved, your passport will stamp a stay permit, instead of a whole stick on a visa page.

4. Area of Movement

The 72-Hour Visa-free Transit Policy appoints different range of activity in different cities. Namely, foreigners must transit and stay in one city/area only, not allowed to travel beyond the permitted area.

Transit in Guangzhou: you can visit Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Shantou, Dongguan, Chaozhou, and any other cities in Guangdong Province.

Transit in Xian: you can visit Xian City and Xianyang City.

Transit in Guilin: you can visit Guilin, Yangshuo, Longsheng and other counties in administrative area of Guilin.

Transit in Chongqing: you can visit downtown area, Dazu, Wulong and other districts/counties in Chongqing.

Transit in Harbin: you can visit all administrative areas in Harbin.

Transit in Changsha: you can visit Changsha, Zhangjiajie, Fenghuang Ancient Town, and else cities in Hunan Province.

5. Calculation of Entry Date

The 72-hour visa free transit officially counts from 00:00 on the next day after entry, not from the time when the flight land at the airport, or the time you get the stay permit. So you actually stay more than 72 hours.

How to Spend 72 Hours (3 Days) in China During Transit

It’s really a great chance to explore Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Kunming and other cities during your 3-day transit trip in China. Depending on relevant regulations, you may have an brief local city tour or a short-term side trip. Travel with China Discovery, we will provide you high-quality tour packages, including iconic sightseeing, featured activities, convenient transfer, dining and accommodation, etc. Select our most popular 72 visa-free tours below or contact us to customize your own China tour.

Popular China Visa-free Tours:

Top 72-Hour Visa-free Cities in China

No matter which city you applied the transit, they will present you a unique travel experience in China within the permit times and regions. Some transit cities with famous attractions listed for you to know better of them and fully enjoy your time in China.

For other cities not mentioned, or if you want to learn more about other China attraction cities, please click China Tour Cities or contact us for further information.

Beijing Forbidden City

Beijing

Highly advise to spend your days to admire the capital city in China and magnificence of ancient royal family.

Highlights: the Forbidden City, the Great Walls, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Beijing Hutongs, etc.

The Bund in Shanghai

Shanghai

Shanghai Pudong Airport and Hongqiao Airport both serve you the visa-free transit to enjoy the city highlights.

Highlights: The Bund, Nanjing Road, Yu Garden, Jinmao Tower, Jade Buddha Temple, etc.

Xian Terracotta Warriors

Xian

one of the” World 10 Greatest Ancient Capital Cities” with precious cultural relics remains for you to visit.

Highlights: Terracotta Warriors, Ancient City Wall, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Bell Tower, Great Mosque, etc.

Guilin Elephant Trunk Hill

Guilin

make a short stay to leisurely enjoy the picturesque karst landscape mountain and water of Guilin.

Highlights: Li River, Elephant Trunk Hill, Reed Flute Cave, Two Rivers and Four Lakes, Fubo Hill, Yangshuo Town, etc.

Guangzhou Pearl River

Guangzhou

one of the best gateways for you to transit with a great numbers of international flights crossing by.

Highlights: Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Yue Xiu Park, Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family, Shamian Island, etc.

Chengdu Panda

Chengdu

hometown of giant panda, Chengdu the leisure city gives you another life style.

Highlights: Giant Panda, Wuhou Memorial Temple, Renmin Park, Jinli Old Street, Wenshu Temple, etc.

West Lake

Hangzhou

Xiaoshan Airport serves you to visit the best scenery and culture of the heaven on earth.

Highlights: West Lake, National Tea Culture Museum, Linyin Temple, Wuzhen Water Town, etc.

Lingering Garden

Suzhou

A wonderful destination to see the elegant ancient gardens, water towns, etc.

Highlights: the Administrator’s Garden, Lingering Garden, Suzhou Museum, Zhouzhuang Water Town, Tongli …

Ciqikou in Chongqing

Chongqing

the port city along Yangtze River, featuring historical sites for you to learn the Three Gorges civilization.

Highlights: Ciqikou Ancient Town, Three Gorges Museum, Chongqing Zoo, Dazu Rock Carvings, Wulong Karst Landscape, etc.

Harbin Ice and Snow World

Harbin

famous for the joy of winter ice and snow, Harbin also mixes exotic charm with Chinese culture.

Highlights: Ice & Snow Amusement World, Yabuli Ski Area, Sun Island, Zhongyang Pedestrian Street, St. Sophia Church

Stone Forest in Kunming

Kunming

gathering many minorities,it offers different traditional local life by visiting various ethnic villages.

Highlights: Yunnan Nationalities Village, Green Lake, Stone Forest, Dongchuan Red Land, Jiuxiang Scenic Area, etc.

Wuhan

as the prosperous “Eastern Chicago”, it prepares the amazing profound Chu history for your appreciation.

Highlights: Hubei Provincial Museum, Yellow Crane Tower, Guiyuan Temple, East Lake, Heptachord Terrace

Recommended Tours

Top 3 tours chosen by most customers to explore China in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

Yangshuo Yulong River Bamboo Rafting Experience
3 Days Classic Guilin Tour - Guilin Brief Vacation

Guilin / Yangshuo

Yuelu Academy
3 Days Best Changsha Tour with Chairman Mao’s Hometown Visit

Changsha / Shaoshan / Changsha

Dazu Rock Carvings
2 Days Chongqing Highlights Tour with Dazu Rock Carvings

Chongqing

Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once enquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

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