72-Hour Visa-free Transit in China

From January 1, 2013, China implemented the 72-Hour Visa-free Transit policy for citizens of certain countries who meet the criteria to via and travel some certain China Cities, including Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xian, Guilin, Kunming, Harbin, Xiamen, Wuhan, Qingdao and Changsha, in total of 18 cities (until January 24th, 2019). Please click 72-hour Visa-free China City List to know more details of the valid ports of entry in each city and its limited stay area. (Tips: Many cities have upgraded for 144-hour Visa-free Transit Policy.)

Note of 144-hour Visa Free Transit:

Until 2019, the Yangtze River Delta (Shanghai, Jiangsu & Zhejiang), Jing Jin Ji Area (Beijing, Tianjin & Hebei), Chengdu, Kunming, Xiamen, Qingdao, Wuhan and Liaoning Province have implemented the 144-hour Visa Free Transit in China for citizens of the appointed 53 countries to enable visitors to transit and travel within the specified area within 144 hours. Therefore, visitors could have more time in those cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Chengdu, Kunming, Tianjin, Sanya, Dalian, Shenyang, etc. Please check more detailed cities, countries, limitations, tips and other information of the 144-hour Visa Free Transit Policy in China.

China 72-hour Visa-free Transit
China CityValid air ports of entry Permitted stay area
Guangzhou Guangzhou Baiyu International Airport Guangdong Province
Chengdu Chengdu ShuangLiu International Airport Chengdu City
Chongqing Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport Chongqing City
Xian Xian Xianyang International Airport Xian City, Xianyang City
Guilin Guilin Liangjiang International Airport Guilin City
Kunming Kunming Changshui International Airport Kunming City
Harbin Harbin Taiping International Airport Harbin City
Xiamen Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport Xiamen City
Wuhan Wuhan Tianhe International Airport Wuhan City
Qingdao Qingdao Liuting International Airport Shandong Province
Changsha Changsha Huanghua International Airport Hunan Province

>>Valid Country List

Countries which meet the criteria and allowed to apply 72-hour visa-free transit in China certain cities, are listed below, for the number of 53, presently (until February 28th, 2018) .

America Countries (6): the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and the Republic of Chile.

European Countries (39): Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Monaco, and the Republic of Belarus.

Oceania Countries (2): Australia and New Zealand.

Asian Countries (6): South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

>>Required Documents to apply visa-free Transit

● Holding a valid passport issued by one of the 53 countries listed above;

● Having valid international travel documents and qualified for the entry requirements of the third destination country, like valid visa;

● Holding valid airline tickets with 72-hour validation of final destination in the third country & have booked onward flight with detailed date and seats;

● Reported to Chinese immigration inspection authority by the airline companies you chose to take.

Note: You can apply the request for transit to your airline in advance, so that the airline can declare this to the Immigration Inspection prior to your visit. You will be granted a transit permit at the airport issued by the local Exit-Entry frontier inspection, if you meet all requirements.

>>Limited Conditions

1. It only applies to passengers who transit through the eligible city international airport. That is to say, passengers who travel China by train, ship or other transportation is not acceptable.

While there are some exceptional conditions, like foreigners who enter China via Beijing West Railway Station directly from Mongolia or Russia, and must leave China from Beijing Capital International Airport within 72 hours.

2. Visitors are not allowed to leave the stay area during the 72-hour visa-free period. For cities of Guangzhou, Qingdao and Changsha, visitors can travel not only its city but also the whole provincial administrative region, legally. For Xian, visitors can travel within the administrative region of both Xian and Xianyang cities within the 72 hours.

3. You must depart from the same airport where you arrived in. For example, if you arrive in Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, you are required to leave China mainland from this airport.

4. The 72-hour visa free transit counts from the next day, not from the time when the flight land at the airport. For example, if you arrive in Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport at 9:00, the policy is counted by the next day from 00:00, which means if you arrive in China city in the morning, there are four days for you to travel around.

5. Those who cannot leave China for a third country within 72 hours, for whatever reason, should apply for a visa at the local Public Security Bureau Exit-Entry Administration Office. If you fail to go through visa formalities according to the stipulations of Chinese airports will be punished according to Chinese law.

6. After your transit permit approved, you’ll need to complete registration procedures pursuant to the relevant provisions. If you have temporary overnight stay outside the hotel, it is necessity to go to local police station for registration in person or the person who offers your accommodation. By booking with us, we can help you to check-in.

7. For more information, please contact the local city Exit and Entry Frontier Inspection, such as the border control authorities of the ports of entry in Guangzhou or Chengdu.

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.

Guangzhou Pearl River


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.

Xian Terracotta Warriors


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


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.

Chengdu Panda


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.

Ciqikou in 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.

Stone Forest in 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.

Harbin Ice and Snow World


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


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

72-Hour Visa-free Transit or 24-hour Direct Transit

According to different passengers, China offers different transit policy without visa for 72 hours or 24 hours permitted stay. By judging the main difference, you can choose either one easily.

72-hour visa free transit: only allowed for permitted airport entering China, suitable for passengers who have enough time and plan to travel China within transit period.

24-hour direct transit: Valid passport holders from any country can enjoy this policy by any way to enter China's territory (by air/train/ship). With 24 hours limited stay area in either port of entry, you may just wait for transit without any required documents needed to apply. This kind of direct transit is suitable for passengers who come from nearby country and have budget of time and money.

No matter which way to choose to transit in China, you are welcomed here to view the vast country with beautiful landscape and time-honored history.

Booking Notice of your interline air ticket

Due to this policy only allowed for air transit, so before granting the transit permit, there are some notices to keep in mind for the interline air ticket booking, only for those passengers, who hold valid passports issued by the 53 countries.

1. With the stay area limit, if you book the interline air-ticket like:

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

Even you are planning to stay in both cities for 72 hours totally, as you can’t cross the city border. If you change the ticket and keep only one city for transit is allowed, such as:
  • a. “San Francisco - Guangzhou - Canada” is OK.

2. According to the policy requires for a foreign national passing through China city for a third country or region (including Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan). Therefore this measure does not apply to a passenger traveling back and forth different areas of same country. If your tickets printed like:

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

3. Following the” same airport in and out” limit rule, you should carefully book your ticket and not just measured by within 72 hours, but also keep eyes on whether the airline you chose have other stops cities in China. such as:

  • a. New York - Guangzhou (with a layover in Chengdu) - London is NOT OK.

If you choose Chongqing as your transit city, you should notice that the airline sometimes will stop in Shanghai Pudong Airport or Beijing Capital Airport before landing in Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport, in that way, your transit city chances to Shanghai or Beijing. If that situation happens, your latter itinerary will be ruined and you have to leave the Shanghai/Beijing international airport within 24 hours.

This situation may occur in other transit cities. Therefore, you should make sure the international airline you booked is nonstop preferably.

If you have any questions about the Chinese visa, please feel free to ask our travel expert for help.

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.

Relaxing Yangtze River Cruise
13 Days Classic China Tour with Yangtze Cruise

Beijing / Xian / Guilin / Yangshuo / Guilin / Chongqing / Yangtze Cruise / Yichang / Shanghai

Guilin Li River Fisherman
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Li River Cruise in Guilin
13 Days Chinese Treasures Tour with Panda

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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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