Chinese Visa Exemptions - Visa Free Policies 2019

Do I need a visa to travel to China? That depends on your situation. At present, 15 visa-free policies have been put into force in China for oridnary passport holders, which covers cases of different nationality, different transportation of entry and visiting cities. Foreign visitors don’t need a Chinese Visa as long as you meet one of the following visa waiver programs.

1. 15-Day China Visa Free for Singapore, Brunei and Japanese Citizens

Citizens holding ordinary passport of Singapore, Brunei and Japan are exempted from the Chinese Visa, when they enter via ports opened to foreigners, and stay in mainland China for tourism, business or visiting friends/relatives for no more than 15 days. Thus, travelers can enjoy 2-week long holiday to popular destinations in China, experience different types of glamour of Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, etc.

However, a Chinese Visa is required for Singaporean, Bruneian and Japanese, if overstaying or visiting China for other purposes, like for study, work, businesss, journalism or other activities.

China Visa Free Policy Passports of Singapore, Brunei & Japan

2. 72-Hour Visa Free Transit

From January 1, 2013, China implemented the 72-Hour Visa-free Transit policy for citizens of certain 45 countries in Beijing and Shanghai. Later, more countries, cities and ports were added to beneift from it. With valid travel documents and connecting (air, ship, train) tickets to a third country (or region) departing within 72 hours, foreign nationals can enjoy TWOV (Transit Without Visa), enter and travel certain Chinese cities not exceeding 72 hour (3 days), including Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Guilin, Guangzhou, Chengdu, in total of 22 cities. Under such policy, transit passengers must enter and exit via appointed ports (most are airports) in the valid cities, stay in permitted administrative areas within 72 hour.

Valid Cities (22): Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Qinhuangdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Jieyang (Chaoshan), Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, Qingdao, Kunming, Xiamen, Harbin, Shenyang, Dalian, Changsha.

Each city has different range of movement, three types are included below:

① Transit in Chengdu, Chongqing, Guilin, Kunming, Harbin, Xiamen, and Wuhan - stay in the city administrative region only;

② Transit in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Qingdao, Changsha, Qinhuangdao, Shijiazhuang, Jieyang (Chaoshan) - stay in whole province and specified regions;

③ Transit in Xian - stay in Xian and Xian’yang.

Please visit China 72-hour Visa-free Transit Guide to know more useful guide of requirements, application, valid ports of entry, limited stay area and layover tours.

China 72-hour Visa-free Transit 72-Hour Visa-free Transit Signs at Airport
China 72-hour Visa-free Transit China 72-Hour Visa-free Transit City Map
(click to enlarge)

3. 144-Hour Visa Free Transit

Until May, 2019, in China, there are altogether 17 cities cities in top popular tourist regions offering 144-Hour Visa-free Transit policy for qualified foreigners. Applicants must come from 53 certain countries, hold connecting tickets to a third country (or region) with confirmed seats and date within 144 hours. Most cities (like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu...) has extended the previous 72-Hour TWOV to 144 hours with more ports and longer duration of stay.

The updated “no-visa” rule gives aliens greater convenience and chance to make in-depth layover tour. Please read detailed requirements, application guide, airport layover and useful tips in our 144-hour Visa-free Transit Policy in China to plan a wonderful visit to China.

>> Visiting Yangtze River Delta (Shanghai, Jiangsu & Zhejiang)

Shanghai, Hangzhou and Nanjing in Yangtze River Delta were the first cities to conduct 144-Hour Visa-free Transit in China since January 30th, 2016. Foreigners who meet all requirements can transit and stay in Yangtze River Delta, namely, Shanghai, and any cities in Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces, without applying a Chinese Visa for up to 144 hours (6 days).

Travel Advice: visitors could spend more time appreciating the awesome highlights along the Yangtze River. It’s highly recommended to enjoy a in-depth Shanghai tour at a leisure pace, or make side trip to Hangzhou, Suzhou or other neighboring cities from Shanghai.

Ports of Entry & Exit (7): Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport, Nanjing Lukou International Airport, Shanghai Railway Station, Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal.

Stay Area: Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing, Shaoxing, Jinhua, and any city in Jiangsu Province and Zhejiang Provinces.

144 Hour China Visa Shanghai Jiangsu Zhejiang Map

>> Visiting Jing-Jin-Ji Region (Beijing, Tianjin & Hebei)

From December 28th, 2017, China approved Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area to use 144-Hour Visa-free Transit for better serving international layovers. Once meeting all conditions, visitors may enter and exit via one of the six opened ports, visit Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province for no more than 144 hours.

Travel Advice: A 6-day visa-free Beijing layover tour is available. You can make a good vacation with Great Wall Hiking, visit Forbidden City and other landmarks, join in featured activities, taste local food, experience culture and history of this prosperous economic area in northeastern China.

Ports of Entry & Exit (6): Beijing Capital International Airport, Beijing West Railway Station, Tianjin Binhai International Airport, Tianjin International Cruise Home Port, Shijiazhuang Zhengding International Airport, Qinhuangdao Port.

Stay Area: Beijing, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Qinhuangdao, Zhangjiakou, Chengde and any city in Hebei Province.

144 Hours China Visa - Jing Jin Ji Megalopolis Map of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region

>> Visiting Pearl River Delta (Guangzhou, Shenzhen & Guangdong)

Guangdong followed Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu to take 144-Hour Transit Visa Exemption from May 1, 2019. Transiting through international airports in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Jieyang, foreigners who satisfy essential requirements may enjoy visa-free transit tour in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and all 21 prefecture-level cities in Guangdong Province, and exit from one of 32 ports in Guangdong.

Travel Advice: The policy perfectly links different kinds of tourist resources in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Grater Bay Area (粤港澳大湾区) via excellent transportation system. So, you can plan a 6-day stopover tour in Guangdong, discover distinctive cityscape in Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Jiangmen, and so on. Then, travel further to Macau, experienceing Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, take Guangzhou-Hong Kong Through Train to get to Hong Kong directly.

Ports of Entry (3): Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport, Jieyang Chaoshan Airport.

Stay Area: Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Shunde, Jiangmen, Shantou, Dongguan, and total 21 cities in Guangdong Province.

144 Hours China Visa - Guangdong Province Guangdong Province Map
(click to enlarge)

Recommended Pearl River Delta (Guangdong) Tours:

>> Visiting Liaoning Province

The 144-hour Visa Free Transit to Liaoning Province was adopted on January 1st, 2018. Eligible visitors transiting in Shenyang or Dalian are allowed to visit the whole Liaoning Province, tranfer Shenyang or Dalian to other cities in the province, for up to 144 hours without applying a Chinese Visa.

Trave Advice: While flying through Liaoning to North Korea, Japan, you can get transit visa waiver service to explore highlights and unique Northwestern style culture and folk customs in Dalian, Shenyang and else cities in Liaoning Province.

Ports of Entry (2): Shenyang Taoxian International Airport, Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport

Stay Area:Shenyang, Dalian, Anshan, Fushun, Dandong and any city in Liaoning Province.

144 Hours China Visa - Liaoning Province Shenyang & Dalian Lodation Map
(click to enlarge)

Special Notes of 144-hour Visa Free Transit in China:

A. About Tickets: visitors should hold connecting tickets with specified dates and seats to onward third country or region (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) within the 144 hours. For transit routes, your departure place to China and destination from China should be in different country or region. (Sample: Coutry A > China > Country B)

B. About Ports: it’s not allowed to tranfer from one region to another during the layover.

C. About Duration of Stay: the visa-free hour counts from 00:00 on the day after arrival, not the time of landing.

4. 24-Hour Direct Transit Visa Free

According to relevant laws and regulations, the transit visa could be exempted if a foreigner directly through China by international flight, train or ship heading for a third country (or region), and stay in China less than 24 hours. No immigration formalities are needed if he/she stay inside the entry port only. For leaving airport, and the ports of entry, a Temporary Entry Permit is required.

The 24-Hour Visa-free Transit applies to aliens from any countries, and most Chinese cities. If the connecting time is not urgent, visitors can take advantage of the 24TWOV to have a quick one day city tour, or visit attractions near the ports of entry.

5. 30-Day Hainan Visa Free for 59 Countries

From May 1st, 2018, Hainan Province started to offer visa-free entry to citizens from 59 designated countries for up to 30 days. Travelers must hold valid passport, be recerived by Hainan-based travel agency, enter through one of the international ports in Hainan and stay within administrative region of Hainan Province, including Sanya, Haikou, etc.

Attention that, before arrival, applicants should register with a Hainan travel agency, submitting personal and current travel informations. Then, you are free to plan a Hainan Island tour to enjoy the sunshine, beach, palm tree, sea food and passion of the beatiful island in southernmost China.

Chinese Visa Exemption - Hainan Visa Free

59 countries eligianle for Hainan visa-free entry includes: America Countries (6): the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and the Republic of Chile; European Countries (40): Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, 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 (11): South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

6. 6-Day Visa-free Guangdong Group Tour

Foreigners from any country that has established diplomatic relations with China and has already stayed in Hong Kong or Macau can enjoy the visa-free travel to the Pearl River Delta within 6 days. Based on the 144-hour visa waiver rule, visitor can travel from Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing, Huizhou and Shantou (total 10 cities) in Guangdong Province, fully discover culture, history, architecture and food of Lingnan.

Foreigners must meet all the following conditions for application:

● Holding a valid passport.

● Already staying in Hong Kong or Macau, and going to visit the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong and Macau.

● Joining a group tour of a travel agency which is registered in Hong Kong and Macau.

Note: Except the above visa-free group tour, Guangdong also provide 144-Hour Visa-free Transit for independent travelers.

7. 6-Day Guilin Visa Free for 10 ASEAN Tour Group

The 6-day visa-free entry to Guilin for ASEAN tour groups was officially carried out from May, 2015. Nationals from the 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) can join in a travel group (at least 2 tourists) from home country, and visit Guilin for 6 days without obtaining a Chinese Visa. And Guilin Liangjiang International Airport is the only port for entry and exit. 72-Hour Visa-free Transit in Guilin >>

Travel Advice: During the 6 days tour, Guilin downtown sightseeing, Li River Cruising, Longsheng Rice Terrace and Yangshuo Biking are the must-do features in Guilin.

China Visa Free Policy - 6 Days Guilin ASEAN Tour Group

8. 15-Day Shanghai Visa-free Cruise Tour Group

Approved by State Council, the 15-day visa-free international cruise tour group to China firstly took effect in Shanghai since October 1st, 2016. Foreigner tour group (with at least 2 visitors) can enter Shanghai visa cruise ports of Shanghai, visit Shanghai, Beijng, Tianjin and Liaoning, Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fusjian, Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan in costal areas. The cruise group tour are required to be organized and arranged by travel agency legally registered in China. All tourists members shall enter and exit together.

9. Visa Free to Hong Kong

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Hong Kong SAR) in Southeastern China has a another visa policy different from that of mainland China. Untile now, Hong Kong SAR Visa/ Entry Permit is exempted for ordinary passport holders from about 170 foreign countries/territories. The accurate length of stay varies from nationality, ranging from 7 days, 14 days, 30 days, 90 days to 180 days. More about Hong Kong Visa >>

* U.S.A Citizens. Australian, Canadian, New Zealand Citizen, French, Japanese - 90 Days / British Citizens - 180 Days

10. Visa Free to Macau

Like Hong Kong, Macau SAR also operate visa waiver grogram for nationals of 79 countries when they visit Macau for tourism or business matters. Foreigners coming form European Union and Schengen Agreement, are allowed to stay in Macau visa fee for up to 90 days, while visa-exempted stay in 14 days for Brunei citizens and 30 days for regular visitors. More about Macau Visa >>

*UK Citizen - 6 Months / New Zealand Citizen - 3 Months / Ameican, Canada, Austria, France, German, Italy Citizen - 30 days

11. Reciprocal Visa Exemption with China

Up to now, China and 144 countries have concluded agreements on mutual visa exemption. Please note that, ordinary passport holders from exclusive 14 countries can enjoy the privilege only, while other cases applies to diplomatic or official passport holders. The visa-free stay is at a maximum of 30 days, 60 days and 90 days for different nationality.

Download the Full List of 144 Foreign Countries Signed Bilateral Agreement with China here! For detailed stay periord for each citizenship, please go to our China Mutual Visa Exemption Guide >>.

12. Holders of Valid APEC Business Travel Card

When visiting China, the APEC Business Travel Card equates to a 5-year multiple-entry Chinese Visa. Business visitors from 21 APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) countries may enter China many time during the validity, as long as he take valid passport. And the permitted stay of each entry is 60 days at most.

13. Holders of PRC Foreigner’s Permanent Residence ID Card

The PRC Foreigner’s Permanent Residence ID Card is considered as the “Green Card” in China, allowing foreign holders reside in China without limitation of entries and staying period, and enjoy same treatment as Chinese citizens. The newest version (updated in 2017) serves like 2nd-generation ID card, which could be used in all occasions, such as booking train tickets, hotels, open account in banks, etc.

14. Holders of China Residence Permit

The Residence Permit is of PRC is issued to foreign holders of D, Z, J1, Q1, S1 or X1 visa, and other long-term Chinese Visas needing 1 year and above stay in China. Aliens holding China Residence Permit are free of new visa application, because the permit already grants double or multiple entries. Foreigners need to apply for the Residence Permit from local Public Security Authorities within 30 days upon arrival.

15. Special Visa-free Policy in China Border Areas

Certain visa-free policies are valid in some Chinese border areas. Russian citizens in Amur Oblast are allowed to have 1-day visa-free tour in Heihe (Heilongjiang Province), and Russian tour group with at least 2 members can visit Suifenhe (Heilongjiang Province) without obtaining a Chinese Visa. Kazakhstan citizens may get 3-day visa-free travel to Tacheng (Xinjiang).

Travel China Visa Free with China Discovery

China Discovery is a professional and experienced travel companion who offers high-value and worry-free tours for you. We not only design ideal itinerary covering sightseeing, dining, transfer and hotel, but also can provide any support & help you need to travel to China. Except Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Xiamen, Kunming, Wuhan, Nanjing, Qingdao are also 144-Hour Visa-free Transit cities. If you have a layover in Xian, Guilin, Chongqing, Harbin, 72-Hour Visa-free Transit is available for your. Without applying a visa, you can fulfill your dream tour to China, visiting the great cultural, historical, natural landscape. Just contact us, tell your interests and travel plans, we could arrange a perfect China tour as you requested.

Recommended Tours

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

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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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Questions & Discussions

Following are latest questions and answers from our webusers and customers. You can learn many useful information from the discussion and cases. You can also join in the discussions or ask your own question. Our experts will help you ASAP.

LA to Hong Kong to Kuming to Macau or Singapore
Can I fly with US passport from LA to Hong Kong, spend 3 days, then fly to Kuming for 72 hr and then depart to Singapore without Chinese visa.
2018-06-14 06:56
Hello Henry,

Thank you for the message. Yes, Kunming belongs to one of the Chinese city implementing the 72-hour visa free policy. Therefore, once you hold the valid airline tickets with 72-hour validation of final destination in the third country & have booked onward flight to Singapore with detailed date and seats, you could visit Kunming from Kunming Changshui International Airport and leave from this airport within 72 hours from Hong Kong with your US passport without visa. Also, you could check more details on our page at: https://www.chinadiscovery.com/chinese-visa/72-hour-visa-free.html.

Have a nice trip in China!
Tourist Visa 72 Hour
What do I need to do before I travel?
2017-04-13 12:59
Hello Paul,

Thanks for your question. Firstly you have to check whether your country is valid for the 72-Hour Visa-free Transit Policy, whether the city you are going to visit is visa-free for 72 hours. Check details on this page http://www.chinadiscovery.com/chinese-visa/72-hour-visa-free.html.

Best regards,

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