Chinese Visa Exemptions - Visa Free Policies

Do you need a Chinese Visa? A foreigner doesn’t need a Chinese Visa as long as he or she meets any following circumstances:

1. 72-hour Visa Free Transit

From January 1, 2013, China implemented the 72-Hour Visa-free Transit policy for citizens of certain 53 countries who meet the criteria to via and travel some certain China Cities within 72 hours (3 days), Including Guangzhou, Xian, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guilin, Kunming, Harbin, Xiamen, Wuhan, Qingdao and Changsha, in total of 11 cities (until February 28th, 2018). For people who are planning to apply for this visa free transit, you have to hold your flight tickets with specific date and seats to a third country or region (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) within the 72 hours.

Within this policy, visitors cannot leave the stay area during the visa-free 72 hour. And there are three types at below.

  • a. Only the city administrative region: Chengdu, Chongqing, Guilin, Kunming, Harbin, Xiamen, and Wuhan;
  • b. The whole provincial administrative region: Guangzhou, Qingdao and Changsha
  • c. For visitors to Xian, they can stay in both Xian and Xianyang cities within the 72 hours.

Also, this policy is only acceptable for visitors who enter/exit China from the appointed air ports, which means that you can only travel to China by flights, but not by train, ship, or other means of transportation. 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.

China 72-hour Visa-free Transit

2. 144-hour Visa Free Transit

Until 2018, there three parts in China has implemented the 144-hour Visa Free Transit policy for some foreign people to China, which are the Yangtze River Delta (Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang), the Jing Jin Ji Area (Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei) and Liaoning Province. Please see more about visa exemption policy of each region at below.

1. Visiting the Yangtze River Delta (Shanghai, Jiangsu & Zhejiang)

From January 30, 2016, citizens from the appointed 53 countries who meet the specific stipulates can transit and stay in the Yangtze River Delta, namely the administrative regions of Shanghai, Jiangsu province, and Zhejiang province without visa for up to 144 hours (6 days). It provides a better chance for visitors spend have more time appreciating the awesome highlights in a lot of nice destinations along the Yangtze River, including the Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing, etc.

Stay Area:

Administrative region of Shanghai Municipality, Jiangsu Province and Zhejiang Province

144 Hour China Visa

2. Visiting Jing Jin Ji Area (Beijing, Tianjin & Hebei)

From December 28th, 2017, citizens from the certain 53 countries can have a visa-free transit and travel in the Jing Jin Ji Area in China for 144 hours if he/she holds the tickets to the third country (region) with specific seats and dates and meets the criteria. According to the policy, visitors can spend 6 days traveling in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province without visa to enjoy a good vacation with the classic attractions, activities, food, culture and history of this prosperous economic area in northeastern China.

Stay Area:

Administrative region of Beijing Municipality, Tianjin Municipality and Hebei Province

144 Hours China Visa - Jing Jin Ji Megalopolis

3. Visiting Liaoning Province

The new 144-hour Visa Free Transit implementation to Liaoning Province was published on January 1st in 2018. It allows citizens from the appointed 53 countries on the list to via and travel in the whole Liaoning Province also for up to 144 hours without visa. Therefore, people meeting the criteria will have 6 days to explore the must-sees and must-dos in this province including cities like Dalian, Shenyang, etc. However, this policy is only suitable for people who enter and exit China by flights and from the specified air ports.

Stay Area:

Administrative region of Liaoning Province

144 Hours China Visa - Liaoning Province

Notes of 144-hour Visa Free Transit in China:

Tickets: visitors should hold onward tickets with specified dates and seats to the third country or region (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) within the 72 hours before you applying for the visa free transit. Furthermore, your onward flight/train/ship should not make a layover in any other cities in mainland China. Also, your departure place to China and destination from China should be in different country or region.

Ports: visitors should choose either one of the specified ports for you entry in a certain region of the 144-hour Visa Free Transit, and you can exit by any of the port in that only one region. However, entering and exiting by different ports in two regions of 144-hour Visa Free Transit is not acceptable.

Stay within the Specified Area: visitors should stay within the specified area of that one 144-hour Visa Free Transit and cannot go to other cities in China within 144 hours, also cannot go to other regions implementing such transit policy within the period.

See more about the detail cities, 53 countries, conditions, tips, examples, etc. of the 144-hour Visa-free Transit Policy in China to plan a wonderful visit to China.

3. 30-day Visa Free Transit in Hainan Island

From May 1st, 2018, foreigners with a valid passport from the 59 countries are free of Chinese visa for a visiting up to 30 days in Hainan Island (Hainan Province) if he/she meets the circumstances. These 59 countries are:

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.

So, travelers could feel free to plan you tour in Hainan Island in a much better pace to enjoy the sun, beach, palm trees, sea food, and passion of this island province at the southernmost China.

 ChineseVisa Exemption

4. 144-hour Visa Free Transit in Pearl River Delta

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. Within the 144 hours, visitors can enter the delta region from Hong Kong or Macau and stay in the administrative region of cities in Guangdong Province, including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing and Huizhou to enjoy the culture, history, buildings and food of Lingnan. And for the application, visitors must meet the following circumstances:

  • 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 only in Hong Kong and Macau.

Note: the 144-hour Visa Free Transit policy in Guangdong that enables visitors enter and exit China by ports in Guangdong Province is under planning, and we will update the news according to the new official notice.

 ChineseVisa Exemption

5. 24-hour Direct Transit

It is exempted from Chinese visa if a foreign citizen transits directly through China by international flights, trains or ships, but only can stay in the port for less than 24 hours. Another precondition is that he/she must have a confirmed seat of a flight, train or ship to a third country or region (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan).

 ChineseVisa Exemption

6. Citizens of Singapore, Brunei and Japan

A foreigner with a valid passport from Singapore, Brunei or Japan is exempted from the Chinese visa if whose purpose of visiting the mainland China is for tourism, business or visiting friends and relatives. He/she can stay in China for up to 15 days, but has to enter China from ports opened for foreigners. A Chinese visa is required if staying overtime, or going to China for study, work, government business, journalism, or other diplomatic activities.

7. Holders of Valid APEC Business Travel Card

Visitors who hold the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Business Travel Card can enter China multiple times within the valid period of the travel card with each stay up to 2 months during the card’s validity. But his/her image and biometric date must exactly match that on the card.

 ChineseVisa Exemption

8. Holders of PRC Foreigner's Permanent Residence Card

9. Holders of Residence Permit for Foreigners issued by PRC Ministry of Public Security

A foreign citizen is free of new visa for the second or multiple entries if he/she has obtained any kind of D, Z, J1, Q1, S1 or X1 visa (Chinese Visa Types), and at the same time has already got the residence permit from local public security authorities during the previous entry.

10. Bilateral Agreement

Up to know, China and 93 countries have concluded agreements on mutual visa exemption. Citizens whose purpose of visiting China is for diplomatic activities, official activities, etc, are exempted from Chinese visa. Check the List of Agreements on Mutual Visa Exemption Between the People’s Republic of China and Foreign Countries.

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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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