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Shanghai 144/72/24-Hour Visa-free Transit and Layover Tours 2020

Do I need a visa to visit Shanghai?

For travel to Shanghai, there are two different situations exists: visa-required and visa-exempted. If your visit meeting related visa-free transit or visa waiver regulations, you may enter and stay in Shanghai within limited area and duration for certain period. Otherwise, you have to apply for a Chinese Tourist Visa (L Visa) ahead of depature to tour Shanghai. Check who enjoy Chinese Visa Exemption and who can apply for TWOV (Transit Without Visa) below.

Do I need a visa for Shanghai layover?

If you are eligible for 24-Hour or 144-Hour Visa-free Transit Policy, a visa is not required for transitting though Shanghai. (But, A Temporary Entry Permit is needed for leaving the port of entry.) If not, you must apply for and obtain a Chinese Transit Visa - G Visa prior to arrival. How to Apply for a Chinese Transit Visa >>

Shanghai 144/72/24 Hour Visa Free Transit Transit at Shanghai Pudong Airport

3 Different Visa-free Transit Policies in Shanghai - Which One to Use

Shanghai, as one of world’s best-known international metropolis, has leaded the implementation of 3 kinds of TWOV (Transit Without Visa) policies in China, namely, 24-Hour, 72-Hour and 144-Hour Visa-free Transit. Now, 24-Hour and 144-Hour are the only two policies operated in Shanghai. Happen to have a layover in Shanghai? Check the following regulations to know if you can get transit visa exempted, and enjoy a “no-visa” stopover tour for up to 6 days in Shanghai.

● Shanghai 24-Hour Visa-free Transit

From March 15th, 2012, Shanghai Pudong International Airport in Shanghai was firstly approved to implement 24-Hour Visa-free Transit in China. Travelers of any foreign countries can get 24 TWOV with connecting (air, ship, train) tickets to a third country (region). It allows travelers to stay inside the airport without going through any immigration inspections, or leave airport to visit Shanghai visa free within 24 hours.

Advantage: Before taking flights, there is no visa application work to do, which saves both your time and money. Meanwhile, you may get a visa-free chance to quickly tour the city during layover.

● Shanghai 72-Hour Visa-free Transit

Since January 1st, 2013, Shanghai became the second city in China carried out 72-Hour Visa-free Transit Policy, after Beijing. Under the rule, citizens from certain countries are allowed to apply for transit visa exemption at Shanghai Hongqiao & Pudong International Airport in Shanghai for 72 hours. (The 72-Hour TWOV has been extended to 144 hours now.)

Advantage: With 2 major airports opened, foreigners have more choices of transit ports, and could spend longer time on a brief tour of Shanghai.

For more details about 72-Hour Visa-free Transit Cities, Valid Countries, Application and Guide, please visit China 72 Hour Visa Free Transit >>.

● Shanghai 144-Hour Visa-free Transit

Shanghai belongs to a part area of 144-Hour Visa-free Transit in Shanghai-Zhejiang-Jiangsu, Yangtze River Delta since January 30th, 2016. The newest policy not only offers total 3 ports of entry, prolongs the stay period from 72 hours to 144 hours (6 days), but also firstly used in a cross-provincial regions in China.

Advantage: It increases the number of ports of entry, enlarges the movement from Shanghai to neiboring Zhejiang & Jiangsu Provinces. Through the extension of duration of stay, tourists have an in-depth Shanghai tour or side trips to nearby destinations.

In China, Beijing, Xian, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Xiamen and more major tourist cities also provide 144-Hour Visa Free Transit. You can get more related information in our China 144-Hour Visa-free Transit >>.

144-Hour Visa Exemption Transit Policy in Shanghai

Carried out over 3 years, the 144-Hour Visa-free Transit in Shanghai has serving more than 140,000 international transit passengers. So who can benefit from the 6-day Shanghai visa service? Which ports are valid for the rule? Can I travel to Hangzhou from Shanghai? What's the requirements and restrictions? Find all answers and instructions below.

Beijing Transit Visa Free Requirements

Nationals from 53 countries are able to apply 144 Hour visa-free transit in Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, when they hold connecting (air, ship, train) tickets to a third country (or region) with confirmed seats and departure date within 144 hours. They can enter or exit through any of the 7 ports, stay within administrative regio of Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang for up to 144 hours without applying a Chinese Visa.

1. Transit Passengers must come from appointed 53 countries

Beijing Visa Free Country List

53 Countries Qualified for Shanghai 144 Hour Visa Free Transit (Enlarge to See Full List)

2. Transit Passengers must Hold Valid International Travel Document

The passport or international travel document should have a validty of at least for 3 months. A valid visa for a third country is needed if requires.

3. Transit Passengers must Hold Connecting Tickets to A Third Country (Region)

The 144-Hour Visa-free Transit Policy only applies to certain transiting route. Therefore, please make sure your departure and onward destinations are different. (Note: Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan are considered third regions from mainland China. Hong Kong Visa / Macau Visa >>)

Valid Routes:

A. US > Shanghai > Hong Kong or Macau

B. Australia > Shanghai > Hangzhou > Suzhou > Japan

C. US > Shanghai > Hangzhou >Singapore

4. Transit Passengers must Enter & Exit via Designated Ports

There are 8 ports of entry & exit opened in Yangtze River Delta in total, including 5 ports in Shanghai, and 1 airport in Hangzhou, Nanjing and Ningbo respectively. You are free to enter or exit via one of the ports. And it’s flexible to directly transit in Shanghai or transfer to Shanghai after enter from Nanjing (Jiangsu Province) or Hangzhou, Ningbo (Zhejiang Province).

Ports of Entry & Exit (8): Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, Shanghai Railway Station, Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal; Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport, Nanjing Lukou Internation Airport, Ningbo Lishe International Airport.

How to Apply for 144-Hour Visa-free Transit in Shanghai?

①. Inform the air company that you will take to get to Shanghai when boarding.

②. Go to waiting area and fill in an Arrival Card (blue version), after landing at airports or cruise terminals in Shanghai..

③. Submit completed Arrival Card at the specialized 144-Hour Visa-free desk.

Shanghai has adopted Online Application System for 144-Hour Transit Visa Exemption. Applicants may submit application abroad ahead of departure, and print the completed Arrival Card, or fill in on a self-servie machine when arrive at airports in Shanghai and other ports of entry.

④. Obtain a Temporary Entry Permit stamped on your passport. (Don’t forget to tell the officer you don’t want to use the China Visa you already got.)

⑤. Claim your luggage and go through customs and immigration inspections.

⑥. Leave the port of entry to start your layover tour in Shanghai & other cities in Zhejiang and Jiangsu Provinces.

Note: All foreign visitors should make temporary accommodation registration at the local Public Security Bureau within 24 hour upon arrival. For who stay in hotel, the hotel staff will make the registration for you, others need to go to the Exit-Entry Administration Office personally to get registered.

Shanghai 144/72/24 Hour Visa Free Transit Applicants were filling in Arrival Card
Shanghai 144/72/24 Hour Visa Free Transit

Transit at Shanghai Pudong International Airport

Shanghai Pudong International Airport (上海浦东国际机场, IATA:PVG,ICAO:ZSPD), one of the two major ports of entry valid for 144-Hour Visa-free Transit Policy in Shanghai, has facilitated over 130,000 foreigner passenger during the past 3 year, about 90% of the total applicants. It is the busiest international hub in China, handling airlines between nearly 300 cities in 47 foreign countries. Please read the following guide to help your layover go smoothly.

Location and Transportation

Address: No.6000, Yingbin Avenue, Pudong New Area, Eastern Shanghai (上海市浦东新区迎宾大道6000号), about 30km (18.6 mi) to downtown, about 1 hour’s driving to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station, Shanghai Railway Station.

Upon arrival, tourists can take Maglev Train (07:02-21:42, 22:15, 22:40), taxi, airport shuttle bus, metro (Line 2, running hour: 06:00~22:30), public bus to transfer to city center, or take long-distance bus (coach) to get to Hangzhou, Suzhou, Wuxi (无锡), Yiwu (义乌), and other cities in surrounding area.

Transportation from Pudong Airport to Downtown City:

Shanghai Disneyland is the only attraction near Shanghai Pudong Airport, while other sites are mainly located far away in downtown area or west of Shanghai.

◆ Pudong Airport to the Bund: about 1 hour & 20 minutes by Metro Line 2; about 50 minutes ~ 1 hour by taxi.

◆ Pudong Airport to Shanghai Museum: about 1 hour’s driving/45 km.

◆ Pudong Airport to Yu Garden: about 1hour’s driving /42km; about 1.5 hours by Airport Bus Line 5.

◆ Pudong Airport to Zhujiajiao Water Town: about 1.5 hours’ driving.

◆ Pudong Airport to Disney Resort : about 1.5 hours’ driving.

◆ Pudong Airport to People's Square: about 1 hour & 20 minutes by Metro Line 2 (passing through Shanghai East Pearl Tower); about 1 hour (48km) by taxi.

Shanghai Pudong Airport Transportation Map Shanghai Pudong Airport Transportation Map (click to enlarge)
Shanghai 144/72/24 Hour Visa Free Transit Stunning Night View of The Bund

Where to Sleep during layover in Shanghai?

Airport Transit Hotel: Except regular services like consultance, business loung, baggage storage, currency exchange, there are also (time-charge) hourly hotel with Wi-Fi provided inside the airport. The temporary accommodation service is valid for 24 hours, and located at the dining floor near the entrance of Internationa, Hong Kong - Macau - Taiwan Departures Hall, Terminal 2. The hourly hotel opends 24 hours, which is most suited for who arrive at late night, or will catch early morning flights.

Accommodation in Downtown: With longer duration of stay, you could visit downtown, book hotel in good location with perfect facilities. It's better to choose hotels near airport, and has convenient transportation to major attractions.

Useful Links: Luxury Hotels in Shanghai / Comfort Hotels in Shanghai / Economy Hotels in Shanghai

Shanghai Airport Transit Hourly Hotel Hourly Hotel in Terminal 2

Shanghai Airport Visa on Arrival

On the basis of related laws and rules, foreigners can submit Port Visa (Visa on Arrival) at the visa office of the Exit-Entry Administration of Shanghai Public Security Bureau at Shanghai Pudong International Airport, if he/she meets one of the following situations:

1. For emergency (being invited at short notice for attendng a trade fair, signing economic contract, trade activity, installing equipment or make repairs, settling claims,)

2. For scenitific or technological meeting.

3. For visiting a patient in critical condition or making funeral.

4. For tourist groups organized by travel agencies in China, Hong Kong or Macau.

Required Documents includes: valid passport, completed Visa Application Form, recently-taken photos, and other supporting documents for urgent visit. Check detailed guide in https://gaj.sh.gov.cn/crj/default.jsp (official website of Exit-Entry Administrative of Shanghai Public Security Bureau).

Useful Links: How to Apply for a Visa for China / China Visa Application Required Documents / How to Apply China Visa on Arrival

Shanghai Visa on Arrival - Port Visa High-tech talent applied Port Visa at PVG
Shanghai 144/72/24 Hour Visa Free Transit Online Visa Guide of Shanghai PSB

Shanghai Layover Tours - What to Do in Shanghai Layover?

Getting Transit Visa Exemption in Beijing not only brings real convenience for Successfully granted 144-Hour Visa-free Transit means you have at most 6 days to tour Shanghai and major cities around. It’s highly suggested to visit top famous landmarks (the Bund, etc) to witness the bustling metropolic of Shanghai, if the layover period is less than 3 days. For a longer layover, you may have a classic Shanghai tour with major scenic spots, towers and cultural sites, or travel to Hangzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing, Ningbo with Shanghai together to experience different scenery, culture and history of Keang-nan (Jiangnan - Southern China) in Yangtze River Delta.

◆ 24 Hours in Shanghai - Shanghai One Day Tours

    Top Recommended Attractions: Maglev Train, Shanghai Museum, Yu Garden, The Bund, Nanjing Road.

    What to see in Shanghai when having a day or less? Skycrapers, culture sites of traditional eastern style or mixed feautures, urban life scenes, Shanghai gets more than that for your discovery.

    You can start from taking a Maglev Train from Pudong International Airport to downtown area. For a daytime layover, you can visit Shanghai Museum in the morning to enjoy the great cultural and historic development of Shanghai, then transfer to 600-year old Yu Garden to view beautiful Chinese garden in Suzhou style, later visit the Bund to see exotic architectures complex along Huangpu River.

    Tips: We advise you to use Left Luggage Service at the airport and just bring backpack to travel light.

    Useful Links: Shanghai Travel Guide / Top Things to Do in Shanghai / Get to & around Shanghai

◆ 3 Days in Shanghai - Shanghai Transit Tours within 72 Hours

◆ 144 Hours in Shanghai - Travel to Yangtze River Delta from Shanghai

    Top Recommended Attractions: Maglev Train, The Bund, Shanghai Museum, Yu Garden, Shanghai Tower, West Lake, Lingyin Temple, Longjing Tea Fileds, Zhouzhuang/Tongli Ancient Town, Humble Administrator’s Garden, Suzhou Museum.

    6 days are far enough for a trip to Shanghai, so most visitors seize the chance to travel to Hangzhou, Suzhou from Shanghai to experience diverse culture and history in southern China, like watertownships, classic gardens, World Cultural Heritage - West Lake, etc.

    It’s suitable to tour landmarks in city center of Shanghai for 2 days. Then you may drive or take high speed train to picturesque Hangzhou touring 2 days, ramble around the scenic West Lake, learn the Longji Tea culture in the plantation or museum. After arrival in Suzhou, slow down and take 2 days to enjoy those exquistive gradens, well-designed ancient watertowns, marvellous design building of Suzhou Museum (masterpiece of world famous architect - Ieoh Ming Pei), and fasinating Suzhou silk and Kunqu Opera. Itinerary depends on your taste and free time.

    Most Popualr Yangzte River Delta Tours:

  • 5 Days Shanghai Suzhou & Hangzhou West Lake Bike Tour
  • 5 Days Shanghai Hangzhou Suzhou Highlights Tour
  • 6 Days Splendid East China Tour by Train
  • 5 Days Essence of Shanghai & Hangzhou Tour

More Useful Tips about Shanghai Visa Policy

1. Other visa-free policies in Shanghai

Except the listed transit visa exemption for 24 hour, 144 hours, Shanghai also own more visa free convenience, for example, 15 days for tourists from Singapre, Brunei and Japan, 15 days for international cruise tour group, etc. More about Shanghai 15 Day Visa Free for Cruise Tour Groups >>

2. Official website of online Shanghai visa guide for foreigners

Check different kinds of visa requirements, application procedures in https://gaj.sh.gov.cn/crj/default.jsp. online platform of Exit-entry Administrtative of Public Security Bureau of Shanghai.

3. Visa Renewal and Extension in Shanghai

Aliens already holding ordinary China Tourist Visa can get visa renewal and extension service conveniently at the related visa office of Public Security Bureau. How to Extend and Renew China Visa >>

Travel Shanghai 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 Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xiamen, Kunming, Wuhan, Nanjing, Qingdao also 144-Hour Visa-free Transit cities. If you have a layover in Guilin, Harbin, Changsha, 72-Hour Visa-free Transit is available. Without visa, you can fulfill your dream tour to China, visiting the great cultural, historical, natural landscape will. If you are interested in China visa-free tour, we could also customize a China visa-free tour in more available destinations if you meet relevant visa requirements.

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.

the Bund
3 Days Shanghai Past and Present Contrast Tour

Shanghai

Hangzhou Sunset
5 Days Shanghai Hangzhou Suzhou Highlights Tour

Shanghai / Hangzhou / Suzhou / Shanghai

West Lake Summer
5 Days Essence of Shanghai & Hangzhou Tour

Shanghai / Hangzhou / Shanghai

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.

Customize a Trip

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.

Overnight stay in Shanghai while on a cruise
We are visiting Shanghai on a cruise ship and overnighting on the ship at the terminal. We have been told we cannot obtain a 72/144 visa to leave the terminal unless we use the services of a tour guide. We do not require a guide. This seems to be a scam operated by tour guides and the cruise company. Can we obtain a transit visa without a guide?
2019-12-03 03:03
Hi Phil,
Currently, there are different visa free policies implemented in Shanghai, including the 24 and 144 hour transit visa free and 15 day visa free for cruise group visitors...
If your last departure city is different from the next destination,you may apply for 24 hours’ Temporary Entry Permit to enter Shanghai and stay overnight out of the ship at the terminal.144 Hour is likely to be given to those who will layover in Shanghai for several days (within 144 hours).No local tour guide is required for the TWOV application.
However, cruise passengers can also have a 15-day shore excursion by booking a local tour service.No specific restriction of the travel route and citizenship, but do has the regulation of paid local tour service and number of group size.
That is to say, you can get 24 hour transit visa exempted after arrival without booking a tour guide, as long as you finish related processes.
Wish everything goes well and enjoy your cruise trip!

Best Regards,
24 hour TWOV question
Hi, I am traveling from the US (layover in Hong Kong) and then to Shanghai. From Shanghai I will be boarding a cruise to Japan the same day. Do I qualify for the 24 hour visa-free transit? Also, Do I need to register at the local police station even though I am boarding a cruise the same day and not residing anywhere? Thank you!
2019-11-21 20:09
Hi Judy,
Sorry for our late reply!
Yes, you can use 24 hour visa free transit in Shanghai airports or cruise ports upon arrival. Since you only make short transit in Shanghai, you don’t need to make accommodation registration like the 72 & 144 hour transiting tourists.
Wish you everything goes well and enjoy this visa-free trip!

Best Regards,
144h transit
Hello, maybe you can help. I am flying into shanghai pudong from hong kong and leaving 72h later from the other shanghai airport to Macau. I tried the online applocation but Hong Kong and Macau can not be selected. Do you know if I can get the transit visa?
Thank you very much for your help
2019-09-04 04:29
Hi Nicole,
We confirmed with the Shanghai Immigration Office that you are eligible to apply for 144 hour transit visa free in Shanghai. If the online application doesn’t have the option, you can apply at the airport on the spot upon arrival, fill in paper form and apply for the free entry.
Enjoy your trip and have a good day!
TWOV Arriving from Hong Kong
We are USA citizens. We plan to go from Hong Kong to Shanghai, stay four days, and then go from Shanghai to USA. This qualifies for the 144-hour TWOV, right? However, when I try to apply on the Shanghai website, the drop down does not show Kong Kong as a place that we can arrive from. What should I do? Thanks.
2019-08-25 00:57
Hi Michael,
Yes, your situation is eligible for Shanghai 144 hour visa free transit.
If the online application doesn’t have the proper option, you can simply apply at the airport or cruise terminal after arrival. Get a paper form to fill out at the special visa-free areas. That is confirmed by Shanghai Immigration Office.
Enjoy your trip in Shanghai:)
Visa info
Thank you Caroline. I realize I did not give you the itinerary: arrive 21 May, 3 nights hotel, leave Shanghai on 24 May, cruise to Kobe, Osaka, Tokyo and back to Shanghai 31May and fly back to UK that evening. Hope that helps and thank you.
2019-07-05 16:51
Hi Pauline,
Glad to get your quick response. So here is your travel routes:

UK --> Shanghai (arrival on 21 May and stay on 21 to 23) --> Japan (take cruise on 24 May) --> Shanghai --> UK right?

Since you hold a UK passport, your tour only have a short layover in Shanghai, with a passport of over 3 months’ validity & tickets to Japan / UK, you are qualified to apply for 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit, for both trips (arrival & return trip). You can complete online application form in https://gaj.sh.gov.cn/crj/144zy.jsp or fill in form through a machine, or get a paper form on arrival.
After landing at Shanghai Pudong Airport, bring your passport & cruise ticket to 144-Hour counter, fill in application form to apply a Temporary Entry Permit, which is free of charge. Then you can stay in Shanghai without applying an advanced visa.
When coming back from Japan, you still need to make visa exemption application at immigration area at Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal. This time, your stay period is very short, it’s possible to get a 24-hour visa-free transit only. Anyway, it depends on customs officers.

Here is our most recommended Shanghai tours for you: https://www.chinadiscovery.com/shanghai-tours.html.

Happy the coming travels and wish you luck in getting a “no-visa” Shanghai tour.

Best Regards,
Visa requirement
I am flying to Shanghai arriving 21 May 2020 and will stay until 24 May when I will embark a cruise ship. I return to Shanghai and fly straight home to UK on 31 May 2020. I hold a UK passport.

What kind of a visa do I need please?
2019-07-04 22:33
Hi Pauline,
Thanks for your inquiry.
There are different visa types for different purpose of visiting China. You mentioned you will take a cruiseship from Shanghai, so if you come to China for tour, you shall apply for a China Tourist Visa - L Visa. Here is our page https://www.chinadiscovery.com/chinese-visa/china-tourist-visa.html which introduces the details, including documents needed, application fees and processes, etc.
Based on the limited information you gave, we’re not sure whether you are eligible for Shanghai 144-Hour Transit Visa Exemption. If your cruise ship will visit a third country or region, like Hong Kong or Macau, you may qualify a 6-day layover in Shanghai without visa. Thus, we will give proper advice further if you provide more itinerary infos.

Have a good day!

Best Regards,

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