After three years of COVID-19 restrictions, China has resumed all types of visas for foreigners from Mar 15th, 2023. Our distinguished guests from Mexico has already landed Beijing on April 1st, 2023. For short-term travelers or temporary business visitors can also take advantage of our visa-free transit policy if travel in designated cities or regions while transferring in China. China has launched a 24/72/144 hours visa-free transit policy from 2013 and the permitted area are expanding. In this article, we will explain how this policy works, how you can explore multiple cities in China without applying tour visa and summarize some of the frequently asked questions.
Brief the differences between 24/72/144 hours visa-free transit policy.
24-hour visa-free policy is for citizens of all countries to enjoy a 24-hour visa-free transfer at all international airports in China.
72-hour visa-free is for citizens from 53 countries (check the country list). Applicable ports include Changsha, Guilin, Harbin.
144-hour visa-free is the same for citizens from 53 countries (check the country list). Applicable ports include a total of 20 cities, 27 ports.
Who are the 53 eligible countries for the 72/144-hour visa-free transit policy?
24 countries in the Europe Schengen area: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
15 other countries in Europe: Russia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, Monaco, Belarus.
6 countries in the Americas: United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile.
2 countries in Oceania: Australia, New Zealand.
6 countries in Asia: Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Qatar.
Country information is updated on Apr 1st, 2023.
What documents are required for the application?
1. Valid passport/travel document for at least 6 months from the date of entry.
2. Confirmed ticket to a third country/region.
3. Visa for a third country/region (if necessary).
4. A completed arrival/departure card (including name, nationality, passport/visa number and place of issue, flight number, purpose of visit, date of birth, gender).
Which cities can I travel to with 72/144-hour visa-free transit pass?
Below is a full list of the permitted areas for 72/144 visa-free transit pass. Among them, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area, Yangtze Delta area (Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Nanjing), Pearl River Delta area (Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Jieyang), allow multiple-citiy visit and entry/exit from any of the listed ports in the area. Other cities require entry and exit from the same port.
Cities allowed for 72-Hour Visa-Free Transit
Entry & Exit ports
Scope of permitted travel
Harbin city only
Guilin city only
Cities allowed for 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit
Entry & Exit ports
Beijing Capital International Airport
Beijing West Railway Station
Beijing Daxing International Airport
Tianjin Binhai International Airport
Tianjin International Cruise Port
Shijiazhuang Zhengding International Airport
Port of Qinhuangdao
Shanghai Pudong International Airport
Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport
Shanghai Train Station
Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal
Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal
Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport
Ningbo Lishe International Airport
Nanjing Lukou International Airport
Shenyang Taoxian International Airport
Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport
Qingdao Liuting International Airport
Qingdao International Cruise Home Port
Chengdu Tianfu International Airport
Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport
Xiamen Wutong Passenger Terminal
Xiamen International Cruise Center Port
Kunming Changshui International Airport
Wuhan Tianhe International Airport
Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport
Shenzhen Baoan International Airport
Jieyang Chaoshan International Airport
Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport
Xian Xianyang International Airport
Area is updated on Apr 1st, 2023.
How to apply for visa-free transit:
Inform the carrier upon boarding.
Fill out an arrival/departure card.
Request the 24/72/144-hour visa-free stay permit upon arrival.
Claim your luggage (if necessary).
Pass through customs.
Exit the airport.
Frequently asked questions
How is the 72/144-hour transit visa exemption period calculated?
Count from 00:00 on the following day after arrival. It means that your stay time can be more than 72/144 hours.
Example: If you arrive at 8:00 PM on August 1st, the counting of hours will start from 12:00 AM on August 2nd, and you can stay until 11:59 PM on August 4th for taking 72-hour transit visa and Aug 7th for 144-hour transit visa. Hence, the authorized duration of your stay is typically over 72/144 hours.
Under what circumstances can the visa-free transit be denied?
a) Chinese laws or administrative regulations prohibit your entry into the country;
b) your passport or other international travel document will expire within three months of your planned arrival in China, or contains a previous rejection stamp by a Chinese visa-issuing agency; c) you have illegally entered or exited China, resided in China without permission, or worked illegally in China within the past five years;
d) you have violated accommodation registration rules within the past two years and the violation was deemed "severe";
e) you are not traveling to a third country after leaving China, as the visa-free transit policy only applies to travelers in transit to a third country;
f) Additionally, crew members of international aircraft or ships and their accompanying family members are not eligible for the 144-hour visa-free policy.
I don't have a plan to go to a third country. Any chance to get the transit pass?
The transit route is Country A - Mainland China - Country /Region C. China Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau are considered as the third region. You can make most of the policy to plan the route without going to a third country: Country A - Mainland China – China Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau – country A.
Get a quick answer from ETripChina team