International visitors normally need a pre-arranged visa to enter China, but the country's newly expanded visa-free transit policies could allow some foreigners to enter China for up to six days without a visa, provided that their travel plans meet certain requirements.
The key rule here is that the visa-waiver scheme works for transits only, meaning that you're eligible only when you're entering from one country to travel through China before travelling on to another country.
There are three types of transits without a visa: the conventional 24 hours, and the recent additions of the more accommodating 72 hours and 144 hours. Of course, there are restrictions regarding nationalities and travel ranges within China, depending on your entry and exit ports. And they can be a bit confusing.
That's why we've prepared this manual to guide you through the basics and intricacies.
Let's take a look at the policy in detail.
I. What are the applicable ports? And what are the areas open to travel?
1. Ports for 144-hour visa exemption and areas open to trave
2. Ports for 72-hour visa exemption and areas open to trave
II. Who is eligible for the 72/144-hour visa exemption ? (Total of 53 countries)
24 Schengen Agreement Countries:
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 European Countries:
Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia (FYROM), Albania, Belarus, Monaco.
6 American Countries:
the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile.
2 Oceania Countries:
Australia, New Zealand.
6 Asian Countries:
Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Qatar.
During the visa-free transit period, foreigners should abide by China's laws and regulations and stay in the designated areas within the specified time.
If foreigners stay in hotels in China, the hotels should register their stay. For foreigners who reside or stay in domiciles other than hotels, they or the persons who accommodate them should, within 24 hours after arrival, go through the registration process with the public security organs or foreigner service stations in the place of residence.
If foreigners need to stay in the designated areas beyond the 72/144 hours due to force majeure, they should apply to exit/entry administrations of public security organs for corresponding stay permits.
Foreigners who fail to stay in the designated areas within the specified time, to exit from designated ports or process accommodation registration, will be punished by exit/entry border inspection authorities or local public security organs according to law.
1. What do I need to show the immigration officer for inspection while applying for 72/144-hour visa-free transit?
A foreign passenger eligible for the transit should provide the immigration officer with his/her own valid passport or other international travel document and onward ticket to a third country (region) with confirmed date and seat within 72/144 hours upon arrival, as well as arrival/departure cards filled out in detail, and should be ready to answer questions raised by immigration officers.
2. When does the 72/144 hours of visa-free stay start?
After confirming his/her qualification for 72/144-hour visa-free transit, the immigration inspection station will issue the foreign passenger a temporary entry permit. Then from 00:00 of the next day upon his/her arrival in China, he/she can stay in the designated areas without a Chinese visa for 72/144 hours.
3. Under what circumstances are foreigners not allowed to have a temporary stay permit?
Under any of the following circumstances, foreigners will not be issued a temporary stay permit by exit/entry border inspection authorities:
(i) Circumstances in which entry is not allowed in accordance with laws or administrative regulations;
(ii) Valid period of passport or other international travel document is less than three months, or there is a rejection stamp from China's visa-issuing authorities;
(iii) Have record of illegal entry into or exit from China, illegal residence or illegal employment in the past five years;
(iv) Have violated regulations on accommodation registration under serious circumstances over the past two years.
The State Council English website launched a query page to make things easier.
You only need to enter your country and the entry port in China, and click the search button, to see:
Applicable visa free policy 符合你的免签政策
Areas open to travel 免签停留范围
Entry and exit ports 入境和出境口岸