You probably didn’t know this— but you could visit China for up to 6 days without needing a visa!
We’re serious. We’ve found a hack. For those who have always dreamt of visiting Beijing, Shanghai, or any major Chinese city; you no longer have to worry about applying for a visa. But there is a catch. (Isn’t there always?)
Since this is only applicable to foreign travellers transiting through China, transit visa exemptions are only valid for 24, 72, or 144 hours. And, each transit visa exemption stipulates that foreign travellers are only eligible when traveling through China between two different countries.
To get started on this journey, travellers must communicate their intention to obtain a transit visa exemption to their airline prior to travel, who will then liaise with border control officials to grant transit visa exemptions.
Those entering China via Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Nanjing can travel within Shanghai, Zhejiang province, and Jiangsu province, and those entering via Beijing, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, and Qinhuangdao can travel within the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.
The 24-hour Transit Visa Exemption
Foreign travellers transiting through China within 24 hours to reach another country of destination may be eligible for a 24-hour Transit Visa Exemption. This visa exemption is available to all foreigners, and most ports of entry in China.
The 72-hour Transit Visa Exemption
Foreign travellers from the following 53 eligible countries transiting through China within 72 hours to reach another country of destination may be eligible for the 72-hour Transit Visa Exemption.
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, Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Macedonia, Monaco, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, UK, Ukraine, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, US, Australia New Zealand, Brunei, Japan, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, and UAE.
Eligible travellers must be transiting through one of the following 19 cities: Beijing, Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Guangzhou, Guilin, Hangzhou, Harbin, Kunming, Nanjing, Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Wuhan, Xiamen, or Xi’an.
The 144-hour Transit Visa Exemption
Foreign travellers from the above 53 eligible countries transiting through China within 144 hours to reach another country of destination may be eligible for the 144-hour Transit Visa Exemption.
Eligible travellers must be transiting through one of the following 15 cities: Hangzhou, Shanghai, Nanjing, Beijing, Shijiazhuang, Tianjin, Qinhuangdao, Guangzhou, Jieyang, Shenzhen, Xiamen, Qingdao, Wuhan, Chengdu, and Kunming.
Prospective travellers may also use a tool released by China’s State Council to determine their eligibility for a visa exemption based on their nationality and port of entry.
Enjoy the ride! Or as they say in Chinese: 路顺风!