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Chinese Visa - Visa Guide for Travel to China

Chinese visas are issued both outside China, by the Chinese diplomatic missions, and in China, by the Exit and Entry Administrations (EEAs) of the county-level Public Security Bureaus (PSBs). In order to enter China, however, a non-Chinese national should apply to the visa-issuing authorities outside China for a Chinese visa. Because Hong Kong and Macau maintain their independent border control policies, ordinary Chinese visas are valid for Mainland China only and are not valid for Hong Kong or Macau, so travelers must apply for separate visas for Hong Kong or Macau should they require one for traveling to these regions.

Usually, most foreigners traveling to mainland China, whether for business or pleasure, require a visa. This China Visa Guide will help answer your questions to almost everything you need to know before applying for a China Visa, including visa types, requirements, application, cost, visa-exemption countries, visa-free transit policies, Visa on Arrival, etc.

What Is a China Visa?

A China visa is a travel authorization document usually required by China for entering its borders, which is issued by a Chinese embassy or consulate, affixed in your passport.

Important Things to Know about Chinese Visa

While planing a trip to China, the visa topic always comes first and seriously. Indeed, China Visa is an obligatory official permission all foreign travelers normally required to obtained for a China travel. To obtain a valid visa and enter China successfully, you need to do massive relevant researches, choose a right type of visa, make piles of paperwork meticulously, pay appreciate fees and submit application to Chinese Embassy or Consulate abroad. Once get it, you also need to enter adhering to related China’s laws and regulations, and more. Find it all here in our detailed posts about how to navigate the occasionally challenging - but ultimately satisfying - process to secure your China visa, regardless of how long you plan to travel. As with international travel anywhere, it’s important to prepare well in advance before departure. Travel to China does require a visa for most international visitors, and in certain regions, such as Tibet and Hong Kong, additional visas or permits are required if you are touring through other parts of the country. You’ll also find answers to these and many other frequently asked China visa questions. And if by some chance, you don’t discover the exact information you need, get in touch. Our team is here to help.

Chinese Transit Visa Free

Currently, China offers 24-hour, 72-hour and 144-hour transit visa free, totally 3 kinds of special visa services for foreigners transit convenience. Eligible travelers not only get Transit Visa exempted without any charges, but also granted a short-term stopover to explore brilliant and diverse nature, culture and history of China, spice up your world journey.

  • 72/144-Hour Visa Free Transit

    To get a visa-free layover tour in China, you must hold valid passport of the appointed 53 countries and departing ticket to a third country or region (including HK, Macau, Taiwan), transit through China via certain port in cities or regions.

    144-Hour Visa Cities (20):

    ● Beijing / Shanghai / Xian /Guangzhou / Chengdu

    ● Shenzhen / Tianjin / Hangzhou / Nanjing

    ● Xiamen / Kunming / Wuhan / Qingdao / Dalian

    ● Chongqing / Ningbo / Shenyang / Shijiazhuang / Qinhuangdao / Jieyang

    72-Hour Visa Cities (3):

    ● Guilin / Harbin / Changsha

    Special Notices:

    1. Transit travelers must enter via certain airport, seaport or land port and apply visa-free entry.

    2. The transit time officially counts from 00:00 the next day upon arrival.

    3. After entry, you must stay within the authorized administrative region and can not go places beyond the limitation.

    Learn more related requirements, application procedures and useful tips about:

  • Transit Visa Free Countries

    Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Monaco and Belarus.


    American Countries (6):


    The United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and the Republic of Chile.

    Oceania Countries (2):

    Australia and New Zealand.

    Asian Countries (6):

    South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

    China 24-Hour Transit Visa Free is open to all international transiting passengers, while 72-Hour and 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit only applies to citizens of specific 53 foreign countries. Others not in the list should obtain a China Transit Visa prior to arrival. Check full list as below:

    European Countries (39)

    - Countries under Schengen Visa Agreement (24): Austria, Belgium, Czech, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

    - Other European Countries (15): Russia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania,

    Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Monaco and Belarus.

    American Countries (6):

    The United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and the Republic of Chile.

    Oceania Countries (2):

    Australia and New Zealand.

    Asian Countries (6):

    South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

  • How to Apply Free Transit

    Applicants normally make request to the carrier when boarding, and follow a few simple steps to apply for a free entry and layover upon arrival. Also, you can make pre-arrival online application for Shanghai & Xiamen, or direct apply at the entry port.

    Step 1 - When boarding, inform the air/cruise/train staff that you will apply Visa-Free Transit. They will deliver your request to the immigration authority at border ports before arrival.

    Step 2 - Upon arrival, fill in the Arrival Card (blue version) at specialized desk, and then follow guide to Transit Visa Exemption counter. Complete related Application Form, and then queue up for submission with passport and ticket leaving for onward destination.

    Step 3 - After verification and checking, the immigration officer will grant you a ”Temporary Entry Permit” stamped on your passport.

    Step 4 - Go through custom clearance and immigration formalities, leave the port and transfer to downtown or your hotel.

    Step 5 - Must make temporary accommodation registration to local police station after checking-in within 24 hours.

China Visa FAQs & Useful Tips

The visa policy of China is quite confusing for foreign visitors, especially for first-time applicants, because it involves visa free and visa required situations, different visa types, entry, duration of time, visa fees and ways to apply.

1 Do you need a visa to visit China?

Usually most foreigners traveling to mainland China require a visa, except those who meet China Visa Free Policy, such as Singaporean, Bruneian and Japanese citizens (ordinary passport holders) enjoys visa-exempted visit to China for tourism, business and visiting family and friends for no longer than 15 days, transiting travelers applying 24-Hour, 72-Hour and 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit, etc.

2 Do I need a visa to go to China for a week?

For a week-long trip, a China Visa is not needed, if you’re in one of the three situations: 1.) if you hold ordinary passport of Singapore, Brunei and Japan, you can visit China for 15 days at maximum; 2.) if you are citizen of Fiji, Tango, Grenada, and all 14 countries signed mutual visa exemption with China, you can get to and stay in China for 30 days to 90 days depending on your nationality; 3.) if you are citizens of appointed countries, you’re allowed to stay in Hainan Province for up to 30 days without visa. Otherwise, you shall apply and get a visa to enter China before arrival.

3 Do I need a visa to visit China for 3 days?

Like mentioned above, you should check to figure out if you are eligible for China’s Visa Free Policy. And then start a visa application if do need one.

4 Do UK citizens need a visa for China?

UK citizens having a layover in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and other valid cities and meeting relevant requirements may get transit visa exemption for 24 hours, 72 hours (3 days) or 144 hours (6 days). Meanwhile, British trip to Sanya (Hainan) only can also get visa free entry, so does cruise tour groups to Shanghai. Others are required to get a visa for China prior to departure.

5 Does Malaysian passport need visa to China?

You don’t have to get a visa if you are granted a Temporary Entry Permit under China’s Transit Without Visa (TWOV) program, free entry to Hainan, qualified cruise group tour to Shanghai, or other visa free policy of China. Or else, you shall apply and obtain a valid visa for entry.

6 Is visa required for Singaporean to China?

Singaporeans are visa exempted if holding valid ordinary passport to China for tour, business and meeting family and friends within 15 days.

Visit with diplomatic, service passport, and for other purposes like study, working or overstaying in China, needs applying a China Visa.

7 Do you need a visa to go to Shanghai?

Shanghai offers 24-Hour & 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit and 15-Day Visa-Free Shore Excursion Tour for foreign cruise tour groups. Singaporeans, Bruneians, Japanese don’t need a visa to Shanghai for travel, business, and certain purposes. Same to people from 14 mutual visa exempted countries.

8 Do I need a visa to visit the Great Wall of China?

Great Walls have many different sections in China, stretching from Jiayuguan is Gansu in the west to east end Shanhaiguan in Hebei Province. The most famous and major parts are Mutianyu & Badaling Great Walls in Beijing, Jinshanling in Hebei Province and so on. Qualified transit passengers can visit Great Wall in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region under 144-Hour TWOV. Visitors from Singapore, Brunei and Japan are also free to visit the Great Walls during the 15-day trip in China without visa.

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