China passport visa free countries 2023
What are the visa-free countries for china passport holders, what countries provide visa on arrival for china passport holders.
Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) Countries for China Citizens
Which countries do china citizens need to apply for an e-visa, list of countries requiring visas for china citizens.
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Visa Free Countries for Chinese Passport
Visa free countries for chinese citizens in 2024.
Where Can Chinese Passport Holders Travel Without a Visa?
As of 2024 , Chinese Citizens can travel visa free to 81 countries and territories:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Azerbaijan *
- Bangladesh *
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- British Virgin Islands
- Cape Verde Islands *
- Comoro Islands
- Cook Islands
- Equatorial Guinea
- Guinea-Bissau *
- Madagascar *
- Mauritania *
- Mozambique *
- Northern Mariana Islands
- Pakistan **
- Palau Islands *
- Sao Tome and Principe *
- Saudi Arabia *
- Seychelles *
- Sierra Leone *
- Sri Lanka **
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- Timor-Leste *
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- United Arab Emirates
*visa on arrival **eTA
To ease your worries, we've prepared a travel checklist for your convenience:
- Travel Checklist for 2024 - Things to Keep in Mind
- Henley Passport Index for 2024
- Best Travel Credit Card in 2024
- Top 10 Most Powerful Passports for 2024
- Where not to travel in 2024?
- Top 10 Safest Countries to Travel in 2024
- Top 10 Cheapest Countries to Travel in 2024
- Top 10 Most Visited Countries in the World
- Top 10 Least Visited Countries in the World
- Interesting Facts about China
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- Buy Travel Insurance Online - Travel Insurance 0,69 USD/day
28.10.23 Sentyab is Among the 10 Most Beautiful Villages in the World
28.12.22 Uzbekistan Establishes Visa-Free Regime for Citizens of Saudi Arabia
11.07.22 Kazakhstan Establishes Visa-Free Regime for Citizens of India, Iran and China
08.06.22 Uzbekistan to lift all coronavirus restrictions
15.03.22 Uzbekistan opens for foreign tourists from March 16!
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Visa Requirements for Chinese Citizens
Find out the visa requirements for citizens of China to visit any country around the globe.
Visa requirements for Chinese nationals are the rules and regulations surrounding the mandatory entry authorization (if any) that each country around the globe has in place for citizens of China who wish to travel there.
In terms of travel freedom, the Chinese passport is currently ranked 72nd by the Henley Passport Index, enabling holders to enter over 70 countries without a visa or by obtaining a visa on arrival .
Visa requirements for Chinese citizens vary from country to country. Many sovereign states have different visas or travel authorizations depending on the length and purpose of the stay .
Nationals of China enjoy visa exemption for certain countries and may enter with their passport alone. There is usually a limit on the length of time they can stay without a visa (typically between 30 and 90 days).
Various countries have an electronic visa (eVisa) with a streamlined application process that can be done via the internet. This makes visiting these destinations easier for Chinese travelers. Like visas on arrival, eVisas are usually for the purposes of short-term stays for tourism or business .
Several other sovereign states allow Chinese visitors to obtain a visa on arrival . Similarly, these tend to be valid for short stays, while different types of consular visa may be required for longer stays.
In order to visit a number of states, citizens of China must go to an embassy belonging to their destination country and apply in person for a consular visa .
If a Chinese national plans to live and/or work in another country , in most cases they will require a long-term visa and one or more additional permits, which can be obtained from an embassy.
List of Visa Countries for Chinese Passport Holders
Chinese travelers require one type of visa or another for entry to over 200 countries around the world .
A number of these states have made eVisas available to Chinese nationals to facilitate quick applications and make visiting easier due to the size of the tourist market that mainland China represents.
There are various types of visas for Chinese travelers, depending on the purpose of travel. Some countries have a separate tourist visa, business visa, student visa, work visa, and transit visa .
Most eVisas and electronic travel authorizations (ETAs) cover both tourism and business trips, with many also covering transit. However, for some countries, an eVisa is only for Chinese tourists, with a separate business visa for Chinese businessmen.
Certain types of visas , particularly work and residence visas, can only be obtained at an embassy .
Although Chinese passports entitle the holder to enter over 20 countries without a visa, many other sovereign states and territories ask that visitors from China meet their visa requirements .
Below is a map of all the countries for which a citizen of China must apply for a visa in order to visit .
Electronic Travel Visa Authorization
Electronic Travel Visa Authorization systems allow travelers to apply for either an electronic visa (eVisa) or register for a visa waiver online. These systems mean that Chinese nationals can avoid having to go to an embassy to apply for a visa in person.
Around 40 countries have an eVisa system available for which travelers from China are eligible. The applicant must complete an online visa application form , which usually involves submitting their basic personal details, passport information, and a contact email address.
Many online visa requirements for Chinese citizens also include answering a few questions on topics such as health and previous travel for security purposes.
The approved digital visa or confirmation of approval is sent to the applicant by email . An eVisa is usually linked to the Chinese visitor’s passport , although some countries may require them to bring a printed copy as well.
As a rule, eVisas allow the holder to visit the destination for short stays . This may vary from 2 weeks to 3 months, depending on the country.
Some countries have eVisas that allow Chinese citizens to make multiple visits , while others permit a single entry only .
A number of sovereign states have similar online systems for visa waivers. These are often referred to as electronic travel authorizations (ETAs) . More streamlined than eVisas, these systems require visa-exempt foreign nationals to register their details in order to pre-screen visitors for security purposes.
Consult the list below for all the destinations that have an eVisa, ETA, or EVUS available for Chinese travelers .
Countries for nationality
Visa On Arrival
Visas on arrival for Chinese citizens are travel documents that can be acquired at the border of the destination country , either at an airport after disembarking an aircraft, at a seaport if arriving by ship, or at a land border crossing checkpoint.
A visa on arrival for some countries may only be available at certain ports of entry to the state.
There are often long lines for the visa on arrival application form , which must then be completed by the Chinese national and processed by border officials, meaning that the traveler must spend some time waiting before they are allowed into the country.
In some cases, the applicant may have to pay the fee in the local currency . Paying by credit or debit card is not always possible in certain countries.
Several countries that issue visas on arrival for Chinese citizens also have eVisas available , which allow the traveler to apply in advance and therefore avoid long lines at the border .
Visas on arrival for Chinese visitors tend to allow a stay in the sovereign state of between 14 and 90 days, depending on the country .
Check the list below for all the countries where travelers from China can obtain a visa on arrival.
Visa On Arrival: Country list
- Brunei Darussalam
- Sao Tome and Principe
- United Arab Emirates
Embassy Visa Required
An embassy visa for Chinese travelers is a passport stamp or a physical document that allows the individual to enter a certain country, which must be obtained from an embassy or consulate belonging to that sovereign state.
Embassy (or consular) visas must be acquired by the Chinese citizen before they depart for their destination and must be presented to a border control official upon arrival along with their passport.
Chinese nationals can apply for embassy visas by making an appointment at the nearest diplomatic mission of the destination country and completing an application form. Many sovereign states require foreign travelers, including Chinese citizens, to attend an interview at the embassy before the visa can be approved.
Various supporting documents may be required, including, but not limited to, the traveler’s Chinese passport.
Depending on the country, embassy visas can take a number of weeks to process , so Chinese citizens are advised to apply well in advance of their intended date of departure.
In some cases, an embassy may be the only way for a Chinese national to obtain a tourist visa or business visa for the destination. However, only embassies can issue a work visa, student visa, or residence visa for most countries.
See the list below for sovereign states that require Chinese travelers to apply for an embassy visa for any visit.
Embassy Visa Required: Country list
- Aland Islands
- American Samoa
- British Indian Ocean Territory
- British Virgin Islands
- Burkina Faso
- Cayman Islands
- Central African Republic
- Christmas Island
- Cocos Islands
- Cook Islands
- Czech Republic
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- El Salvador
- Falkland Islands
- Faroe Islands
- French Guiana
- French Polynesia
- Isle of Man
- Marshall Islands
- New Caledonia
- Norfolk Island
- North Korea
- Northern Mariana Islands
- Pitcairn Islands
- Republic of Cyprus
- Saint Barthelemy
- Saint Helena
- Saint Martin
- Saint Pierre and Miquelon
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Sint Maarten
- Solomon Islands
- South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
- South Korea
- Svalbard and Jan Mayen
- Syrian Arab Republic
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- United Kingdom
- Vatican City
- Wallis and Futuna
Visa Not Required
Chinese nationals may visit a number of countries without a visa . In most cases, visa exemption is limited by length of stay.
For some sovereign states, the maximum length of time a Chinese citizen may remain in the country visa-free is 7 days; for others, it is 3 months.
If the Chinese visitor intends to stay longer than the allotted time limit, they must apply for the relevant type of visa instead . This usually means that they must visit the diplomatic offices (embassy) of the country they plan to travel to.
Over 20 different sovereign states permit Chinese nationals to enter without a visa for short stays.
Some Countries only allow visitors from China to enter without a visa if they meet certain conditions .
For countries where a visa is not required, Chinese travelers simply have to present their passport at border control to enter the destination country.
Find the countries for which nationals of China are visa-exempt in the list below.
Visa Not Required: Country list
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Equatorial Guinea
- Federated States of Micronesia
- Palestinian Territory
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
Visa requirements checker
Thailand has announced temporary visa exemptions for tourists from India and Taiwan, effective from November 10, 2023, until May 10, 2024. Tourists from these countries will no longer need a Thai visa to enter the country, temporarily joining around 60 other visa-free nations. This move comes after other recent changes to Thailand’s visa policy, which
The Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia has announced the expansion of the Saudi eVisa program to 6 additional nationalities. Travelers from the following countries can now obtain a tourist visa for Saudi Arabia online: Mauritius Panama Saint Kitts and Nevis Seychelles Thailand Türkiye “The Kingdom welcomes the world by expanding and streamlining the E-visa
The new visa waiver program for Europe’s Schengen Area will be arriving later than expected. The latest announcement from the European Union (EU) has stated that the ETIAS system will now be launched in 2025 instead of 2024. The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) has been in the works for several years. It
Indonesia has now launched a simplified student visa application. The Indonesian Directorate General of Immigration inaugurated the new visa for education at Gadjah Mada University (UGM), Yogyakarta on October 12, 2023. “Education visa applications can be conveniently submitted online”, Director for Immigration Stay Permits Heru Tjondro announced at the event. International students can now apply
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A foreign citizen can enter China without a visa under any one of the following circumstances:
1) Direct Transit
A foreign citizen who is transiting through China by air is exempted from a visa if he/she will stay only inside the airport (without entering the boder control) for no more than 24 hours and has a valid connecting ticket with confirmed seating on an international flight.
2) Transit in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou or Chengdu etc. within 72 Hours
As of June 2015, citizens of 51 countries with valid international travel documents and air tickets for a connecting flight with confirmed date of flight and seat for a third country or region can apply for a 72-hour transit visa exemption at ports of entry in Beijing Capital International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport，Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport， Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport，Shenyang Taoxian International Airport，Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport，Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport，Guilin Liangjiang Airport，Kunming Changshui International Airport，Xi’an Xianyang International Airport, Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport, Harbin Taiping International Airport, Wuhan Tianhe International Airport, and Tianjin Binhai International Airport.
( For the list of 51 countries, please refer to
3) Foreigners to visiting the Pearl River Delta or Hainan Island
A. A foreign citizen holding an ordinary passport issued by any country with diplomatic relations with China is exempted from a visa if he or she is already in Hong Kong or Macao and joins a tourist group organized by a travel agency, which is registered in Hong Kong or Macao, for a visit to the Pearl River Delta region (including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing and Huizhou) and his or her stay is no more than 6 days.
B. A foreign citizen holding an ordinary passport issued by any of the following countries is exempted from a visa if he or she joins a tourist group (of 5 or more persons) organized by an international travel agency registered in Hainan with the approval of China National Tourism Administration to visit Hainan Province and his or her stay is no more than 15 days: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, the U.K., Ukraine and the United States of America.
Citizens of Germany, Republic of Korea and Russia may join an international tourist group (of 2 or more persons) and can stay up to 21 days.
4) Citizens of Singapore, Brunei and Japan
A citizen of Singapore, Brunei or Japan with an ordinary passport is exempted from a visa if he or she visits China's mainland for tourism, business, or meeting with friends or relatives, and if he or she enters China through ports open to foreigners, and stays for no more than 15 days.
However, a visa is required for citizen of these three countries under any of the following circumstances:
A. An ordinary passport holder visits China for tourism, business, or meeting with friends or relatives, and stays for more than 15 days.
B. An ordinary passport holder visits China for the purpose of study, work, permanent residency, official visits or news coverage.
C. A Japanese citizen travels with a diplomatic or official passport.
5) Holders of Valid APEC Business Travel Card
The APEC Business Travel Card is a substitute of a multiple-entry visa valid for 3 years. A card holder who presents a valid passport whose image and biographic data exactly matches that on the APEC Business Travel Card can enter China multiple times during the validity of the card for a stay of no more than 2 months for each entry.
6) Foreigner's Permanent Residence Card Holders of the People's Republic of China.
7) Holder of valid Residence Permit for Foreigners issued by Public Security Bureau.
Foreign citizens entering China for the purpose of study or employment or as resident foreign journalists must apply for a residence permit at local public security authorities within 30 days of entry into China. Permit holders may stay in China and enter or exit China multiple times without the need of a visa during the validity period of the permit.
8) Bilateral Agreement
Based on bilateral agreements signed or reached between China and foreign countries, foreign citizens of some countries who meet certain requirements may visit China without a visa. Please see the list of agreements on visa exemption signed between China and foreign countries for more information.
From the date of Sep. 1, 2013, citizens of the countries which have signed bilateral visa exemption agreements with China, who intend to study in China, post as resident journalists or visit China for family reunion for a period of more than 180 days, to work or reside in China permanently, are required to apply for relevant X1, J1, Q1, S1, Z or D visa accordingly before they enter China,
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Chinese Outbound and Inbound Travel Rules Roundup
To help keep the travel industry up to date and informed, we’re tracking all the latest developments and regulations regarding travel into and out of mainland china..
First published: 22 March, 2021 Last updated: 10 August, 2023
To help keep the travel industry up to date and informed, we’re tracking all the latest developments and regulations regarding travel into and out of mainland China. This post will be regularly updated with any new or changing policies.
Have we missed something? Please feel free to send questions or comments to [email protected]
For more updates, sign up for Dragon Trail’s monthly newsletter , and follow us on social media: – LinkedIn – Twitter – Facebook
All Dragon Trail clients receive an extensive Market Intelligence Report on China travel and digital news at the start of each month. Click here to learn more about the services we provide to help you effectively reach and engage with the Chinese consumer market and trade.
– From 8 January 2023, China no longer requires any quarantine for international arrivals. Passengers must have a negative COVID test result from within 48 hours of departure, and complete a China Customs health self-declaration online, via website, WeChat mini-program, or app. Inbound travelers to China will no longer need to apply for a green health code from the Chinese embassy in the country of departure.
– From 29 April 2023, all travelers to China from any point of departure will be able to take an antigen test, rather than a PCR test. Tests should be taken within 48 hours of departure, but airlines will no longer be required to check test results before allowing passengers to check in or board.
– From 15 March 2023: Foreigners can apply for any kind of visa – including tourism visas – to China. Visas to enter China which were issued before 28 March 2020 and have not yet expired, will become valid once again.
– From 31 March 2023: Foreigners can now travel to China as part of group tours, and buy travel packages (minimum flight + hotel) to travel to/in China.
– China’s National Immigration Administration resumed normal passport application processing on 8 January 2023, including passports needed for the purpose of tourism and VFR travel. Previously, new passports and passport renewals were for “essential” reasons (including business travel and study) only.
– On 20 January, it was announced that sale of outbound group and package travel (from a minimum of a flight + hotel package) could resume, for travel on or after 6 February 2023. To begin with, this policy is only for travel to 20 countries: Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Laos, UAE, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Russia, Switzerland, Hungary, New Zealand, Fiji, Cuba, and Argentina. Previously, the sale of outbound group and package travel was banned by China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, starting from 27 January, 2020.
– The Ministry of Culture and Tourism released a second list of countries for group and package travel on 10 March, with travel permitted from 15 March. The countries are: Nepal, Brunei, Vietnam, Mongolia, Iran, Jordan, Tanzania, Namibia, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Zambia, Senegal, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Serbia, Croatia, France, Greece, Spain, Iceland, Albania, Italy, Denmark, Portugal, Slovenia, Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Panama, Dominica, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas.
– On 10 August 2023, an additional 78 countries were added to the list where travel agents are allowed to sell group tours and package travel: Oman, Pakistan, Bahrain, South Korea, Qatar, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Japan, Turkey, Israel, India, Algeria, Ethiopia, Benin, Botswana, Equatorial Guinea, Cape Verde, Ghana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Seychelles, Sao Tome and Principe, Tunisia, Ireland, Estonia, Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Poland, Germany, Finland, Netherlands, Montenegro, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Romania, Malta, Monaco, Norway, Sweden, Cyprus, Slovakia, United Kingdom, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Costa Rica, United States, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, French Polynesia, French New Caledonia. At 138 countries in total, compared to 130 at the start of 2019, Chinese outbound group travel can be seen as fully restored, despite the absence of several countries (notably Canada) from this last list.
– Mainland China’s border with Hong Kong reopened on 8 January 2023, with high-speed train services resuming on 15 January. As of 6 February, the mainland-Hong Kong-Macau border has been reopened completely, back to how it was before the pandemic.
– With China reopening for outbound travel, a number of countries around the world decided to impose restrictions on travelers from China in January 2023. Countries requiring negative COVID tests from within 48 hours of departure for visitors from China included: Australia, EU countries, India, Israel, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, UK, and USA. Japan and South Korea limited the airports into which flights from mainland China could land. Morocco banned travelers from China altogether.
These additional requirements for travelers from China were all phased out by the spring of 2023:
– India dropped its pre-departure testing requirement for travelers from China on 13 February 2023.
– From mid-February 2023, South Korea and China are now both issuing visas to each other’s citizens. Earlier in the year, South Korea had suspended issuing short-term visas to Chinese citizens, and in response, China stopped issuing short-term visas to Korean citizens. Searches for Korean visas on OTA Fliggy increased 1,179% within a few days of the change. COVID testing on arrival to South Korea ended 1 March, with pre-departure COVID testing scrapped from 11 March.
– On 17 February 2023, the EU announced it would phase out COVID testing for passengers from China, starting by ending pre-departure testing from the end of February, and ending random screenings in March.
– Israel ended pre-departure testing requirements for travelers from China on 28 February.
– Japan canceled pre-departure testing requirements for travelers from China from 1 March.
– The US dropped its COVID testing requirements for travelers from China from 10 March.
– Australia ended its testing requirements for travelers from China from 11 March.
– Canada ended testing requirements for travelers from China from 17 March.
– The UK ended testing requirements for travelers from China on 5 April.
On 11 November 2022, China’s circuit breaker policy, which had suspended flights as a consequence for having positive cases on board a previous flight, was lifted entirely.
By the end of July 2023, international flight volume had recovered to 46.9% of 2019’s levels. Recovery is uneven depending on destination. For example, flight capacity between China and the UK is now fully recovered, but on the other end of the spectrum, there are still only 24 flights a week between China and the US as of 10 August 2023 — just 6.5% of the pre-pandemic volume. ( See a snapshot of international flight connectivity for 17-23 July here. )
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A Complete Guide to China’s Visa-Free Policies
China has fully reopened its borders, promising recovery of international tourism and travel. Many of the visa-free travel policies that were in place prior to the pandemic have therefore come back into effect, enabling people from a wide range of countries to visit China on a short-term basis. In this article, we provide an overview of all of the China visa-free travel policies currently available and explain who is eligible to enjoy them.
After almost three years, China has finally reopened its borders to international travelers and tourists, and in March 2023, it resumed issuing all types of visas to foreigners . This means China has begun permitting people with valid travel documents that allow visa-free entry back into the country and has once again started issuing its short-stay entry permits that are available on arrival for citizens of certain countries.
Below we provide an overview of all the visa-free options that are currently available for people traveling to China, and who is eligible to enjoy these policies.
Countries with mutual visa exemption agreements with China
China has also signed agreements on mutual visa exemption with over 150 countries, which enables certain citizens from traveling to China without a visa. However, for the majority of countries, visa-free arrangements apply only to diplomatic or official passports.
A few countries do enable visa-free travel to China for citizens holding ordinary passports. Citizens from these countries are allowed to travel to China without a visa for up to 30 days for the purposes of tourism, travel, business, and visiting family or friends.
These countries are:
- The Bahamas
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- The Maldives
- San Marino
- The United Arab Emirates
Citizens from the above countries will still need to apply for a corresponding visa to China if they intend to work, study, or settle in China, or intend to stay for longer than 30 days.
Countries with visa-free travel to China (yet to resume)
In the past, citizens with a valid ordinary passport from Japan, Brunei, and Singapore have been permitted to travel to China for a period of up to 15 days without applying for a visa for the purposes of tourism, business, visiting relatives and friends, or transiting to a third country. However, this policy appears to remain suspended since the end of COVID-19 restrictions in China, and it is not clear when it may resume. This means citizens from these countries still need to apply for a Chinese tourist, business, or another type of visa to enter China at this time.
To note, citizens from these three countries would previously also have had to apply for a visa in advance if they:
- Expect to stay in China for more than 15 days;
- Intend to study, work, settle down, or attend an interview in China; or
- Are holders of Japanese diplomatic and official passports.
24/72/144-hour China visa-free transit
China allows eligible travelers from certain countries to enter and stay in certain areas of China for 24, 72, and 144-hour periods without prior application for a visa when transiting to a third country.
Note that people are excluded from this policy if they are:
- Not permitted to enter the country as stipulated by laws and administrative regulations (such as people who have been subject to sanctions or travel bans);
- Hold a passport or other international travel document that is valid for less than three months upon the time of arrival, or which has a refusal stamp from a Chinese visa issuing agency;
- Have records of illegal entry and exit, illegal residence, and illegal employment in China in the last five years; and/or
- Have violated accommodation registration regulations in the last two years and the circumstances are deemed serious.
144-hour visa-free transit
Under the 144-hour visa-free transit policy , foreign travelers can apply for a six-day entry permit to certain Chinese cities upon arrival at the port of entry, provided they hold a passport from one of the 53 eligible countries. They also must show that they are traveling on to a third country after leaving China, which means they must show a connecting ticket to a third country when arriving in China. This is a great option for people who want to make a short stop-over to explore various areas of the country.
The 53 countries are:
- 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, and Switzerland.
- 15 other countries in Europe: Russia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Monaco, and Belarus.
- Six countries in the Americas: the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Chile.
- Two countries in Oceania: Australia and New Zealand.
- Six countries in Asia: South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.
Eligible travelers can only apply for the 144-hour visa-free transit if they enter through one of 29 designated ports of entry in 20 mainland Chinese cities. In addition, travelers are only allowed to travel within a certain area on the entry permit and exit the country through designated ports as well. People who travel outside the permitted area and exit the country through a non-designated port may face certain penalties.
For more information on eligibility requirements, permitted ports of entry and exit, and permitted scope of travel, see our dedicated article: 144-hour Visa-Free Transit Policy for Foreigners .
72-hour visa-free transit
Travelers from the 53 countries that are eligible for the 144-hour entry permit are also eligible for the 72-hour visa-free policy . However, there are currently only three entry ports in China that offer 72-hour visa-free entry, as the majority of ports that previously offered it now offer the 144-hour permit instead. The ports are Guilin Liangjiang International Airport, Harbin Taiping International Airport, and Changsha Huanghua International Airport.
Travelers that enter through Guiling and Harbin are only allowed to travel within the scope of the cities themselves, whereas travelers who enter through Changsha are permitted to travel within the whole of Hunan Province.
All the same requirements and restrictions for the 144-hour entry permit apply to the 72-hour entry permit.
24-hour visa-free transit
All international travelers (except those exempted due to special circumstances ) that are transiting through China are permitted to apply for a 24-hour visa-free entry permit upon arrival. As with the other two visa-free transit policies, travelers must provide a connecting ticket to a third country. They are not permitted to leave the city in which they arrived during their 24-hour stay and must leave the country within 24 hours.
China visa-free policies for individual travelers and tour groups
Pearl river delta .
People from countries that have established diplomatic relations with China and are traveling in a tourist group organized by a travel agency registered in Hong Kong or Macao can travel to the nine mainland Chinese cities of the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region (Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing, and Huizhou) for up to six days without a visa. The same policy also applies to tour groups visiting Shantou in Guangdong Province, as long as their activities do not extend beyond the administrative area of Shantou.
To be eligible for this policy, the tour group must depart from Hong Kong or Macao.
International tour groups of two and above who arrive on a cruise ship at Shanghai Cruise Port can get 15 days of visa-free travel to Shanghai and other coastal provinces, regions, and municipalities in which the cruise ship berths. These are Liaoning, Hebei, Tianjin, Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hainan.
The tourists are allowed to travel around the cities in which the cruise has berthed, as well as neighboring cities. This includes Beijing but otherwise does not include any cities or regions outside the above-mentioned provinces and regions.
The tour groups must be organized by travel agencies that have registered with the Shanghai Tourism Administration and Shanghai Customs.
Citizens of 59 countries are now eligible for 30 days of visa-free travel to the province of Hainan . This policy was previously only applicable to tour groups but has now been expanded to individual travel as well. Eligible travelers are free to travel around the whole province of Hainan and can travel from Hong Kong or any other place outside Mainland China with a direct flight to the island.
The eligible countries are Russia, the UK, France, Germany, Norway, Ukraine, Italy, Austria, Finland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, the US, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, UAE, Qatar, Monaco, and Belarus.
Tour groups consisting of a minimum of two people from the 10 ASEAN countries (Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Brunei, and the Philippines) that are organized and hosted by a travel agency registered and approved by the tourism authority of Guilin, Guangxi Province, can enter and exit through Guilin airport port and stay in Guilin for up to six days without a visa.
Visa-free travel for tour groups from six countries
Some of the agreements on mutual visa exemption also enable visa-free travel for tour groups. These countries are Azerbaijan, Belarus , Russia , Georgia, Moldova, and Turkmenistan.
The requirements for the tour groups differ slightly between the different countries’ agreements and may include having a minimum of five people in the tour group, and in general, the trip can last up to 30 days. There are no limits placed on where the tour group can travel, but the tours must be organized by certain designated agencies.
Special cards enabling China visa-free entry
Apec business travel card holders .
Holders of a valid Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card (ABTC) can enter China multiple times within the card’s validity period for business purposes for periods of up to 60 days at a time. The ABTC is valid for five years and thus functions as a five-year multi-entry visa.
Only citizens of the 21 APEC member economies are eligible for the ABTC (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia; Singapore; Taiwan, Thailand, the US, and Vietnam).
Note that although Canada and the US do offer ABTCs, they only provide fast-track immigration processing and do not offer reciprocal entry arrangements, meaning that ABTC holders from the US and Canada are not eligible to enter China directly without a visa, and vice versa.
In addition, candidates must engage in regular business travel through the APEC member economies and not hold a criminal record.
Entry to China with the ABTC was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic but resumed on August 24, 2022.
Permanent residence cards holders
It goes without saying that holders of a Chinese permanent residence card do not need to apply for a visa to travel to China, and can freely leave and enter the country through all passenger ports for work, business, family visits, and travel.
To be eligible for the permanent residency card, foreigners must meet a relatively high bar of work and liquidity requirements, which vary from region to region. For more information on this topic, see our articles on applying for a permanent residence card in Shanghai , Guangdong , and Beijing .
Residence permit holders
Foreigners with residence permi ts issued by Chinese public security organs who are in China for work or study are permitted to leave and enter the country as many times as they wish without applying for a visa each time, provided it is during the vali dity period of the residence permit.
Foreigners and residen t foreign journalists who come to China for work or study are required to apply for a residence permit after first entering the country.
Note that the residence permit will be provided as a sticker in the passport with the word “residence” on it, rather than as a separate residen c e card .
China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates . The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done so since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at [email protected] .
Dezan Shira & Associates has offices in Vietnam , Indonesia , Singapore , United States , Germany , Italy , India , and Russia , in addition to our trade research facilities along the Belt & Road Initiative . We also have partner firms assisting foreign investors in The Philippines , Malaysia , Thailand , Bangladesh .
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