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Chinese Visa-Free Policies

China's evolving visa-free policies are a testament to its growing openness and the ease of global travel. In 2024, these policies have been further expanded, offering travelers from various countries the opportunity to explore China without the traditional visa process. This comprehensive guide aims to summarize all the visa-free policies and interpret the requirements for travelers looking to take advantage of this opportunity.

144-Hour Visa-Free Transit Policy

The 144-hour visa-free transit policy in China allows travelers from 54 countries to stay in certain regions (such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu) for up to 144 hours (6 days) without needing a visa. It's perfect for those who want to explore China's megacities or conduct short-term business without the hassle of visa applications.


Citizens of 53 countries and regions such as can enter China without applying for a Chinese visa if they:

     Hold valid international travel documents (your passport valid for no less than 3 months)

     Have an interline ticket with a fixed date and seat to a third country (or region) within 144 hours upon arrival.

Where you can visit: Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shanghai, Guangdong, Liaoning, Chongqing, Xi 'an, etc.

The 144-hour visa-free transit is available at specific entry points, for example:

Beijing: Beijing Capital International Airport, Beijing Daxing International Airport, Beijing West Railway Station.

Tianjin: Tianjin Binhai International Airport, Tianjin International Cruise Home Port.

Hebei: Shijiazhuang Zhengding International Airport, Qinghuangdao Port.

72-Hour Visa-Free Transit Policy

Similar to the 144-hour policy, the 72-Hour Visa-Free Transit allows travelers from 53 countries to enjoy a brief stay of up to three days in 18 Chinese cities. This policy is ideal for short visits and layovers, providing a taste of China's diverse culture and history.


The 72-hour visa-free transit policy is for air passengers only. To qualify, you must:

Possess a connecting flight ticket or relevant proof to a third country or region within the 72-hour timeframe.

Have the departure date and seat confirmed for your onward flight.

Note that this policy does not apply to passengers planning to enter or leave China by train or cruise.

Applicable Cities:

Currently, the 72-hour visa-free transit policy is applied in the cities of Changsha, Guilin, and Harbin.

24-Hour Visa-Free Transit Policy

For shorter layovers, China also provides a 24-hour visa-free transit policy, allowing eligible travelers to stay in the country for up to 24 hours without a visa. This policy is particularly beneficial for those with brief stopovers who wish to venture outside the airport and experience a taste of China's culture and cuisine.

15-Day Visa-Free Policy for EU 11 Countries and Malaysia

Since China's unilateral visa exemption for six countries, including France and Germany, was trialled in November 2023, the list of visa-free countries has increased to 12 by March 2024, and these visa-free policies send a stronger signal of China's openness. This policy allows travelers from the eligible countries to explore China's attractions for up to 15 days without the need for a visa.

  • Eligible Countries: Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Malaysia, Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg.
  • Purpose of Entry: business, tourism, visiting relatives and friends, and transit
  • Policy valid until: December 30, 2024
  • Permitted stay in China for: 15 days

Guangdong Greater Bay Area 6-Day Visa Exemptions

The dynamic Guangdong Greater Bay Area offers a 6-day visa exemption for foreign tour groups from Hong Kong or Macau. The policy makes it easier for visitors from Hong Kong or Macau to enter Guangdong without a visa.

1. Eligibility: Travelers who choose to join a tour group organized by a Hong Kong or Macau travel agency and enter Guangdong through the region.

2. Where you can visit: Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhaoqing, Shenzhen, Dongguan, Huizhou, Zhuhai, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Shantou.

Guilin 6-Day Visa Exemption for ASEAN Tour Groups

Guilin, known for its breathtaking scenery, offers visa-free access for 6 days for ASEAN tour groups. The move has boosted tourism and greatly facilitated Southeast Asia travel to Guilin.


Hold an ordinary passport from one of the 10 ASEAN member countries.

Visit Guilin as part of a tour group (individual travelers are not eligible).

Enter and exit via Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (other ports are not valid for this policy).

Permitted stay in Guilin for: 144-hour (6 days)

Shanghai Cruise Tour Group Visa-Free Policy

Cruise passengers who dock in Shanghai and travel in tour groups can enjoy a 15-day visa-free stay. This policy is tailored for international tourists arriving by sea, offering them the chance to explore Shanghai and other coastal cities.

Group Requirement: Travelers must be part of an organized tour group booked through a registered Chinese travel agency.

Duration of Stay: Visitors are typically granted a visa-free stay of up to 15 days.

Where you can visit: Shanghai, Beijing, Coastal provinces and cities: Liaoning Province, Hebei Province, Tianjin, Shandong Province, Jiangsu Province, Zhejiang Province, Fujian Province, Guangdong Province, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Hainan Province

Hainan 30-Day Visa-Free Access

Hainan Island, a tropical paradise, grants a 30-day visa-free access to citizens from 59 countries. Ordinary passport holders from the eligible countries can visit Hainan for up to 30 days without a visa for business, family visits, tourism, medical treatment, exhibitions, or sports competitions (Study and work are not covered under this policy).

Mutual Visa Exemption

Mutual visa exemption agreements between China and other countries allow certain citizens of both countries to travel between them for certain purposes without the need for a visa. Although most of visa-free arrangements apply to diplomatic or official passports, we have selected a list of countries that allow visa-free visits to China on regular passports. Travelers from these countries can explore China for up to 30 days without a visa. View the list of applicable countries.

APEC Business Travel Card Holders

Holders of the APEC Business Travel Card are typically granted multiple entries for short-term business stays of up to 60 or 90 days without the need to obtain a separate visa. The APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) is available to citizens of APEC member economies who meet certain eligibility criteria. As of April 2024, the following APEC member economies participate in the ABTC scheme:

  • Australia
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Chile
  • China
  • Hong Kong (China)
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Russia
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan (China)
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam