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Shanghai Cruise Visa-Free Policy

As part of the global trend toward globalization, China, being one of the world's largest tourism markets, has been continuously promoting the development of its tourism industry.

To attract more international tourists, the Chinese government resumed the 15-day visa-free policy for foreign tourist groups arriving in Shanghai by cruise ship, effective from March 15, 2023.

Specific Requirements

  • Join a tourist group organized by a legally registered travel agency in China, with at least 2 people.
  • The group must arrive in Shanghai together via the cruise port and depart together on the same cruise ship.
  • The permitted activity area for the tourist group within China is limited to coastal provinces and Beijing. Specifically, this includes cities where cruise ships dock in Shanghai, Liaoning, Hebei, Tianjin, Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hainan, as well as their surrounding administrative regions.
  • The maximum stay duration for the tourist group in China is 15 days.

shanghai cruise visa free

Operational Procedure

To take advantage of the Shanghai cruise visa-free entry, follow these steps:
     1. Contact a legally registered travel agency within China in advance to obtain approval from the Shanghai immigration authorities.
     2. Book your tours with the travel agency at least 5 days in advance and provide personal information, such as your passport details.
     3. Within 24 hours before the cruise docks in Shanghai, the receiving travel agency should declare the foreign tourist group's information through an internet platform.
     4. Upon arrival, you need only present your passport at the cruise gangway for identity verification. No need to fill out entry or exit cards, and no entry or exit stamps will be added to international travel documents.


Q1: How is the 15-day visa-free period calculated?

  ►The 15-day period starts from the day after entry.

Q2: Is it possible to join a 15-day visa-free entry tour group without prior application?

  ►If foreign passengers on a cruise express interest in joining a 15-day visa-free tourist group while sailing to China, the cruise company and its agent must communicate with the receiving travel agency. If the agency confirms its capacity to receive them, it can apply for temporary inclusion of these passengers, and immigration authorities will process their visa-free entry.

Q3: Can I enter Shanghai visa-free by cruise travel to other Chinese port cities and exit from there?

  ►Yes. The policy considers the possibility of cruise ships docking at other Chinese port cities after arriving in Shanghai. However, the tourist group must stay together and limit their activities to the specified coastal provinces and Beijing.

Q4: If I arriving by cruise does not participate in the 15-day visa-free tourist group and does not exit with the original cruise, can I transit to a third country (region) using other transportation?

    ► Yes. Passengers with confirmed through tickets to a third country (region) can apply for either a 24-hour transit visa-free if they plan to exit within 24 hours or a 144-hour transit visa-free if they are citizens of one of the 51 approved countries. These options allow transit through Shanghai's airports, ports, and railway stations.

Q5: What procedures apply if I need to stay longer than 15 days due to unforeseen circumstances or emergencies?

     ►For extended stays beyond 15 days due to force majeure or humanitarian reasons, the tourist group can apply for relevant stay permits at the local public security exit-entry administration. In cases of urgent departure due to illness, bereavement, or other unavoidable reasons, passengers can follow the necessary procedures at the exit checkpoint with their valid international travel documents and a certificate from the receiving travel agency.

Q6: What documents are required for visa-free foreign tourists staying in a city hotel instead of returning to the cruise ship on the same day?

     ►Tourists from visa-free cruise entry groups can check in at city hotels using valid passport and the "Cruise Visa-Free Tourist Group List" stamped by immigration upon entry.

For further information about the 15-day visa-free policy, you can contact the Shanghai immigration authorities:

  • Shanghai Immigration General Station : 021-31366000
  • Pudong Immigration Station: 021-31366700