Guangzhou is a trading center and a tourism destination in Guangdong Province, South China. For businessmen, travelers, and passengers, the 144-hour visa-free transit policy in Guangzhou is incredibly convenient.
Just read on to see if you need a China visa, how to enjoy this policy, and the detailed policy issues. We also provide some of the best ideas for how to make the most of your 144-hour stay in Guangzhou.
Do You Need a China Visa to Visit Guangzhou?
Most overseas travelers to mainland China need a visa no matter whether they are touring or visiting for business purposes. Passport holders from the following 17 countries can enjoy a visa-free policy for a period:
- 90 days: Bosnia and Herzegovina, San Marino
- 60 days: Mauritius
- 30 days: the Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Ecuador, Fiji, Grenada, Qatar, Serbia, the Seychelles, Tonga, the United Arab Emirates
- 15 days: Brunei, Japan, Singapore
Read more information about a China visa.
Can You Enjoy the 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit Policy?
To enjoy the policy in Guangzhou, you must be a passport holder from one of the 53 countries listed below and your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date you arrive. Moreover, your itinerary must be entirely within the territory of Guangdong Province.
- America (six countries): the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and the Republic of Chile
- Europe (39 countries): Austria, Belgium, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Belarus, and Monaco
- Oceania (two countries): Australia and New Zealand
- Asia (six countries): South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar
If your country is not included in the list for the visa-free policy, or you are planning a trip beyond Guangdong Province, you need to apply for a China visa. See how to apply for a China visa.
- You must hold, before entry into China, an onward ticket departing the region within 144 hours.
- You must be in transit to a third country or region (Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are included). For example, USA – Guangzhou – Hong Kong is an acceptable itinerary for a 144-hour visa-free transit in Guangzhou. An itinerary including USA–Guangzhou–USA is not, however.
- You may need a visa for the third country/region that you are traveling to before you depart, such as a visa to Hong Kong. An e-visa may not be acceptable as proof that you can travel to the third country and may invalidate your visa-free transit.
- You must stay within Guangdong Province. For example, you cannot make a trip from Guangzhou to Shanghai or Beijing, or even across the border to HK and back, as that would invalidate your visa-free transit status. For such trips you need to apply for a China visa in advance.
- You must enter and leave the visa-free area using an eligible port. Your arrival port and departure port can be different.
- You can only arrive in Guangdong by flight but can use other types of transport to leave: train, ferry, etc. across the HK/Macau border.
- Your must have no stopovers of any kind within mainland China prior to arrival or after departure at the port of entry.
- Your transit time must be no more than 144 hours from 00:00 on the day after arrival.
- Check out more information about 144-hour visa-free transit.
About Guangdong’s Visa-Free Area
You can enter Guangdong’s visa-free area using the following eligible ports:
- Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport
- Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport
- Jieyang Chaoshan International Airport
You can leave from all 32 ports with passenger transport functions. Here, we have listed some of the ports you may use:
- Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport
- Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport
- Luohu (Lo Wu) Port (to Hong Kong)
- Futian Port (to Hong Kong)
- Shenzhen Bay Port (to Hong Kong)
- Gongbei Port (to Macau)
144-Hour Transit in 5 Steps
1) Inform your carrier of your intent to use 144-hour TWOV and acquire your onward ticket before travel.
2) Fill in arrival and departure cards (available on flights).
3) At the dedicated counter for 144-hour visa-free transit at your arrival port, provide the immigration officer with your documents.
4) Claim your luggage, go through customs, and exit the airport, as you would with a visa.
5) Leave from a designated port as normal before midnight on the sixth full day, handing in your completed departure card at immigration.
Things to Know Before Planning Your Visa-Free Travel in Guangzhou
1. It Is Possible to Extend Your Stay
While the policy states you can travel visa-free for 144 hours, the duration of your visa-free stay can be longer than 144 hours because the time is counted from the second day you arrive.
For example, you enter Guangzhou at 8am on September 1st, 2019. Your stay period starts counting down from September 2nd, 2019 and you can stay until 23:59 on September 7th. Therefore, you can enjoy more than 144 hours if you book a suitable flight.
2. You Can Extend Your Trip to Shenzhen, Zhuhai, and Foshan
Besides Guangzhou, all of the cities in Guangdong Province are included in the 144-hour visa-free policy.
From Guangzhou, you can reach Shenzhen and Zhuhai in a few hours by intercity high-speed trains or get to Foshan via the Guangzhou–Foshan Metro Line.
See how to travel from Guangzhou to Shenzhen.
3. Include Hong Kong or Macau in Your Itinerary
These two destinations are very close to Guangzhou and you can include them in your itinerary to meet the policy’s criteria and do some sightseeing there.
See how to travel from Guangzhou to Hong Kong.
4. The Policy Is Convenient for Your Trip to the Rest of Asia
This 144-hour visa-free policy allows passengers to arrange their travel plans to China and even to other countries in Asia in a more flexible way, and it saves a lot of trouble.
Guangzhou is an important gateway to Asia. There are many flights between Guangzhou and major cities in Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia.
You can transit through Guangzhou without a visa and enjoy a tour in Guangzhou to adjust to Asia before you head to the next Asian country.
How to Spend Your 144 Hours (6 Days) in Guangzhou
If you want to see the modern face of Guangzhou, you can visit:
- Canton Tower: This is the tallest tower to admire the city from above. Try the Ferris wheel at the top if you are brave enough.
- Guangzhou Opera House: This is a masterpiece by the famous architect Zaha Hadid. Watch a high-level opera, dance performance, or concert there.
- A Pearl River cruise: This is a relaxing way to see Guangzhou’s historical and modern sights in a row.
If you like the history and culture of Guangzhou, you can visit:
- The Temple of the Six Banyan Trees: Founded 1,400 years ago, the temple preserves a beautiful pagoda.
- The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall: Built by a famous family over 100 years ago, this is a wonderful place to see ancient architecture and handicrafts.
- Shamian Island: A series of European buildings remain on the island from past ages of turbulence.
- Sacred Heart Cathedral: One of the four full-stone Gothic cathedrals in the world, it is regarded as the “Notre-Dame of East Asia”.
If you are traveling with your kids, have fun with them in:
- Chimelong Tourist Resort: See wild animals in the safari park and watch a great circus show there.
A Sample Itinerary for Your Reference
- Day 1: Guangzhou arrival
- Day 2: Discover modern Guangzhou by ascending Canton Tower, visit the CBD of Zhujiang New Town, and enjoy a night cruise on the Pearl River.
- Day 3: Visit the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees, visit a historical church or cathedral, and walk around Shamian Island at night.
- Day 4: Go to Baiyun Mountain or enjoy one day’s fun in Chimelong Tourist Resort.
- Day 5: Visit memorial halls and museums that highlight the local history, such as the National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and the Museum of the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King.
- Day 6: Take a high-speed train to Shenzhen and visit the Splendid China theme park, Shenzhen Mineral Museum, and the China Folk Culture Village.
- Day 7: Take the metro or a train to Hong Kong and either visit some attractions or enjoy some shopping.
- Day 8: Take a return flight to your home country.
We Can Help to Maximize Your Guangzhou Trip
We can help you to customize your Guangzhou tour depending on your interests, and will find the best plan for how you can spend your 144 hours in Guangzhou and the surrounding cities.
Check out the following itinerary and add more attractions to it if you prefer:
Alternatively, contact us for a bespoke tour that’s designed specifically for you.