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15-Day Visa-Free Travel for Cruise Groups at Shanghai Ports: Requirements and FAQs

Written by CindyUpdated Nov. 17, 2023

Since October 1st, 2016, Shanghai has had a 15-day visa-free policy for foreign tourist groups entering China by cruise.


15-day Visa-free Travel at Shanghai PortsForeign tourist groups can enjoy 15-day visa-free travel at Shanghai ports.

If you want to take advantage of the 15-day visa-free policy, you will need to meet these criteria:

  • Tourist groups should arrive in Shanghai by cruise ship at Shanghai Port International Passenger Terminal or Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal, and exit on the same cruise ship.
  • A foreign tourist group may have no fewer than 2 members.
  • Foreign tour groups must be conducted by travel agencies legally registered in Chinese Mainland, such as China Highlights.
  • All members of a tour group should hold valid international travel documents, primarily passports.
  • The stay in China must not exceed 15 days, calculated from 00:00 on the day after the day of entry.

Places You Can Travel to Besides Shanghai

During the visa exemption period, qualifying cruise passengers are not only allowed to visit Shanghai, but also other coastal municipalities (Beijing and Tianjin) and provinces (Liaoning, Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hainan).


Book a tour with a travel agency in advanceBook a tour with a travel agency in advance.
  • 1. Visa-free doesn't mean that you can enter the country without doing anything. You must have authorization from Shanghai's immigration inspection authority, through a China travel agency, prior to your arrival.
  • 2. You must book a tour with an agency at least 24 hours before your arrival in Shanghai. The agency will submit your passport details to the inspection authorities for you to be eligible.
  • 3. While handling visa-free entry procedures a group name list will be stamped by Shanghai's immigration inspection authority. No arrival cards or departure cards are required, nor will any entry or exit stamps be affixed on your travel documents.

FAQs About the 15-Day Visa-Free Policy

A Valid Passport is Needed.A valid passport is needed.

1. Can I use this policy if I travel to Shanghai by cruise but leave by air?
Sorry, you can't use the policy unless you leave on the same cruise. You can consider 72-hour visa-free transit and 144-hour visa-free transit.

2. I don't want to return to the ship to spend the night — can I stay at a downtown hotel?
Yes, but when you check in, your group will need to provide all your passports and a tour member name list stamped by the Immigration Inspection Authority.

3. Can I get off the cruise and take a tour in Shanghai on my own if I don't book a tour in advance?
No, you can't. You must join a tour conducted by a Chinese travel agency.

Taking a Visa-Free Transit Tour with China Highlights

We at China Highlights provide a leading one-stop tour service. Tell us your interests and requirements, and we will help you handle your visa-free transit and arrange a China tour to suit you.

These itineraries have been produced especially for cruise tour groups:

Not interested in the above options? We can tailor-make your own unique tour.

Start planning your tailor-made tour with 1-1 help from our travel advisors. Create Your Trip

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