Shenzhen is a special economic zone and a developing tourism city located in Guangdong Province, South China. Most overseas travelers to Shenzhen need a visa no matter whether they are touring or visiting for business purposes.
Read on to find out if you need a visa to visit the city, if you can apply for a Visa on Arrival, or if you can enjoy the visa-free transit policy.
A Quick Check for Which Kind of Visa You May Need
- If your country enjoys a visa-free policy: You can stay in China for a specific period without a visa.
- If you only visit Shenzhen and then return to your country: You can apply for a Visa on Arrival for a 5-day stay.
- If your travel plan includes a third country or region beyond Chinese mainland: You can enjoy the 144-hour visa-free transit policy.
- If you plan to visit cities outside of Guangdong Province or your country does not enjoy a visa-free policy: You need to apply for a full China visa in advance.
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.
5-Day Shenzhen Visa on Arrival (VOA)
Travelers from any country that has diplomatic relations with China who fly to Shenzhen or enter Shenzhen from Hong Kong can get this visa at their arrival port in Shenzhen. Getting this VOA is quick, convenient, and cheap.
This VOA allows you to travel within Shenzhen then leave for any country or region (including Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan) beyond Chinese mainland.
You cannot use this VOA to travel to other cities in China. For example, the itineraries of USA–Shenzhen–USA and Hong Kong – Shenzhen – USA are acceptable, while Shenzhen–Shanghai–USA is not.
Document Requirements and Preparations
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months and have one blank page.
Prepare enough Chinese cash to pay for the visa fee or use a UnionPay bank card if you have one as it may be difficult to use a credit card. Check out how to use an ATM in China.
The validity of the VOA is calculated from the second day you acquire it. For example, you arrive in Shenzhen and get your VOA on October 1st, 2019. Your stay period starts counting down from October 2nd and you can stay until 23:59 on October 6th.
If you choose to arrive in Shenzhen early in the day, it is possible to extend your stay.
4 Steps to Get Your Shenzhen VOA
- Step 1: Arrive at any Shenzhen port mentioned below and find the visa office in the port (generally with a blue “Port Visa” sign).
- Step 2: Fill out the application card, submit your valid passport for examination, and pay the fee (the fee may be different depending on your country, but it is generally 168 yuan).
- Step 3: Accept the relevant inquiries of the port visa authority and have your photo taken on-site.
- Step 4: Your application materials are reviewed by the port visa authority. If issued, you will receive your visa at the issuing window.
Ports to Get Your Shenzhen VOA
1. Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport
Location: 1R016 reception window, international arrivals, east wing, 1/f
Office hours: 10:00–morrow 02:00
2. Huanggang Port (皇岗口岸)
Location: reception window in the entry hall, first floor, joint inspection building
Office hours: 24 hours a day
3. Luohu (Lo Wu) Port (罗湖口岸)
Location: reception window on the second floor in the arrivals hall
Office hours: 07:00–23:30
4. Shekou Ferry Terminal (蛇口客运码头)
Location: reception window in the arrivals hall
Office hours: 09:00–13:30, 14:30–17:00
The visa cannot be extended and is only for a single entry.
You must enter Shenzhen the day you get your VOA.
Travelers from countries that have NOT established diplomatic relations with China may not apply for the Visa on Arrival: Belize, Bhutan, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Swaziland, Tuvalu, and Vatican City (list updated in September 2019).
There are reports that the VOA application might be denied if the visas and stamps on the traveler’s passport indicate that he/she has just visited a politically sensitive country, such as Iraq, Libya, or Yemen. If your passport may cause such an issue, you may need to apply for a full China visa in advance.
144-Hour Visa-Free Transit Policy
This policy is valid for travelers from 53 specific countries who are transiting to a third country or region (Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are considered to be a third region). Travelers can stay within the whole of Guangdong Province (not just Shenzhen) for up to 144 hours (6 days).
If your nationality can enjoy this policy and you have planned to visit another country or region (such as Hong Kong or other Asian countries), using this policy is better than applying for a VOA.
Read detailed information about the 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit Policy as well as how to use it.
Enjoy Your Shenzhen Tour with Us
A 5-day Shenzhen tour with a VOA is now available! We can help you to customize your Shenzhen visit including the top things to do in this growing city.
Here is our most popular Shenzhen tour, for inspiration:
If the tour is not for you, feel free to contact us for a customized tour