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How to Transit Through China for 144 Hours Without a Visa

 144-hour visa free policyEnjoy a 144-hour visa free policy in Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang

Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Guangdong have had a 144-hour visa-free transit policy for passengers from 51 countries or regions since 2016. During the visa exemption period, eligible passengers are allowed to move around within the above cities or provinces.

Which Countries Are Covered in the Policy?

The nationals of the following countries are eligible for the visa exemption program:

Americans (of 6 countries): the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and the Republic of Chile

European citizens (of 37 countries): Austria, Belgium, Denmark, 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-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Albania

Oceanians (of 2 countries): Australia and New Zealand

Asians (of 6 countries): South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar

Which Ports of Entry Are Involved?

Shanghai Pudong AirportShanghai Pudong International Airport

Passengers from the above-mentioned countries can enter China via any of the following ports of entry:

  • Shanghai: Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal, and Shanghai Railway Station (Shanghai – Hong Kong Train)
  • Jiangsu: Nanjing Lukou International Airport
  • Zhejiang: Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport
  • Guangdong: Guangzhou Baiyun Airport, Shenzhen Bao'an Airport, and Jieyang Chaoshan Airport (But passengers can exit from any port in Guangdong.)

What Are the Conditions?

If you want to enjoy the 144-hour visa-free transit policy, you need to meet relevant qualifying criteria, as detailed below:

  • You must be in transit to a third country or region (Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are included). For example, USA–Shanghai–Taiwan is acceptable for a 144-hour transit visa in Shanghai but an application for USA–Shanghai–USA is not.
  • Your transit time is no more than 144 hours.
  • You enter and leave from one of the eligible ports of entry. Your arrival port and departure port can be different. For example, you can arrive in Shanghai and leave from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.
  • You can travel around Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Guangdong within 144 hours but you are not permitted to go to other provincial level areas in China.

What Documents Are Needed?


You need to provide the documents listed below to apply for the 144-hour visa-free transit:

  • Valid passport
  • onward tickets to a third country (region) with confirmed date and seat
  • Visa for a third country/region (if needed)
  • Arrival and departure cards (completely filled in)

How Are the 144 Hours Calculated?

The 144 hours start counting down from 00:00 following the day of entry. For example, you enter Shanghai at 6am on June 1st, 2016; your stay period starts counting down from 00:00 on June 2nd and you can stay until 23:59 on June 7th. So you actually can have more time than 144 hours if you can find suitable transport.

If you are unable to depart on time due to unavoidable reasons, such as flight cancellation, you need to apply for a visa from the Municipal Public Security Bureau.

144-Hour Transit in 6 Steps

1) Inform your carrier of your intent to use a 144-hour visa-free transit at the check-in.

2) Fill in the arrival and departure card form.

3) After disembarking, follow the signposts within the inspection areas to locate the dedicated lanes for 144-hour visa-exemption transit passengers.

4) Show your tickets, passport, and China arrival card at the inspection area. Tell the immigration officer that you wish to transit without a visa.

5) After clearing immigration, claim your luggage and go through customs as normal.

6) Leave from a designated port before midnight on the sixth full day. There is nothing different from leaving China normally. Hand over your completed departure card at the security inspection.

Shanghai Has Adopted a 15-Day Visa-Free Policy for Foreign Tourist Groups Entering China by Cruise

Travel to Shanghai by cruise.

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

Eligible passengers can be exempted from the requirement of Chinese visas and entitled to not more than 15 days' (calculated from 00:00 following the day of entry) stay in China.

During the visa exemption period, passengers travelling with the ship are not only allowed to visit Shanghai, but also to travel to other Chinese coastal cities (including Beijing and Tianjin) and provinces (including Liaoning, Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan).

What Are the Conditions?

If you want to take advantage of the 15-day visa-free policy, you need to meet the relevant qualifying criteria, as detailed below:

  • Tourist groups should arrive in Shanghai by cruise at Shanghai Port International Passenger Terminal or Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal, and exit on the same cruise.
  • A qualified foreign tourist group consists of no fewer than 2 members.
  • Foreign tour groups should be organized and received by travel agencies legally registered in Mainland China.
  • All members of a tour group should hold valid international travel documents; primarily passports.

Take a Visa-Free Transit Tour with China Highlights

Touring Shanghai with China HighlightsTouring Shanghai with China Highlights

A 144-hour visa-free tour to Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Guangdong has become a reality. We can help you to customize a tour to make the best of your time. Just let us know your interests and requirements.

Here are our most popular Shanghai and Hangzhou tours, for inspiration:

Further Reading

Guilin 144-Hour Visa-Free for 10 ASEAN Countries

Guilin now offers 6-day (144-hour) visa-free transit to ten ASEAN countries. Passports holders from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Singapore, Brunei, and the Philippines can enjoy the new visa-free transit policy.

Read more about Guilin visa-free policy.

Pearl River Delta 144-Hour Visa-Free for Visitors to HK/Macao

All visitors to Hong Kong and/or Macao are able to visit the surrounding Pearl River Delta visa-free as long as they go with a registered tour group and meet certain conditions. The stays can last 6 days or 144 hours for most countries

Read more about this policy.

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