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If your layover in China is less than 1 day, you can possibly enjoy a 24-hour transit without a visa (24-hour TWOV). It is available to passengers of most nationalities at most ports of entry.
Most countries are eligible for the 24-hour TWOV except those listed below: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, and Yemen.
A 24-hour TWOV is available in all ports of entry except for the following (current list as of Sep 2019):
Visas are not required if you transit through mainland China for a stay of less than 24 hours before heading to a third country or region.
If you find you aren’t eligible for visa-free transit, you need to apply for a visa.
Departure Country A: → B: one of the allowed cities in Mainland China → The Third Country C
Please note: Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan can be regarded as A or C in this respect.
Here are examples:
√ USA – Shanghai – Hong Kong – USA
× USA – Beijing – USA
1) Passengers need to enter one of the allowed cities from Country A and then leave for Country C. A and C should be different countries/regions.
2) Generally speaking, the 24-hour visa-free transit allows multiple stops within mainland China for most airports as long as you leave mainland China in 24 hours, therefore the route like UK – Beijing – Shanghai – Singapore counts as eligible.
You need to provide the documents listed below to apply for 24-hour visa-free transit:
The 24 hours start counting from your scheduled arrival time and end at your scheduled departure time.
Don’t worry if your inbound flight arrives early or your outbound flight runs late — the scheduled time is what matters.
If you are unable to depart on time due to unavoidable reasons, such as a flight cancellation, you need to apply for a visa from the Municipal Public Security Bureau.
There are three types of transit without a visa (TWOV) programs in mainland China: 24-hour TWOV, 72-hour TWOV, and 144-hour TWOV.
|24-Hour TWOV||72-Hour TWOV||144-Hour TWOV|
|Nationalities Covered||Nearly all nationalities||53 nationalities||53 nationalities|
|Ports of Entry||Most Chinese cities||18 Chinese cities||Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Beijing, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Qinhuangdao, Dalian, Shenyang|
|Arrival and Departure||Can be by different ports.||Must be by the same port||Can be by different ports.|
|Means of Transport||Plane, ship, or train||By air||Plane, ship, or train|
|Travel in Mainland China||Limited to the transit area||Limited to a city area||Limited to a region|
[Note: Your application for the 24-hour visa-free transit may be refused to the following situations: 1) Your travel documents are valid for less than 3 months at the time of entry; 2) Your route does not qualify; 3) You lack any of the required documents listed above; 4) You have Chinese visa refusal stamps in their passports.
The above information was updated on Sep 19th, 2019. The situation changes on a daily basis. Please double-check when you plan your tour.]
Many cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Guilin have had a 72-hour or 144-hour (6-day) visa-free transit policy.
The following popular itineraries can be customized to your length of stay and interests: