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China Visa Exemption

China is becoming increasingly popular as a travel destination, and entry and travel regulations are relaxing, though they keep on changing. (Contact us or visit official government sites for the latest.)

Tourists and travelers may wish to avail themselves of these visa-free travel methods. This information introduces ways to travel in which no visas are required for foreigners going to Mainland China, such as 72-hour visa-free airport transit, and more.

1. Direct Transit


Those with a confirmed seat on an international flight, ship, or train transiting through China for another country are exempted from a visa provided they stay in China for less than 24 hours without leaving the port.

Do I need a Transit Visa when taking a connecting flight?

Visas are not required for transit passengers who hold tickets and have booked seats on international airlines flying on route to a third country no more than 24 hours in advance.

Passengers from the following countries don’t need a Transit Visa when taking connecting international flights in Shanghai as long as the stay is less than 48 hours: the US, Canada, Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and Schengen countries including Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Austria and Greece.

The 72-Hour Visa-Free Transit Policy is a little different. Travel within the city area or the entire province as in the case of Guangdong is permitted and the onward flight must be to a third country/region.

2. The Pearl River Delta Touring Visas

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 such as ours and meet certain conditions. The group size ranges from 3 to 40 people including you and the guide.

The stays in the Pearl River Delta area can last 6 days or 144 hours for most countries, but for several countries, 21-day tours are possible.

  • The visitor is a national of a country which has diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. This means almost all countries.
  • The visitor is visiting the Pearl River Delta as part of a tour group organized by a Hong Kong or Macao based travel agency.
  • The stay is six days or less for almost all countries except Germany, Republic of Korea and Russia that get 21 days.
  • Applicants must hold a single citizenship passport; dual citizenship passport holders are not allowed.
  • Applicants must enter and leave Guangdong together via one of the valid ports of entry or exit in Guangdong Province.
  • Applicants should enter and leave via the same port (unless absolutely necessary) to avoid complicating procedures.
  • Applicants must each provide a scan of their passport photo page.
  • The visitor stays within the cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing, Huizhou and Shantou*.

Shantou in tour groups, provided they enter and leave via Shantou.

Choosing an Entry/Exit Port

Choosing the right port of entry and exit is very important to ensure a smooth trip. The following are several recommended ports of entry or exit for Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Zhuhai from Hong Kong or Macau, via which we have successfully arranged trips for our customers.

  • Visit Shenzhen from Hong Kong using Lo Wu Control Point or from Macau using Shekou Port 
  • Visit Guangzhou from Hong Kong using Guangzhou East Station (广州东站) and Guangzhou Lotus Hill Port (广州莲花山码头)
  • Visit Guangzhou from Macau using Gongbei Port
  • Visit Zhuhai from Macau using Gongbei Port or Hengqin Port.

At the ports of entry and exit in Guangdong Province, immigration officers will examine passports and the list of names in the group. Group members will not need to fill in any immigration cards for passport stamping. See Clearance Guide to Nine Shenzhen Ports.

The above policy is applicable to ordinary passport holders of nations with diplomatic relations with China. You may contact your hotel concierge or tour operators in Hong Kong to find out about the application procedure and related service charges.

Choosing a Tour Operator

You could simply contact us for Pearl River Delta travel from Hong Kong or Macau with our flexible tailor-made tour service. Or you could join a tour group with a local agent directly. The following are some major tour operators organizing group tours using 144-hour Convenience Visa (for reference only: accurate when first published, we can't vouch for their current service quality or even existence).

Able & Promotion Tours Ltd.
Tel: (852) 2544 5656
Email: enquiry@able-tours.com

China Travel Service (HK) Ltd.
Tel: (852) 2853 3531
Email: info@ctshk.com

Gray Line Tours of Hong Kong Ltd.
Tel: (852) 2368 7111
Email: sales@grayline.com.hk

Splendid Tours & Travel Ltd.
Tel: (852) 2316 2151
Email: info@splendid.hk

Tiptop Tours & Travel Ltd.
Tel: (852) 2366 7070
Email: antony@tiptoptours.com.hk

Vigor Tours Ltd.
Tel: (852) 2739 3828
Email: general@vigorholding.com.hk

3. 30-Day China Touring Visas from Selected Countries

Travelers from certain selected Asian and European countries may also be eligible for 30-day tour visas. Citizens of Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, and Turkmenistan may visit China without a visa for up to 30 days if they tour as part of a tour group that is accompanied by a representative of a tour operator registered in both countries:

4. 144-hour Convenient Visa to Guangdong Province

A new visa policy allows short term travel in Guangdong Province that is much more convenient than before. Foreign nationals in Hong Kong can visit China’s Guangdong province for a maximum of 144 hours (six days) via entry ports in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing, Huizhou and Shantou using the 144-hour Convenient Visa.

5. 5-Day Border Single Entry Visas for Shenzhen Special Economic Zone

Quick and cheap 5-Day visa for Shenzhen: Entry rules keep changing. Now, tourists from almost all countries can enter the Shenzhen Economic Zone on single entry 5-day visas that they can get at the border at Luohu (Lo Wu, 9:00 am-22:30 pm), Huanggang Port (24 hours), and Shekou Port. It often takes only a few minutes of time.

  • Visitors from almost all countries except the US and perhaps France may obtain a five-day entry visa for traveling in Shenzhen.
  • The visa is obtained only upon arrival at the Lo Wu border crossing, Huanggang Port Control Point or Shekou Port for Shenzhen.
  • For most countries, the fee is about 168 RMB or 215 HKD. However, for about two dozen South American and African countries, the fee can be several times more. For Russians and British, it is a little less than double.

6. Hainan Island

No visa is required for staying on Hainan Island up to 15 days for ordinary passport holders of designated countries (the U.S., Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Germany, the UK, France, Austria, Italy, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Japan, and Singapore), traveling with a tour group (of 5 or more tourists) organized by an travel agency approved by China's National Travel Administration and registered in Hainan Province. 

Citizens of South Korea, Germany, and Russia are allowed to stay for up to 21 days if in a travel group (of two or more tourists).

7. Singaporeans, Bruneians, Japanese, and Ecuadorian

A visa is not required for citizens of Singapore, Brunei, and Japan visiting China for traveling, visiting relatives, and doing business for less than 15 days, but they must enter through designated open ports. (Visas are required for more-than-15-day stays, study, work, government business, journalism, and Japanese diplomatic and official passport holders.)

Citizens of Ecuador can travel without a visa to China for a maximum stay of 30 days since August 18th, 2016.

8. APEC Business Travel Card Holders

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card holders are entitled to enter China many times within the card’s validity period by showing the passport that corresponds with the card, which serves as a multi-entry visa valid for three years. Each entry must not exceed 2 months.

9. Permanent Residence Certificate Holders

No visa is required for those who hold Aliens’ permanent residence certificates issued by the People’s Republic of China Public Security Bureau (PSB). Foreigners visiting China for study, employment, and working as resident correspondents must apply for Aliens’ Residence Permits with the PSB within a month of arrival in China.

Private Driver/Guided Tours

What would be a better way to get around but by private vehicle. Go where you want, and the driver will drive and the guide/interpreter will help. Contact our travel experts for ideas about arranging a tour or visit.

A private car and driver could be the best option for speed and efficiency. You can arrange for our driver to wait for you at the airport, train station or your hotel.

Further Reading