Top 10 China tours 2023/2024 for first visits and returns: embark on a lifetime experience. Learn more
How to Visit China Without a Visa 2023 (Updated)

How to Visit China Without a Visa 2023 (Updated)

Written by CindyUpdated May. 9, 2023

China's visa-free policies allow nationals of certain countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand to travel to China for stays ranging from 24 hours to 180 days without obtaining a visa if certain requirements are met.

If you want to plan a visa-free trip to China, just contact us.

Content Preview

1. 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit Policies: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong...

china 144-hour Visa-free Transit

Valid for: Travelers from 53 countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand

Cities that can be visited: Beijing, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Qinhuangdao; Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing; Shenyang, Dalian, Qingdao; Chengdu; Xiamen, Kunming; Wuhan; Guangdong; Chongqing; Xi'an; and Ningbo.

One visa-free zone per transit: You can only visit the cities and their surrounding area covered by one policy zone before international transit, such as Shanghai and its surrounding area including Hangzhou and Suzhou or Beijing and its surrounding area including Tianjin. You can't travel from one visa-free zone to another: for example, Beijing to Shanghai visa-free travel is not allowed. 

How to apply: You just need to apply for a temporary entry permit at your entry airport.

Key Requirement: You will need to be transiting via China to a third region or country. Find out more requirements on 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit policy.

Will My Route Qualify for China 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit?

Quick Test: Will My Route Qualify for China 72/144-Hour Visa-Free Transit?

1. I will depart from (only applies to direct or connected flight):

2. I will arrive in China at [city], [airport / railway station / port].

3. My arrival date is...

4. I will leave for [country/region] from China (the bounding destination on the air ticket):

5. My departure date is...

6. My nationality is...

For example, with a New York – Beijing (transit) – Frankfurt itinerary, you can visit Beijing visa-free, staying for up to 6 days.

An “essential” Beijing trip takes about 3–4 days, including its must-sees like the Forbidden City and Great Wall. Check out our 4-Day Beijing Private Tour.

New York – Beijing – New York doesn’t meet the visa-free transit policy requirements, because the policy requires that you must transit from China to a third region or country.

However, you can take advantage of the convenience of Hong Kong and Macau, which are considered as separate regions in the policy. The itinerary New York – Beijing – Hong Kong – New York or New York – Hong Kong – Beijing – New York is doable visa-free.

Transiting in e.g. Hong Kong, you could even access two visa-free zones and return home, e.g. USA–Beijing–HK–Shanghai–USA visa-free!

Just contact us to plan a visa-free tour. We have been providing visa-free tour services for many clients since the introduction of such policies. For any questions/problems throughout your trip, our travel consultants provide 24/7 support.

Here are some appealing China tours that you can experience with the 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit:

2. 72-Hour Visa-Free Transit Policy: Guilin, Harbin, Changsha

72-hour Visa-free Chinese Cities

Valid for: passport holders from 51 countries or regions, including the USA, the UK, Singapore, Canada, Australia, and Germany

Cities that can be visited: Guilin, Harbin, and Changsha

How to apply: You just need to apply for a temporary entry permit at the entry airport.

The transit requirement: You need to be going via China to a third region or country. Click to learn more about 72-Hour Visa-Free Transit.

Recommended Visa-Free Tours

98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+
Tour Review
May 2023, Marta
May 2023, Serhat Altay
May 2023, Munsie
May 2023, Joanna i Piotr Kuzebscy
May 2023, Pam S.
May 2023, Meibao
May 2023, Annalina Wheeler
May 2023, Chani
May 2023, Allen C
May 2023, Fer Villasefior
May 2023, Ryan Corless
May 2023, Katha
Apr 2023, Lawrence
Apr 2023, Mark
Apr 2023, Jonathan
Apr 2023, Pedro V
Apr 2023, Brenda Sarmanho
Apr 2023, Evangelos Athanasopoulos
Apr 2023, Hi

3. The 24-Hour Visa-Free Transit Policy

Valid for: Almost all foreign tourists

Cities that can be visited: This policy applies to most major cities in China with an international airport, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Nanjing, and Tianjin.

How to apply: You just need to apply for a temporary entry permit at the airport.

Key requirement: You need to be going via China to a third region or country.

Recommended Visa-Free Tours

4. Visa-Free Policy in Hong Kong and Macau

For most visitors, a visa is not required if traveling to Hong Kong and/or Macau. 

Hong Kong: The former colony continues its liberal entry policies established by the British government. Citizens of about 160 countries can obtain visa-free entry for durations that range from 180 days to 7 days. For more detailed information, see Hong Kong’s visa policy.

Macau: This territory's policies are more restrictive than those of Hong Kong. British nationals can stay for 6 months. Citizens of about 38 countries including those of the EU, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, and South Korea can stay for 90 days. For more, see Macau’s visa policy.

For even greater travel opportunities, you can also plan a visa-free trip to the Chinese Mainland from Hong Kong or Macau by taking advantage of the visa-free policies mentioned earlier or the one below.

Recommended Visa-Free Tours from Hong Kong/Macau

Just contact us to plan a trip from Hong Kong/Macau.

Click here to plan your tailor-made tour now. Your 1:1 travel consultant will reply within 1 working day.

5. 6-Day Pearl River Delta Visa Exemptions

Valid for: international visitors traveling from Hong Kong and/or Macau

Cities that can be visited: those of the conurbation surrounding the Pearl River Delta including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing, Huizhou, and Shantou.

How to apply: You will need to go with a registered travel agency, such as ours. The permitted tour group size ranges from three to 40 people including the guide.

Recommended Visa-Free Tours

6. 6-Day Visa Exemption for ASEAN Tour Groups to Guilin

Valid for: ASEAN member citizens, including those of Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Myanmar, Brunei, and the Philippines.

City that can be visited: Guilin

How to apply: You will need to join a group tour with a registered travel agency.

Recommended Tours

7. Shanghai 15-Day Visa-Free Policy for Cruise Groups

Valid for: Foreign tourist groups entering China via a Shanghai cruise

Cities that can be visited: You are not only allowed to visit Shanghai but also many other coastal municipalities (Beijing and Tianjin) and provinces (Liaoning, Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hainan).

Requirements: You must arrive and depart on the same cruise and be received by a Chinese travel agent at the Shanghai Cruise Terminal (or Wusong Passenger Center).

8. Hainan 30-Day Visa-Free Access

Valid for: Ordinary passport holders from 59 countries including the USA, the UK, Canada, and Australia.

Cities that can be visited: Hainan Island

Requirements: Groups and individual tourists must book their tour through an accredited travel agency that’s approved by China's National Travel Administration and registered in Hainan Province.

9. APEC Business Travel Card Holders

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card holders can simply enter China with the card without applying for a visa.

Travelers who hold a valid APEC business travel card can stay in China for up to 60 days.

10. Holders of Aliens’ Residence Permits

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, or working as resident correspondents must apply for Aliens’ Residence Permits with the PSB within a month of arrival in China.

Popular Visa-Free Tours

If you want to enjoy a hassle-free tour that maximizes limited time in China, just contact us. The following itineraries, and any other ideas you may have, can be customized by us to fit your length of stay and other needs:

We are here to help you...
start planning your tailor-made tour with 1-1 help from our travel advisors. Create Your Trip

The China Highlights Experience

1-to-1 Expert Planning

1-to-1 Expert Planning

Your tour will be tailor-made by your personal travel advisor — a destination expert. Every reply will be within 24 hours.

Personal Journeys

Personal Journeys

Enjoy your personal local guide and ride. Explore destinations at your own pace. Have unparalleled flexibility, which is impossible on a group tour.

Authentic Experiences

Authentic Experiences

Discover the hidden gems. Experience local culture by practicing it. Try new and exciting activities, and unveil the stories behind the sights and people.

Well-Selected Local Guides

Well-Selected Local Guides

Knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and attentive — your personal local guides will share interesting stories, insider information, and even create unexpected highlights!

China Highlights tailor-makes China tours to help travelers discover China their way. We're a passionate team of one hundred avid travelers who love to share our knowledge of China with those looking for a more authentic travel experience, more ...
China Highlights International Travel Service Co., LTD
Corporate Number: 914503003486045699
Featured on