Chinese Visa Policy

Visitors to China must apply for a visa at one of the Chinese diplomatic missions abroad unless they come from one of the visa-exempt countries. Hong Kong and Macau are special administrative regions that maintain an independent visa system.

A Chinese visa is an authorization provided by the Chinese visa administration (Chinese embassies, consulates, Ministry of Public Security, and other offices governed by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs) to a foreign national to enter, exit, or transit through China. The visa administrations may provide a courtesy, official, diplomatic, or regular visa to a foreigner depending on their status, the purpose of visiting China, and the type of passport.



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Entitled Nationalities for Visa-free Entry to China:

Citizens with passports provided by the following countries do not need to apply for a visa to travel to the People's Republic of China on a trip lasting no longer than the visa waiver limit mentioned below:

Regular passports

  • Brunei: as long as 15 days 
  • Japan: as long as 15 days 
  • Singapore: as long as 15 days 
  • Bahamas: as long as 30 days 
  • Mauritius: as long as 30 days 
  • Seychelles: as long as 30 days 
  • San Marino: as long as 90 days 

Visa-free Transit:

1. 24-hour Transit

Visas are not necessary for foreign passport holders who:

  • Have airline tickets to a destination other than China and reserve seats on international airlines that fly directly by China.
  • Don't leave the transit airport.
  • Staying at the transit airport for not more than 24 hours.

2. 72-hour (3-day) Stay or 144-hour (6-day) Stay

Passport holders provided by the following nations do not require a 72-hour or 144-hour stay visa when traveling via the following airports provided they have valid passports, visas for the onward travel countries (if necessary ) and the final destination booked tickets and seats for connecting flights and visit only that city, province or municipality (Zhejiang Province and Guangdong Province).

Entitled Countries:

All European Union countries

  • Albania
  • Australia
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Chile
  • Canada
  • Iceland
  • Mexico
  • Macedonia
  • Montenegro
  • New Zealand
  • Qatar
  • Russia
  • Switzerland
  • Serbia
  • South Korea
  • Ukraine
  • United States
  • United Arab Emirates

Entitled Airports:

  • Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing
  • Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport in Chongqing
  • Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport in Chengdu
  • Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport in Dalian
  • Guilin Liangjiang International Airport in Guilin
  • Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou
  • Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport in Hangzhou
  • Pudong Airport and Hongqiao Airport in Shanghai
  • Xi'an Xianyang International Airport in Xi'an/Xianyang
  • Shenyang Taoxian International Airport in Shenyang

Validity of Chinese Visa: 

Visa Validity means that the visa can be used or is valid to enter China from the issuance date until the "Date of Entry" indicated on the visa. If a visa contains unused entries, the holder can arrive in China before 24:00 (Beijing time) on the expiry date.

Number of Entries of Chinese Visa:

Entries mean the number of times the holder can enter the People's Republic of China during the validity period.

Stay Duration of Chinese Visa:

Duration of each stay refers to the paramount number of days that the visa holder is allowed to stay in the People's Republic of China each time, calculated from the entry date into China.

A foreign citizen who exceeds the end date of their permitted stay in China without completing the extension formalities has to pay fines and other penalties for violating the law. When a visa holder stays in China more than the length of stay permitted in the visa, permission must be acquired from the local public security authorities above the county level before the length of stay expires. Authorization for an extension of stay might or might not be granted.

About This Author

Philip Diack is Founder and Managing Director of Passports and, a national passport and travel visa service with offices in Atlanta, Miami, Washington, DC, NYC, Denver and San Francisco.

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