Beijing Transit Visa: 144-Hour Visa-Free in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei

Written by Sally Guo Updated Apr. 7, 2024
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From December 1, 2023, until November 30, 2024, ordinary passport holders of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia can benefit from a 15-day visa-free entry to China Mainland.

From March 14, 2024, until November 30, 2024, ordinary passport holders of Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg can benefit from a 15-day visa-free entry to China Mainland.

This applies to purposes such as tourism, business, transit, and visiting friends and relatives in China.

Passengers from 54 countries can now enjoy a visa-free stay of up to 144 hours while in transit in Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei Province.

We've gathered the most important information and frequently asked questions to assist you in planning a visa-free trip to China.

Do I Need a Visa to Visit Beijing?

Typically, foreign tourists visiting Beijing need a Chinese visa.

However, if your nationality and itinerary meet the transit visa exemption policy, you can also visit Beijing and surrounding areas visa-free for up to 6 days

What Countries Are Eligible for the 144-hour Visa-Free Transit?

Which Ports Are Eligible for the Visa-Free Transit?

144-Hour Visa-Free Areas in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei
144-Hour Visa-Free Areas in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei

What Documents Are Required for the 144-hour Visa-Free Transit?

What Is the Eligible Transit Route for 144-hour Visa-free Travel?

1. You must be in transit to a third country or region (Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are included among possible third regions). This implies that you cannot return to the country of origin after leaving China. In other words, your departure and return destinations must be different places.

For example, a route like USA - Beijing - Hong Kong qualifies for the 144-hour visa exemption, whereas a route like USA - Beijing - USA does not meet the requirements.

eligible visa free transit route
Eligible visa-free transit route

2. Your transit time is no more than 144 hours (from the first 00:00 hrs after you enter).

3. You enter and leave China from one of the eligible ports. Your arrival port and departure port can be different. For example, you can arrive in Tianjin and leave from Beijing.

You can travel around Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei Province within 144 hours but you are not permitted to go to other provincial-level areas in China.

How to Calculate the 144 Hours?

On arrival at one of the entry points, eligible foreign passengers will be issued a temporary entry permit by immigration officials.

The 144 hours start from 00:00 immediately following the time of entry. Passengers can stay in Beijing, Tianjin, and Hubei Province without a Chinese visa for up to 144 hours from that time.

For example, if you enter Beijing at 6:00 am on 1st September, your permissible stay period starts counting down from 00:00 on 2nd September and you can stay until 23:59 on 7th September.

So you may stay longer than 144 (but still less than 168) hours, depending on arrival and departure times.

If you come to China from Tianjin Port and leave China from Beijing Airport, and your stay in China is within 144 hours, you can also qualify for a transit visa exemption.

How to Apply for 144-Hour TWOV (Transit Without Visa)?

1. Inform your carrier agent at check-in that you wish to use a 144-hour visa-free transit.

2. On landing in China, fill out and submit the Arriva/Departure Card.

3. Upon arrival, find the designated lanes for 144-hour visa-exempt transit passengers within the entry inspection.

4. Show your onward ticket, passport, and China Arrival Card to the immigration officer for inspection and tell them you wish to transit without a visa.

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

6. Departure 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.

FAQs about 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit in Beijing

We are receiving hundreds of questions about China visas every day. Apart from the most essential information mentioned above, the following are the most frequently asked questions. We believe it will save you lots of time and help you plan your trip better by looking at these questions.

Can I ask for a 144-hour TWOV with a standby airline ticket?

No. You need confirmed seats to qualify; standby tickets do not work.

The visa-free transit policy is granted by the immigration authority in China, not the airline. According to the regulations, any applicant must hold a valid connecting travel ticket to a third country/region, with a confirmed seat and departure time within 144 hours after the arrival.

If I land in Beijing and apply for a transit visa, can I leave China from another city (for example, Shanghai)?

No. If you land in Beijing and apply for the 144-hour visa-free transit, you can only leave the country from Beijing, Tianjin, or Hebei Province. Any other city outside this specific area is not available to travel to.

Does the policy apply to train arrivals or departures?

Yes, but only if the train departs from Beijing West Railway Station (or arrives at Beijing West Railway Station) and makes no stop anywhere else in China can it qualify for the policy. But there are no such international trains available so far.

Besides, entering China from Tianjin International Cruise Home Port and Hebei Qinhuangdao Seaport are also eligible for TWOV.

Will the immigration office be open if I land in Beijing at midnight?

Yes, the immigration offices at major international airports, including Beijing Capital International Airport, generally operate 24 hours a day, which means they should be open even if you arrive at midnight.

Immigration officers will be available to process entry procedures and handle visa-related matters regardless of the time of your arrival.

How to Plan a 144-Hour Visa-Free Tour in Beijing?

The 144-hour TWOV policy provides great convenience for overseas tourists to visit China. Therefore, an increasing number of customers have been asking for information about itineraries for an eligible visa-free Beijing trip. Here are three key tips for you:

1. Beijing is not the Only Transit Port.

As mentioned above, there are 7 transit ports permitted by the policy. You can enter China from Beijing, Tianjin, or Hebei Province by airline, cruise, or train.

Apart from Beijing, Tianjin International Cruise Home Port is also a popular choice; it is about a 2-hour drive from Beijing.

Our Transfer Service from Tianjin Cruise Port to Beijing will make your Beijing tour easier after you disembark from your cruise ship in Tianjin.

2. You can Extend Your Trip to Tianjin or Hebei.

Just like the eligible transit ports of the policy, you are not restricted to Beijing only but can also visit Hebei Province and Tianjin, both neighboring Beijing.

Taking a Tianjin or Hebei Qinhuangdao day trip from Beijing will help you enjoy more places.

3. Hong Kong or Macau Can Be Included in Your Planning.

According to the policy, passengers must be in transit to a third country or region. Hong Kong and Macau are considered to be third regions, so they qualify for visa-free transit.

For example, you can put Hong Kong or Macau in your itinerary, Canada – Beijing – Hong Kong / Macau.

For more detailed itineraries, please refer to How to Plan Your Visa-Free Layover Tour in Beijing.

Experience a Visa-Free Transit Tour with China Travel

If you plan to transit in Beijing, Tianjin, or Hebei, we are happy to help you customize a private tour to make the most of your visa-free travel. 

China Travel offers some unique activities in Beijing, allowing you to immerse yourself in traditional Chinese culture. Here are our recommended Beijing tours for your inspiration:

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