72-Hour Visa-Free Transit in China

Written by Sally Guo Updated Jun. 24, 2021

“Can I transit through China without a visa?” Visa issues might be the very first concern for most international travelers. Some may even skip China because of its strict visa regulations. But luckily, some cities of China allow visitors from 53 countries to stay for 72 hours (3 days) without applying for a Chinese travel visa. So back to the question at the beginning, yes, it is possible to get a 72-hour visa-free transit in China.

Who are qualified for the 72-Hour Visa-Free Transit?

Passport holders from 53 countries can apply for a 72-hour visa-exempted transit in China’s qualifying cities:

  • Americas (6 countries): United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Chile
  • Europe (39 countries): Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Monaco, and Belarus
  • Oceania (2 countries): Australia and New Zealand
  • Asia (6 countries): South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar

Which cities offer 72-Hour TWOV?

  • Guilin, Xi’an, Chongqing, Harbin, Changsha
  • Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Xiamen, Tianjin, Wuhan, Shijiazhuang, Qinhuangdao, Qingdao, Shenyang, Dalian, Kunming, and the whole Guangdong Province (including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, etc.) – extended to 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit.

NOTE: Visa-free transit services in Xi'an and Chongqing are also extended to 144 hours since 1 December 2019.

Are there any conditions or restrictions I have to know?

Guilin Liangjiang International Airport

Guilin Liangjiang International Airport

1. Qualifying ports- You must enter and leave from an eligible port by flight: Guilin Liangjiang International Airport, Xi’an Xianyang International Airport, Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport, Harbin Taiping International Airport, Changsha Huanghua International Airport.

2. Eligible transit routes- You must be in transit to a third country/region with a confirmed onward ticket and have no second stopover in mainland China. Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are regarded as a third region on this occasion. For example:

  • The USA – Xi’an – Thailand or UK – Guilin – Hong Kong – USA is fine;
  • While Russia – Harbin – Russia, or Australia – Xi’an – Guilin – Macau is not.

3. Restricted areas- Areas for 72-hour visa-free transit passengers allowed to stay are limited as below:

  • Those transiting in Changsha can travel in the whole Hunan Province;
  • Those transiting in Chongqing, Harbin, or Guilin cannot leave the transit city;
  • Those transiting in Xi’an Xianyang International Airport are allowed to travel in Xi’an and Xianyang.

How to calculate the 72 hours?

transiting at airport

Transiting at an eligible airport

The 72 hours starts from 00:00 hrs immediately following the time of entry at most of the eligible airports, except Beijing Capital International Airport, where it starts from the scheduled arrival time of the flight.

For example, if you enter Guilin at 6 am on April 1st, your permissible stay starts from 00:00 on April 2nd and you can stay until 23:59 on 4th. In this case, you may actually stay longer than 72 (but still less than 96) hours, depending on arrival and departure times.

In Beijing, however, if you arrive in Beijing at 6 am on April 1st, you will need to exit the city by air by 6 am on April 3rd.

What documents are required?

  • Passport valid for at least 3 months from the date of entry
  • An onward flight ticket to a third country/region with a confirmed date and seat
  • Visa for a third country/region (if needed)
  • Fully completed arrival and departure cards

72-Hour Visa-Free Transit in 4 Steps

72-Hour Visa-Free Transit Counter

72-Hour Visa-Free Transit Counter

1. Inform your airline at the check-in that you intend to transit without a visa in China and collect your onward ticket.
2. Fill in the arrival and departure cards (can be done on flights)
3. After arrival, find the dedicated counter/lane and apply for the 72-hour visa-free transit. If approved, your passport will get a stay permit stamp or sticker showing your permitted duration of stay.
4. Claim your luggage, go through customs, and leave the airport as normal.

Recommended Tours for Transit Passengers

Visiting Forbidden City with us

Visiting Forbidden City with us

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