How to Apply for a China Visa on Arrival

In principle, foreign visitors require a visa to travel to China. But international business travelers might not have so much time to do the application work. Good news: it is possible to apply for a Visa on Arrival (VOA), Landing Visa, or Port Visa, at certain ports of entry in China.

Who Can Apply: Can I get a visa for China on arrival?

eligible passport

Eligible passport holders of many western countries can get a visa for China on arrival; countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, France, Spain, and more. Passport holders of India and the Philippines, however, are not eligible for the application and even get fined for arrival without a valid Chinese visa. The nationals of the following 27 countries are also not qualifying for VOA:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Cameroon, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Sudan, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Where Can Apply: Can I get a visa at the Shenzhen border?

There are three Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in China providing port visas: Shenzhen, Zhuhai, and Xiamen. Eligible passengers can directly apply at certain border ports for a short stay.

Visa on Arrival Valid for Eligible Ports Areas Allowed to Stay
Shenzhen 5 days Luohu, Huanggang Shekou and Fuyong ports Shenzhen
Zhuhai 3 days Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport Zhuhai
Xiamen 5 days Gongbei, Jiuzhou and Hengqin ports Xiamen
Hainan 15 days Haikou and Sanya airports, Mainland China

Tips:

1. There are nearly 10 ports linking Shenzhen with Hong Kong, but travelers can only apply for a Shenzhen visa on arrival at Luohu, Huanggang, Shekou, and Fuyong. So it is important to pay attention to find the right port when traveling to Shenzhen from HK.

2. Hainan is a special province where eligible foreign citizens can apply for visas on arrival or a 30-day visa-free stay. 

How to Apply: What documents do I need?

  • A passport that is valid for at least 6 months.
  • Complete a Special Economic Zone Visa Application Form.
  • Take a passport photo.
  • Pay the visa fee.
  • Wait for about 10 minutes to get your visa.

How much does it cost to get a VOA?

It takes CNY 168 for applicants of most countries, but for UK citizens, the visa fee is CNY 304. Only CNY in cash is accepted for payment.

Visa on Arrival for Travelers in Emergencies

Foreign passengers can apply for landing visas at eligible ports of entry when in an emergency situation, mostly related to business purposes, foreign affairs, or life-and-death issues. In this case, an invitation from an accredited Chinese organization is always required.

Valid Ports

transit from airport

Ports of entry offering port visas under emergency situations include Beijing, Changsha Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Guilin, Haikou Hangzhou, Heihe, Jinan, Kunming, Manzhou Li, Nanjing, Qingdao, Sanya, Shanghai, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Suifen He, Tianjin, Urumchi, Weihai, Wuhan, Xi’an, Xiamen, Yantai, and Zhuhai.

Possible Circumstances

1. Being invited at short notice by the Chinese side to attend a trade fair in China;

2. Being invited to China to enter a bid or to formally sign an economic or trade contract;

3. Coming to China under contract for supervision over export shipment, import commodity inspection or check on the completion of a contract.

4. Being invited to install equipment or make rush repairs;

5. Coming to China at the request of the Chinese side or settling Claims;

6. Being invited to China for scientific or technological consulting services;

7. A last-minute replacement or addition, approved by the Chinese side, to a delegation or group that has been invited and has already obtained visas for traveling to China;

8. For visiting a patient in a critical condition or making funeral arrangements;

9. As persons in immediate transit who, because of force majeure, are unable to leave China by the original aircraft within 24 hours or have to leave China by other means of transport;

10. Other invitees who really do not have enough time to apply for visas to the above-mentioned Chinese agencies abroad but hold letters or telegrams from designated competent authorities approving the application for visas at port visa agencies

WARNING! There is NO ABSOLUTE GUARANTEE that you can obtain a visa at the port of entry, so it is highly advisable to get your China visa before your departure! See how to apply for a China visa.

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