Shanghai 144-Hour Visa Free Policy

Written by Ruru Zhou Updated Jun. 8, 2021

Since January 30, 2016, Shanghai and some cities nearby allows travelers from 53 countries to stay in certain cities for up to 144 hours (6 days) without applying for a Chinese travel visa to experience local culture and life. You can enjoy a journey in China easier. China Travel has listed here the most important information you may need for planning a short trip to China.

Which countries are covered in the policy?

53 countries are included in the policy:

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 ports of entry are involved in the policy?

Meeting the Qualifying Criteria

1. You must be in transit to a third country or region (Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are included among possible third regions). For example, USA–Shanghai–Taiwan is acceptable for a 144-hour transit visa in Shanghai, but USA–Shanghai–USA is not.

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

3. You enter and leave from one of the eligible ports of entry. Your arrival port and departure port can be different. For example, you can arrive in Shanghai and leave from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.

4. You can travel around Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang 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 starts from 00:00 hrs immediately following the time of entry. Passengers can stay in Shanghai Municipality, Jiangsu Province and Zhejiang Province without a Chinese visa for up to 144 hours from then.

What Documents Necessary for 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit?

144-Hour Transit in 6 Steps

1. Inform your carrier agent that you wish to use a 144-hour visa-free transit at the check-in.
2. Submit the arrival and departure card form.
3. Locate the dedicated lanes for 144-hour visa-exemption transit passengers within the entry inspection areas after arrival.
4. Show your tickets, passport, and China arrival card to the immigration officer for inspection and tell to 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.

Interpretation of 15-Day Visa-Exemption Policy for Foreign Tour Groups Entering Shanghai by Cruise

Shanghai has implemented a 15-day visa-exemption policy for foreign tour groups entering China by cruise from Shanghai since Oct 1, 2016.
Eligible passengers who hold valid international travel documents allowed staying in China for not more than 15 days which starts counting from the next day upon arrival.

Upon get 15-day visa-free entry, passengers not only allowed to visit Shanghai, but also to visit other destinations which including Beijing, Tianjin, Liaoning Province, Hebei Province, Shandong Province, Jiangsu Province, Zhejiang Province, Fujian Province, Guangdong Province, Hainan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

What’s the Qualifying Criteria?

Passenger who want to get 15-day visa-free entry need to meet the relevant qualifying criteria as following:

1. Hold valid international travel documents and enter China from Shanghai by cruise at Shanghai Port International Passenger Terminal or Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal and later exit China with the same cruise ship.
2. Enroll in a tour group of 2 or more members organized by a travel agency legally registered in Chinese Mainland.

Possible Arrival Points in Shanghai

Take a Visa-Free Transit Tour with China Travel

We can help you to create a 144-hour visa-free tour to make the best of your time and meet your interests. Here are two tours we recommend for your inspiration:

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