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Updated July 2024

Similar to many other countries, China warmly welcomes international visitors by offering various visa and transit permit exemptions. The Chinese government also provides provisions for certain travel groups to enter the country visa-free. If you are planning a trip to China or its vicinity, there is a chance you may qualify for visa-free travel.

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Wego has compiled a comprehensive list of countries whose citizens can enter China without a visa. Continue reading to find out if you qualify for visa-free travel!

Which countries can visit China without a visa?

China extends visa-free travel to numerous countries worldwide, though the specifics vary based on regions within the country and the length of stay permitted. Below are the categories under which visa-free countries are classified:

15-day visa-free countries

China’s foreign ministry has announced a trial period for visa-free travel, allowing citizens from 15 countries to visit China for up to 15 days without a visa. The countries included in this trial are France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Malaysia, Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, New Zealand, and Australia. 

Individuals holding ordinary passports from these nations can conduct business or explore China without needing a visa for 15 days. This trial period will continue until the end of 2025.

30-day visa-free countries

Over 150 countries have entered into agreements with China for mutual visa exemption, allowing specific citizens to visit China without a visa. Nonetheless, the visa-free arrangements primarily apply to diplomatic or official passport holders for the majority of countries. To look at the complete list, please refer to this link.

A few countries are eligible for visa-free travel to China for citizens holding ordinary passports. Citizens from these countries are allowed to travel to China without a visa for up to 30 days for the purposes of tourism, travel, business, and visiting family or friends. 

These countries are: 

  • Albania
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan (when traveling in tour groups organized by authorized travel agencies of both countries)
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belarus 
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Dominica
  • Ecuador
  • Fiji
  • Georgia 
  • Grenada
  • Kazakhstan
  • Maldives
  • Mauritius
  • Moldova 
  • Qatar
  • Russia (when traveling in tour groups organized by authorized travel agencies of both countries)
  • San Marino 
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Suriname
  • Thailand
  • Tonga
  • Turkmenistan (when traveling in tour groups organized by authorized travel agencies of both countries)
  • United Arab Emirates

Visa-free transit options

China offers two visa-free transit options. The first is the 24-hour visa-free transit, which covers a majority of nationalities. The second includes the 72-hour and 144-hour visa-free transit options, available for certain nationalities. These options are discussed in detail below:

24 hours visa-free transit rule

Most countries are eligible for this visa-free transit facility. Travelers are allowed to transfer between multiple airports in China but must enter and leave the country within a 24-hour window. It’s possible that these travelers may need to go through immigration and customs procedures, even if they do not intend to leave the transit area.

However, there are nine airports in China where you won’t be subjected to any inspection procedures. These airports are: 

  • Beijing Capital
  • Beijing Daxing
  • Shanghai Pudong
  • Hangzhou Xiaoshan
  • Xiamen Gaoqi
  • Guangzhou Baiyun
  • Shenzhen Bao’an
  • Chengdu Tianfu
  • Xi’an Xianyang

Additionally, certain restrictions apply to specific nationalities at some airports in China. For example, Syrian nationals transiting through Guangzhou Baiyun Airport are not eligible for the visa-free transit and must apply for a visa in advance.

Similarly, at Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport, nationals of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Yemen are not eligible for this provision and need to apply for a visa beforehand.

72-hour and 144-hour visa-free transit rules

China offers visa-free transit options ranging from 72 hours (3 days) up to 144 hours (6 days) for travelers from 54 eligible countries. Upon arrival at designated Chinese cities, these travelers can apply for a six-day entry permit.

To qualify, travelers must demonstrate that they have a connecting ticket to a third country, confirming their onward journey after leaving China.

The 144-hour visa-free transit is available in the following regions: 

  • Jiangsu-Zhejiang-Shanghai region
  • Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region
  • Guangdong province
  • Liaoning province
  • Shandong province
  • Sichuan province
  • Fujian province
  • Yunnan province
  • Hubei province
  • Shaanxi province
  • Chongqing Municipality

The 72-hour visa-free transit is available in:

  • Hunan and Heilongjiang provinces
  • Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region

Nationals of the 54 countries listed below can utilize this provision. For further details on eligible airports and permitted areas of stay, visit the National Immigration Administration of China website.

Europe:

  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Great Britain
  • Ireland
  • Cyprus
  • Bulgaria
  • Romania
  • Ukraine
  • Serbia
  • Croatia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Montenegro
  • Macedonia
  • Albania
  • Monaco
  • Belarus

America:

  • USA
  • Canada
  • Brazil
  • Mexico
  • Argentina
  • Chile

Oceania:

  • Australia
  • New Zealand

Asia:

  • Russia
  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Brunei
  • UAE
  • Qatar

Conditions for visa-free travel to certain regions of China

There are specific regions in the country that are accessible visa-free for certain tourists, but this does not apply to the entire country. The following are the areas and the groups who can access them:

Pearl River Delta 

Travelers from countries that have diplomatic relations with China can visit the nine cities in the Pearl River Delta (Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing, and Huizhou) for up to six days without a visa.

This applies to those who are part of a tourist group organized by a registered travel agency in Hong Kong or Macau. Additionally, the same policy applies to tour groups visiting Shantou in Guangdong Province as long as their activities are within the administrative area of Shantou.

To be eligible for this policy, the tour group must depart from Hong Kong or Macao. 

Hainan 

Citizens of 59 countries are now eligible for 30 days of visa-free travel to the province of Hainan. Eligible travelers are free to travel around the whole province of Hainan and can travel from Hong Kong or any other place outside Mainland China with a direct flight to the island. 

The eligible countries are:

  • Albania
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Belarus
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macedonia
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Guilin 

Tour groups consisting of a minimum of two people from the 10 ASEAN countries are organized and hosted by a travel agency registered and approved by the tourism authority of Guilin, Guangxi Province. The groups can enter and exit through Guilin airport port and are permitted to stay in Guilin for a maximum duration of six days without the need for a visa.

The eligible countries are:

  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
  • Indonesia
  • Vietnam
  • Cambodia
  • Laos
  • Myanmar
  • Singapore
  • Brunei
  • Philippines

APEC Business Travel Card holders 

Holders of a valid Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card (ABTC) can enter China multiple times within the card’s validity period for business purposes for periods of up to 60 days at a time. The ABTC is valid for five years and thus functions as a five-year multi-entry visa.

Please note that only citizens of the 21 APEC member economies are eligible for the ABTC and enter China without a visa.

The countries are:

  • Australia
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Russia
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • the United States
  • Vietnam

Cruise tourists

China has introduced a new policy permitting visa-free entry for foreign tourist groups arriving via cruise ships at all ports along its coastline. Groups of two or more individuals, organized by Chinese travel agencies, can now enjoy this privilege. This applies to designated cruise ports in 13 cities.

The National Immigration Administration states that these tourists can stay for up to 15 days. To qualify, all group members must travel together on the same ship until it departs China. Activities are restricted to coastal areas, municipalities, autonomous regions, and Beijing.

 

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