In recent years, China has implemented more visa-related policies for foreign visitors, making it easier to see the country’s best tourist spots.
One of the more significant implementations in recent years is visa-free transit. In 2013, the government approved 72-hour-visa-free transit in select cities for eligible international passengers, and have further stretched the period to 144 hours (six days) for some cities.
According to a recent update from China’s National Immigration Administration, tourists from 53 countries will be able to stay visa-free for up to six days through 27 ports of entry in 20 Chinese cities, cited by Xinhua. This policy will go into effect starting on December 1.
The newest cities added to the 144-hour-visa-free transit list are Chongqing, Xi’an and Ningbo. Xinhua reported that the border ports of Changsha, Guilin and Harbin will have a 72-hour-visa-free transit policy.
In most cases, travelers will be limited to stay in the city they entered through, but certain ports of entry will allow travelers to explore surrounding areas as well. For example, Ningbo’s six-day visa also covers the broader Yangtze River Delta area, including Shanghai, and international travelers entering through the Chengdu airport will also be allowed to stay in 10 nearby cities in the region. In addition, those entering from one of the border ports in the Jiangsu-Zhejiang-Shanghai region will be able to exit from another port.
To gain entry, eligible visitors must have valid international travel documents and proof of onward travel, such as a plane or cruise ship ticket, to a different destination outside of the Chinese mainland, including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, valid within the visa-free period. They will also need to fill out a visa application form and provide passport-sized photos to be affixed to the form.
Here’s a list of the cities and ports with 144-hour visa-free transit in China:
Shanghai – Shanghai Pudong Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, Shanghai Railway Station, Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, Shanghai Wusong Passenger Transport Center
Nanjing – Nanjing Lukou International Airport
Hangzhou – Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport
Ningbo – Ningbo Lishe International Airport
Beijing – Beijing Capital International Airport, Beijing West Railway Station
Tianjin – Tianjin Binhai International Airport, Tianjin International Cruise Home Port
Shijiazhuang – Shijiazhuang Zhengding International Airport
Qinhuangdao – Qinghuangdao Port
Shenyang – Shenyang Taoxian International Airport
Dalian – Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport
Qingdao – Qingdao Liuting International Airport, Port of QIngdao
Xiamen – Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport
Kunming – Kunming Changshui International Airport
Wuhan – Wuhan Tianhe International Airport
Chengdu – Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport
Guangzhou – Guangzhou Baiyun Airport
Shenzhen – Shenzhen International Airport
Jieyang – Jieyang Chaoshan International Airport
Chongqing – Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport
Xi’an – Xi’an Xianyang International Airport
Travelers visiting Hainan, however, have access to an entirely different visa-free policy. Since May 1 of 2018, tourists from 59 countries can stay in Hainan visa-free for up to 30 days, without proof of onward journey to a third country, if they book their visit via approved travel agencies.
From January 2013 to September 2019, over 452,000 international travelers have taken advantage of China’s visa-free policy, reaching 100,000 in 2018. According to China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, foreign travelers made 30.54 million trips to China in 2018, a 4.7% increase over 2017.
[Cover image via Pixabay]