A foreign citizen can enter China without a visa under any one of the following circumstances:
1) Direct Transit
A foreign citizen who is transiting through China by air is exempted from a visa if he/she will stay only inside the airport (without entering the boder control) for no more than 24 hours and has a valid connecting ticket with confirmed seat on an international flight.
2) Transit in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi'an, Dalian, Shenyang within 72 Hours
Irrespective of the passport type, citizens of the following 51 countries who transit in Beijing via Beijing Capital International Airport, Shanghai via Shanghai Hongqiao and Pudong International Airport, Guangzhou via Baiyun International Airport, Chengdu via Shuangliu International Airport, Chongqing via Jiangbei International Airport, Xi'an via Xianyang International Airport , Dalian via Zhoushuizi International Airport , Shenyang via Taoxian International Airport within 72 hours are exempted from visas for China:
Austria, Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, Great Britain, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania.
3) Foreigners to visiting the Pearl River Delta or Hainan Island
A. A foreign citizen holding an ordinary passport issued by any country with diplomatic relations with China is exempted from a visa if he or she is already in Hong Kong or Macao and joins a tourist group organized by a travel agency, which is registered in Hong Kong or Macao, for a visit to the Pearl River Delta region (including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing and Huizhou) and his or her stay is no more than 6 days.
B. A foreign citizen holding an ordinary passport issued by any of the following countries is exempted from a visa if he or she joins a tourist group (of 5 or more persons) organized by an international travel agency registered in Hainan with the approval of China National Tourism Administration to visit Hainan Province and his or her stay is no more than 15 days: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, the U.K., Ukraine and the United States of America.
Citizens of Germany, Republic of Korea and Russia may join an international tourist group (of 2 or more persons) and can stay up to 21 days.
4) Citizens of Singapore, Brunei and Japan
A citizen of Singapore, Brunei or Japan with an ordinary passport is exempted from a visa if he or she visits China for tourism, business, or meeting with friends or relatives, and if he or she enters China through ports open to foreigners, and stays for no more than 15 days.
However, a visa is required for citizen of these three countries under any of the following circumstances:
A. An ordinary passport holder visits China for tourism, business, or meeting with friends or relatives, and stays for more than 15 days.
B. An ordinary passport holder visits China for the purpose of study, work, permanent residency, official visits or news coverage.
C. A Japanese citizen travels with a diplomatic or official passport.
5) Holders of Valid APEC Business Travel Card
The APEC Business Travel Card is a substitute of a multiple-entry visa valid for 3 years. A card holder who presents a valid passport whose image and biographic data exactly matches that on the APEC Business Travel Card can enter China multiple times during the validity of the card for a stay of no more than 2 months for each entry.
6) Foreigner's Permanent Residence Card Holders of the People's Republic of China.
7) Holder of valid Residence Permit for Foreigners issued by the Public Security Bureau.
Foreign citizens entering China for the purpose of study or employment or as resident foreign journalists must apply for a residence permit at local public security authorities within 30 days of entry into China. Permit holders may stay in China and enter or exit China multiple times without the need of a visa during the validity period of the permit.
8) Bilateral Agreement
Based on bilateral agreements signed or reached between China and foreign countries, foreign citizens of some countries who meet certain requirements may visit China without a visa. Please see the list of agreements on visa exemption
(http://cs.mfa.gov.cn/zlbg/tyxy_660627/P020141015377893047216.pdf) signed between China and foreign countries for more information.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions Concerning 72-hour Transit Visa Exemption for Foreign Nationals
1.What requirements foreign nationals have to meet to apply for the 72-hour transit visa exemption at ports of entry in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi'an, Dalian, Shenyang?
There are 3 requirements: 1) Citizens from the 51 countries under the 72-hour Transit Visa Exemption Program; 2) Foreign nationals with valid international traveling documents and air ticket for a connecting flight with confirmed date of flight and seat for a third country (region) traveling within 72 hours; 3) Transit passengers from the Airports of the eight cities for a third country (region).
2.Travelers from what countries may apply for the 72-hour transit visa exemption? How are the countries chosen?
Travelers from the 51 countries may apply for the 72-hour transit visa exemption, which are: 1) 24 Schengen countries in Europe: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherland, Poland, Portugal, Slovak, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. 2) 13 other European countries: Russia, Great Britain, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania,Ukraine,Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania .3)6 American countries: The United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile. 4) 2 Oceanian countries: Australia and New Zealand. 5) 6 Asian countries: Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. The above 51 countries are chosen on the basis of the figures of foreign travelers' entry, stopover and accommodations in Beijing and Shanghai in recent years.
3.How can a foreign national that meets the requirements for the 72-hour transit visa exemption apply for it?
A foreign national that meets the requirements may submit his/her request to the airline company that carries him/her to China, which shall make the application to the border control authorities of the airports that shall grant a temporary entry of a passenger meeting the requirements for transit visa exemption upon verification.
4.Can a traveler apply for the 72-hour transit visa exemption when the person has no exit air ticket at the time of entry but he or she plans to purchase the air ticket for a third country leaving within 72 hours after entry?
According to the requirements, a foreign national applying for the 72-hour transit visa exemption must hold the air ticket for a connecting flight with confirmed date of flight and seat, i.e., the exit air ticket is already in place before entry. Therefore, this facilitation measure does not apply to a foreign national that does not have a confirmed air ticket for a connecting flight leaving within 72 hours.
5.Does this measure apply to a foreign national coming to the eight cities from a certain country (region) with a confirmed air ticket for flying back to the same country (region) where he or she comes from within 72 hours with confirmed date of flight and seat?
According to the requirements, the 72-hour transit visa exemption measure is for a foreign national passing through the eight cities for a third country or region. Therefore this measure does not apply to a passenger traveling from New York, USA, and stopping over at Beijing on his/her way to Los Angeles, USA.
6.Can a foreign national leave the eight cities for another Chinese city after getting the 72-hour transit visa exemption? What should be done in case a foreign national who has the 72-hour transit visa exemption cannot leave China within 72 hours due to some special reason after entry?
A foreign national with the 72-hour transit visa exemption may not leave the administrative precincts of the eight cities. In case of need to leave the precinct for some special reason, the passenger must apply for a visa to the exit-entry administration department of the municipal public security authorities of Beijing or Shanghai as required by the law.
A foreign national having the 72-hour transit visa exemption should leave China within the permitted time. In case of special need to stay longer than 72 hours, the passenger should apply for the relevant visa to the exit-entry administration department of the municipal public security authorities of the eight cities before leaving China as required by the law.
In case a foreign national fails to apply for the required visa, he or she shall be dealt with in accordance with the law for illegal residence in China by the exit-entry administration department of the public security authorities or border control station of the location where such an act is found. The border control authorities are entitled to deny his or her application for the 72-hour transit visa exemption via an airline company the next time because of such a breach.
7.In case a foreign national has entered China with the 72-hour transit visa exemption issued by the Capital Airport of Beijing, can he or she apply to leave China from an airport in Shanghai?
A foreign national with the 72-hour transit visa exemption is not allowed to leave the city where the stopover is permitted. Therefore, a foreign national obtaining the 72-hour transit visa exemption at the Capital Airport of Beijing shall leave China from the same airport in Beijing within the permitted time of stay and may not leave China from an airport in Shanghai.
8.Can a passenger enter China at the Beijing West Train Station and then leave by air within 72 hours?
This measure is currently available only at the airports of Beijing, which means the 72-hour transit visa exemption in Beijing is only applicable to a passenger obtaining it at the Beijing Capital Airport.
9.In case I have more questions concerning this measure, how can I ask for an answer?
You may make an inquiry with the border control authorities of the ports of entry in the eight cities or leave a message under the column of Asking Questions to the Police on the website of the Ministry of Public Security. Contact phone of the Beijing General Station of Immigration Inspection: 010-56095400; Contact phone of the Shanghai General Station of Immigration Inspection: 021-51105100; Website of the Ministry of Public Security: www.mps.gov.cn.
10.Will the 48-hour transit visa exemption by the Shanghai municipality for certain foreign nationals continue to apply?
The 48-hour transit visa exemption for certain foreign nationals by the Shanghai municipality ceases to apply as from the date of the 72-hour transit visa exemption coming into effect in Shanghai.