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How to visit China for 6 days, visa-free

Now normal visa services have resumed, so has the 144 hour transit visa for tourists hoping to check out China's major cities: there are some catches though – read on for the full list of permitted destinations

by Robynne Tindall
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Chinese visa

As of 15 March 2023, the Chinese government resumed its pre-Covid visa and entry policies for foreigners to China, reinstating tourist visas and other visas issued prior to the pandemic

The resumption of normal visa services includes China’s 144-hour visa-free transit policy, which allows foreign travellers transiting through the country to enjoy a six-day stay in certain Chinese cities without a visa.

Note that this is a transit visa, so it only applies to travellers flying into China from one country and flying out to another. For example, UK – Shanghai – Hong Kong would be a valid route under this policy, but UK – Shanghai – UK would not.

launchpad gateway

Where can you travel in China using the 144-hour visa-free transit?

Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province

Travellers to this region of China may enter and exit from any of the ports listed below and travel freely around the three regions during their 144-hour stay:
Beijing: Capital International Airport, Daxing International airport, Beijing West Railway Station (for trains from Hong Kong and Hanoi)
Tianjin: Binhai International Airport, Tianjin International Cruise Home Port
Hebei: Shijiazhuang: Zhengding International Airport
Hebei: Qinghuangdao: Qinhuangdao Beidaihe International Airport

Shanghai, Zhejiang Province and Jiangsu Province

Travellers to this part of China may enter and exit from any of the ports listed below and travel freely around the three regions during their 144-hour stay:
Shanghai: Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, Wusong Passenger Transport Center, and Shanghai Train Station
Hangzhou, Zhejiang: Hangzhou Xiaoshan Airport
Ningbo, Zhejiang: Ningbo Lishe Airport
Nanjing, Jiangsu: Nanjing Lukou Airport

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Guangdong Province

Only three airports in Guangdong can issue the 144-hour free transit visa: Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, Shenzhen Baoan International Airport, and Jieyang Chaoshan International Airport. Visitors can then travel freely throughout Guangdong Province and leave via any of the 32 entry/exit ports in Guangdong (land, sea and air).

Liaoning Province

Travellers to Liaoning Province may enter and exit from either of the ports listed below and travel freely around the region during their 144-hour stay.
Dalian: Zhoushuizi International Airport
Shenyang: Taoxian International Airport

Shandong Province

144-hour visitors arriving via Qingdao Liuting International Airport and Qingdao International Cruise Home Port are permitted to visit the whole of Shandong Province.

Chengdu and Sichuan Province

144-hour visitors arriving via Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport are permitted to visit Chengdu and 10 other cities in Sichuan Province: Leshan, Deyang, Suining, Meishan, Ya’an, Ziyang, Neijiang, Zigong, Luzhou and Yibin.


Visitors to Chongqing should enter and exit via Jiangbei International Airport.


144-hour visitors arriving into Kunming via Changshui International Airport must remain in Kunming city only, and are not permitted to travel in the wider Yunnan Province.


144-hour visitors arriving into Wuhan via Tianhe International Airport are allowed to remain in Wuhan city only, not the wider Hubei Province.


144-hour visitors arriving into Xi’an via Xianyang International Airport are allowed to visit the cities of Xi’an and Xiangyang in Shaanxi Province.


144-hour visitors arriving into Xiamen via Gaoqi International Airport, Xiamen Wutong Passenger Terminal and Xiamen International Cruise Centre Port are allowed to remain in Xiamen city only, not wider Fujian Province.

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Who is eligible for 144-hour visa-free transit?

Citizens of the following 53 countries can make use of the visa exemption:

  • Europe Schengen area: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
  • Other European countries: United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Monaco, Russia, and Belarus.
  • North and South America: United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Chile.
  • Oceania: Australia and New Zealand.
  • Asia and the Middle East: South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

What documents do you need to apply for 144-hour visa-free transit?

  • A passport valid for at least three months from the date of entry
  • An onward flight ticket to a third country or region (must be a direct flight out of China) with confirmed departure date and seat number
  • A completed arrival/departure card

Note: Visa requirements may be subject to change. Please check the website of the Embassy of China or the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre nearest to you for the most up-to-date guidance.

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