China has recently announced a new policy that allows citizens from 53 countries to apply for a 72/144-hour transit visa exemption in China.
China’s Regional Visa-free Entry Policy: Easing Entry for Tourists in Key Regions
During the “Golden Week” holiday, China introduced regional visa exemptions as part of a broader effort to promote high-quality tourism development, offering a simplified entry process for tourists from specific regions. According to the official website of the National Immigration Administration of China, the specific measures can be summarized as follows:
1. Shanghai Introduces 15-Day Visa-Free Entry for Foreign Tour Groups Arriving by Cruise Ships
Foreign tour groups, consisting of two or more individuals, organized and received by travel agencies registered within China, can enter Shanghai via cruise ports without the need for visas. These tour groups must remain together as a whole during their cruise itinerary activities and exit as a group as well. This visa exemption is applicable within specific coastal provinces and Beijing, including cities in Shanghai, Liaoning, Hebei, Tianjin, Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hainan, with a maximum stay of 15 days.
2. Hainan Offers 30-Day Visa-Free Entry for Citizens of 59 Countries
Citizens of 59 designated countries, including Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Norway, Ukraine, Italy, Austria, Finland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, the UAE, Qatar, Monaco, and Belarus, can enter Hainan without a visa. The entry is permitted through invitations from travel agencies, organizational invitations, or personal applications. Entry and exit are limited to Hainan’s open ports, with a maximum stay of 30 days.
3. Guilin Launches 144-Hour Visa-Free Entry for ASEAN Tourist Groups
Guilin, located in China’s Guangxi region, has introduced a visa-free entry policy for tourist groups from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Tourist groups comprising two or more individuals from ASEAN countries, including Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Brunei, and the Philippines, can enter China via Guilin Airport without obtaining a visa. This policy is limited to the city of Guilin, and travelers must enter and exit through Guangxi’s open ports in Guilin. The maximum stay allowed is 144 hours, equivalent to 6 days, and the entry and exit should be done as a group.
4. Foreign Tour Groups Can Enjoy 144-Hour Visa-Free Entry to Guangdong from Hong Kong and Macao
Citizens from countries with diplomatic ties to China can now enter the Greater Bay Area and Shantou in mainland China for tourism without a visa. They must be part of a tour group organized by registered travel agencies in Hong Kong or Macao, with a group size of two or more individuals. This visa exemption allows a maximum stay of 144 hours, equivalent to six days, in cities including Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhaoqing, Shenzhen, Dongguan, Huizhou, Zhuhai, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, and Shantou. Entry and exit must occur via designated open ports, and travel must be conducted as a group.
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Requirements for visa exemption
To be eligible for the 72/144-hour visa exemption, individuals must meet the following criteria:
- Citizenship: Travelers must be citizens of countries within the 72/144-hour transit visa exemption program.
- Valid International Travel Document: Travelers should hold a valid international travel document with a minimum validity of three months and meet the entry requirements for a third country or region.
- Proof of Transit: Depending on the desired transit duration, travelers must possess a confirmed connecting flight ticket to a third country or region within 72/144 hours. They also need to complete a temporary entry card for foreign visitors and be prepared to undergo questioning by immigration and customs authorities.
Measures to Enhance Tourism Services and Entry Procedures
China is taking significant steps to enhance its appeal as a tourist destination by simplifying entry procedures and improving services for international travelers. These measures include streamlining visa services for inbound tourists, expanding transit visa policies for citizens of 53 countries, introducing regional visa exemptions in areas like Shanghai, Hainan, Guilin, and the Greater Bay Area, and simplifying customs and immigration procedures for cruise ships. These initiatives collectively create a more traveler-friendly environment, making China more accessible and attractive to foreign visitors.