Foreign travelers transiting through China have several options for transit visa exemptions. These transit visa exemptions allow eligible foreign travelers a visa free visit for 24, 72, or 144 hours.
Although requirements for each transit visa exemption are different, each transit visa exemption stipulates that foreign travelers are only eligible when traveling through China between two different countries. Further, onward travel must occur within 24, 72, or 144 hours of arrival.
To obtain a transit visa exemption, travelers should review eligibility requirements, and confirm their eligibility with their local Chinese embassy. After confirmation, travelers must communicate their intention to obtain a transit visa exemption to their airline prior to travel. The airline will liaise with border control officials, who grant transit visa exemptions to travelers that meet requirements after verification.
In most cases, the transit visa exemption only allows the traveler to visit the province of their arrival.
The 24 hour Transit Visa Exemption
Foreign travelers transiting through China within 24 hours to reach another country of destination may be eligible for a 24 hour Transit Visa Exemption. This visa exemption is available to all foreigners, and most ports of entry in China.
The 72 hour Transit Visa Exemption
Foreign travelers transiting through China within 72 hours to reach another country of destination may be eligible for the 72 hour Transit Visa Exemption. This visa exemption is only available to citizens of participating countries traveling through participating ports of entry in China.
To obtain this visa exemption, the foreign national must have a valid passport from one of the 53 countries, which includes:
- 24 Schengen countries in Europe (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland);
- 15 other European countries (Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Macedonia, Monaco, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, UK, and Ukraine);
- Six countries in North and South America (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, and US);
- Six Asian countries (Brunei, Japan, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, and UAE); and,
- Two Oceanic countries (Australia and New Zealand).
Further, eligible travelers must be transiting through one of the following 19 cities: Beijing, Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Guangzhou, Guilin, Hangzhou, Harbin, Kunming, Nanjing, Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Wuhan, Xiamen, or Xi’an.
Notably, authorities continue to expand the list of cities where 72 hour Transit Visa Exemptions are applicable.
The 144 hour Transit Visa Exemption
Foreign travelers transiting through China within 144 hours to reach another country of destination may be eligible for the 144 hour Transit Visa Exemption. This visa exemption is available to citizens of countries that are eligible for the 72 hour Transit Visa Exemption; however, the number of paticipating cities is more limited.
To obtain this visa exemption, the foreign national must have a valid passport from one of the 53 countries that are eligible for the 72 hour Transit Visa Exemption. The 144 hour Transit Visa Exemption was first introduced to three cities in East China’s Shanghai-Jiangsu-Zhejiang area: Hangzhou, Shanghai, and Nanjing. As of December 28, 2017, the exemption was expanded to North China’s Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, namely: Beijing, Shijiazhuang, Tianjin, and Qinhuangdao.
Authorities have announced that the visa exemption will be expanded to South China’s Guangdong province, in the cities of Guangzhou, Jieyang, and Shenzhen.
This article was originally published on September 6, 2017 and has been updated with the latest regulatory changes.
China Briefing is published by Asia Briefing, a subsidiary of Dezan Shira & Associates. We produce material for foreign investors throughout Asia, including ASEAN, India, Indonesia, Russia, the Silk Road, and Vietnam. For editorial matters please contact us here, and for a complimentary subscription to our products, please click here.
Dezan Shira & Associates is a full service practice in China, providing business intelligence, due diligence, legal, tax, IT, HR, payroll, and advisory services throughout the China and Asian region. For assistance with China business issues or investments into China, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at www.dezshira.com
Dezan Shira & Associates is a pan-Asia, multi-disciplinary professional services firm, providing legal, tax and operational advisory to international corporate investors. Operational throughout China, ASEAN and India, our mission is to guide foreign companies through Asia’s complex regulatory environment and assist them with all aspects of establishing, maintaining and growing their business operations in the region. This brochure provides an overview of the services and expertise Dezan Shira & Associates can provide.
This Dezan Shira & Associates 2017 China guide provides a comprehensive background and details of all aspects of setting up and operating an American business in China, including due diligence and compliance issues, IP protection, corporate establishment options, calculating tax liabilities, as well as discussing on-going operational issues such as managing bookkeeping, accounts, banking, HR, Payroll, annual license renewals, audit, FCPA compliance and consolidation with US standards and Head Office reporting.
In this issue of China Briefing magazine, we provide foreign investors with best practices for implementing internal controls in China. We explain what makes China’s internal control environment distinct, and why China-based operations need to prioritize internal control. We then outline how to execute an internal control review to gauge organizational resiliency and identify gaps in control points, and introduce practical internal controls for day-to-day operations. Finally, we explore why ERP systems are becoming increasingly integral to companies’ internal control regimes.