Foreign Visitors Can Enjoy 72 Hour Visa-Free Stay in Beijing and Shanghai

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Jan. 16 – From January 1, 2013, foreign visitors in China from 45 countries can enjoy a 72 hour visa-free stay in Beijing and Shanghai.

Tourists entering China with visas and departing plane tickets for another country can now apply for “transit without visa” at Beijing International Airport. The same policy also applies to Shanghai, where visitors can submit such applications at Pudong International Airport and Hongqiao International Airport.

However, for foreign visitors applying for transit at Beijing International Airport, they are only allowed to stay in Beijing during the 72 hours, and have to depart from the capital city. The same applies in Shanghai, where visitors have to stay within the city and must exit from the same airport through which they entered.

Currently, the policy does not extend to many of China’s neighboring countries including India, Pakistan, Mongolia and Vietnam. Countries that are entitled to the policy are listed below:

  • Argentina
  • Austria
  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

You can stay up to date with the latest business and investment trends across China by subscribing to The China Advantage, our complimentary update service featuring news, commentary, guides, and multimedia resources.

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4 thoughts on “Foreign Visitors Can Enjoy 72 Hour Visa-Free Stay in Beijing and Shanghai

    Avi Chaudhuri says:

    Is it strictly 72 hours, or 3 days. My stay is technically 75 hours. Will I be denied the visa upon arrival if they want to look at my departing flight?

    @Avi – it says 72 hours, so abide by that. You could get away with it – but if you don’t, they’ll fine you, and possibly put you on a black list for future visa issuance. It’s not worth the risk. I’d suggest bringing you flight forward a few hours so you remain within the 72 hour regulation. – Chris

    dileepa rathnaweera says:

    i want to know i work in uae iam from srilanka one time i went china this year April eny chance to go again china without documents.

    @Dileepa – you can stay in Beijing, Shanghai and now Chengdu for up to 72 hours visa free. For longer, you need a visa. You can apply at the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka (it’s in Colombo) here:
    Best wishes – Chris

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