72 hour Visa free transit at China

This type of visa basically, allows a visitor on transit to another country with the proper documents and tickets to visit the entry city for the given 72 hour visa-free. Now 72 hour is not a lot, sure, but it might be an alternative for some with the proper planning, that don’t want to hassle with the normal Chinese tourist visa, or for people who wants to briefly visit China and this fits their travel planning.

Most notable airports to do this are Beijing and Shanghai. Because the number of international flights this cities carry out.

72 hour visa free transit in china


  • Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK).
  • Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG).
  • Hongqiao International Airport (SHA).
  • Guangzhou Baiyun Airport (CAN) .
  • Chengdu Shuangliu Airport (CTU).
  • Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport (CKG).
  • Shenyang Taoxian International Airport (SHE).
  • Dalian International Airport (DLC).
  • Xian Xianyang International Airport (XIY).
  • Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (KWL).
  • Kunming Changshui International Airport (KMG).
  • Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport (HGH).
  • Wuhan Tianhe International Airport (WUH).
  • Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport (XMN).



According to the regulations of Ministry of Public Security of China, visitors who meet ALL the following requirements could apply for the visa-free transit:


  • Holding passports issued by the following listed 51 countries.
  • Holding valid international travel documents (Passport).
  • Qualified for the entry requirements of their third destination country (next country visa if needed).
  • Holding valid onward airline tickets with confirmed seat. Entry and departure must be from the same airport.
  • Basically you must actually be in transit and you must be connecting to a third country.


72-hour Visa-free Transit Policy is valid for passport holders from the following countries:

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


03. how to get your china transit visa

  • 1. Inform the airlines when boarding at check-in counter.
  • 2. Fill an Arrival/Departure Card on the flight.
  • 3. Apply the 72-hour permit at the airport counter.
  • 4. Claim the luggage.
  • 5. Go through the custom.
  • 6. Leave airport.

You must not forget you cannot leave the entry/departure city of choice.

Confirm with the desk at check-in is important step to avoid later on confusions, remain calm, and explain everything to avoid future misunderstanding.

At the airport you should use the D/P lane, or diplomatic lane.

And as always, allow enough time to do all the procedures.

72 hour visa free transit in china (2)



04. planning ahead your 72 hours

So… 72 hours. That’s 3 days or doing the tourist thing, right?. Well yes and no. First i would be impressed if your connecting flights departs exactly on the number 72 hour, so there’s the first part where you should do your homework, plan ahead carefully.

Secondly, you must allow enough time to get from at to the airport, lets be generous and add a total of 8 hours. 4 for each time of preparing and going. Dont be stingy here, you really don’t want miss your flight.


05. example NUMBER 1

Let’s use a real test to check if this is doable in practice.

testing the 72 hour visa free

Courtesy of momondo

I used momondo.com for this little test. Assume we depart from Paris (CDG) stop over at Peking international airport, and 68 hours after we depart to Tokyo. We arrive at 12:25 pm. After passing customs, getting ur passport stamped, picking your luggage and reaching the city. U might arrive at your hotel as late as 3 or 4 pm.

So what you have left:

  • Day number 1 (20 July), half day, afternoon. 8 hours.
  • Day number 2,(21 July), full day. 24 hour.
  • Day number 3,(22 July), full day. 24 hour.
  • Day number 4,(23 July), half day. 8 hours.

Total time: 64 hour.

On Beijing, the planning for this 72 hour could go like this:

  • Day 1 afternoon, Shopping and eating snacks at Wangfujing street , or visiting Tian’tan temple (temple of heaven), if time allows.
  • Day 2. Great wall, and shopping in the afternoon.
  • Day 3. Tian’anmen Square and Forbidden city.
  • Day 4. Sleep a few hours and departure.

Now, i reckon this is doable. But certainly tiring.



Lax-Sha-BKK for this example.

72 hour visa free china

72 hour stop over at (SHA) airport visa free.

Here we depart from Los Angeles, destination Bangkok. Arriving 3 NOV at 5:30 PM, you might reach Shanghai by 8 PM, if not more. Day 5 NOV leaving in the evening as well.

  • Day 1 (3 nov). Go though customs and get stamped around 6 PM. 8 hours.
  • Day 2 (4 nov). Full day. 24 hours.
  • Day 3 (5 nov). Departing at 9:30 PM. 21 hours.

Total time 53 hours.

Your schedule could go on something like this:

  • Day 1. Evening walk at the Bund.
  • Day 2. Yu yuan garden. Shanghai bazaar, french concession.
  • Day 3. Visit Xintian di, Nanjing street. Departure.

You don’t need as much time in Shanghai as you would need in Beijing, so this makes sense and it’s a lovely 3 days with plenty to see and enjoy.

You can use a hours calculator clicking just here.



This visa is fairly new, and a complete stranger visa to many. Even some airport staff might be confused about this visa so is important to make yourself understood. Now i am pretty sure this visa is going to keep changing over time. Just in the 2 years is been implemented Chinese government, has already faced some changes, like for example they have expanded the number of countries that can benefit from this free visa.

Only in part this transit visa could be considered as an alternative to the normal 30 day tourist L type china visa, (which can be a real pain in the a** to obtain and process). Because 72 hour is truly not enough to view a city like Shanghai or Beijing, in full. And you will always have the i’m-on-a-rush feel, but it’s a excellent alternative if you main plan was to visit another country and booking the flight tickets like this you get it actually cheaper.

You can check more info in these external links:





PS: At Shanghai the 72 hour period has been extended to 148 hour. So now it’s possible to visit Shanghai 148 hours visa-free.

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