Not all foreign nationals require a visa for short visits, but which countries can travel to China without a visa? Countries on China’s visa-exempt list can have their citizens travel to China and stay for a short period, even if they don’t have a visa.
All they need is to bring their passports and a few other documents. This article reviews the list of countries that qualify for China’s visa exemption and the number of visa-free days allowed under each category.
15 days Visa Free Exemptions
The 15-day visa-free exemption is open to Brunei, Japan, and Singapore citizens. If you are from any of these countries to can visit and stay in China for two weeks and a day without a visa. People from these countries can enter China through any of the ports open to foreigners. They can also visit the commercial capital, Shanghai, the economic Capital, Beijing, and any city of their choice in Mainland China. However, note that this exemption is for only ordinary passport holders and is open to tourists, those coming for business engagements, or visiting family or friends in the country.
Alternatively, there is a special visa for Bruneians, Singaporeans, and Japanese who may want to stay for more than 15 days for any reason.
72 Hour Visa Free Exemptions
The 72-hour or visa-free exemption is open to citizens of 53 countries. Some countries on this list include the US, UK, Canada, Germany, Greece, Finland, New Zealand, Italy, Iceland, and Hungary. The visa is accepted only at specific entry ports, and you can only visit the city you land in. In all, 22 cities travelers with this exemption can visit, including Tinjian, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Qingdao, Harbin, Dalian, Shenyang, and Changsha, to mention a few.
The 72 hour visa free exemption was launched on the 1st of January, 2013, and has remained active since then. Under this policy, you are permitted to stay in any 22 approved cities for three days without a visa as long as you come from an eligible country. However, you must exit China using the same entry port you came through.
144-Hour Visa Exemptions
The 144-hour visa exemption is open to nationals from 53 countries, including the UK, Canada, the US, New Zealand, Australia, etc. This exemption allows nationals from approved countries to stay in China for up to 6 days, but they must enter China through specified ports. The good thing about this exemption is that visitors can visit any part of the region they land in. So far, so good; the 144-hour exemption has been allowed for 20 cities in China as far back as 2019. This exemption allows the visitor to connect to a third country from any of these locations as long as they can show evidence of confirmed tickets.
The updated rule gives travelers greater flexibility and convenience to tour tourist hotspots for a while before continuing their trip to their destination. The first cities approved for the 144 transit visa free policies were Nanjing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou at the Yangtze River Delta in 2016; as time passed, the government added more cities.
The port of entry and exit for this visa exemption is for international flight to Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport, Shanghai International Airport, Beijing Capital International airport, Shanghai Railway Station, Shanghai Port Cruise Terminal, Ningbo Lishe International Airport, and Nanjing Lukou
Visitors can also stay in Shenzhen, Ningbo, Nanjing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Jinhua, and any city in Zhejiang and Jiangsu Provinces.
Other Visa Exemptions
Besides the above visa free transit exemptions available to nationals from eligible countries, you also have the 30-90 day exemptions open to more than 80 countries in total, including Pakistan, India, all EU countries, and some Latin American countries like Argentina. There are special conditions for visitors from these countries, and it is granted on multiple grounds.
Visa exemptions can be activated by a visitor once they show up at the right entry port. To avoid deportation, you need to do the following
Do a detailed check to ensure that you can travel to China without a visa
Check for the exemption you qualify for
Check for the approved entry ports and the cities you can visit
Check for the number of days you are allowed to stay without a visa
Check if you qualify for an extension
If you realize that you don’t qualify for an exemption, the next step is to apply for a visa to China. Knowing which countries can travel to China without a visa is the only way to avoid flouting the immigration laws of China. Lastly, avoid overstaying or visiting parts of the country you are not eligible for under the exemption you enjoy.