How to Visit China for a Long Weekend: The 72 Hour Transit Visa

China skyline at night. 72 hour transit visa
How to visit China with the 72 hour visa on arrival.

Visiting China got a whole lot easier with the introduction of a 72 hour transit visa which is now rolled out across 14 participating cities for visitors from 51 different nations.

Spending a long weekend in China is now a possibility for many visitors travelling through China. This visa is perfect for those travelling to Hong Kong, Macau, or onwards to other international locations.

Visa-free travel

If you are from the following list of countries you can get a 72-hour visa for transit through the region:

European/Schengen 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-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia (FYROM), Albania

American Countries: The United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina & Chile

Oceaniac Countries: Australia & New Zealand

Asian Countries: Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates & Qatar

Travel onwards out of China

Some things to note about the requirements:

  • You must be travelling onwards out of China afterwards (Hong Kong & Macau count for visa purposes.)
  • You must leave by the same airport you arrived.

The 72 hour transit visa can be used when arriving in the following locations: Beijing, Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Guangzhou, Guilin, Hangzhou, Harbin, Kunming, Nanjing, Qingdao, Shenyang, Tianjin, Wuhan, Xiamen and Xian.

Shanghai, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, and Guangdong have implemented a 144 hour transit visa, giving you even longer to explore these locations.

Other Things to Note

This visa option opens up many Chinese destinations for layovers. Chinese airlines are capitalising on this and there are some excellent deals to be found for global travel through China. Some airports even offer free hotel stays for longer layovers.

Proof of an onward ticket is required, and the 72 hours starts from 0:00 the day following the entry date in all airports except Beijing, where the 72 hours begins from the scheduled arrival time of the flight.

In most locations, you must stay within the city limits, so this visa is not suitable for multi-destination travel or travel outside of the intended city.

Read on for our 72 hours in…blog series.

One thought on “How to Visit China for a Long Weekend: The 72 Hour Transit Visa

  1. Wow, this is a great idea! I have a lot of travel plans and could easily slip in a short visit without having to get a visa now! Great news!

    Enjoy the journey!

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