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Visa-Free Transit in Shanghai for Up to 144 Hours

Since January 30, 2016, Shanghai and some cities nearby allows travelers from 53 countries to stay in certain cities for up to 144 hours (6 days) without applying for a Chinese travel visa to experience local culture and life.  You can enjoy a journey in China easier. China Travel has listed here the most important information you may need for planning a short trip to China.

Which countries are covered in the policy?

53 countries are included in the policy:

Americas (6 countries): United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Chile

Europe (39 countries): Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Monaco, and Belarus

Oceania (2 countries): Australia and New Zealand

Asia (6 countries): South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar

Which ports of entry are involved in the policy?

  • Shanghai: Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal, Shanghai Railway Station
  • Jiangsu: Nanjing Lukou International Airport
  • Zhejiang: Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport, Ningbo Lishe International Airport (since 1 December 2019)

Meeting the Qualifying Criteria

1. You must be in transit to a third country or region (Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are included among possible third regions). For example, USA–Shanghai–Taiwan is acceptable for a 144-hour transit visa in Shanghai, but USA–Shanghai–USA is not.

2. Your transit time is no more than 144 hours (from the first 00:00 hrs after you enter).

3. You enter and leave from one of the eligible ports of entry. Your arrival port and departure port can be different. For example, you can arrive in Shanghai and leave from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.

4. You can travel around Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang within 144 hours but you are not permitted to go to other provincial level areas in China.

  • Please check through the official website (http://gaj.sh.gov.cn/crj/144zy.jsp) if you are still not sure whether you are eligible for the visa-exemption transit policy or not.

How to calculate the 144 Hours?

On arrival at one of the entry points, eligible foreign passengers will be issued a temporary entry permit by immigration officials. The 144 hours starts from 00:00 hrs immediately following the time of entry. Passengers can stay in Shanghai Municipality, Jiangsu Province and Zhejiang Province without a Chinese visa for up to 144 hours from then.

  • For example, if you enter Shanghai at 6am on June 1st, 2016, your permissible stay period starts counting down from 00:00 on June 2nd and you can stay until 23:59 on June 7th. So you may actually stay longer than 144 (but still less than 168) hours, depending on arrival and departure times.

What Documents Necessary for 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit?

  • Valid international travel documents (including passport) and onward air/boat/train tickets to a third country (region), with confirmed date and seat within 144 hours of the first 00:00 hrs after arrival.
  • Visa for a third country/region (if needed)
  • Arrival and departure cards (completely filled in)

144-Hour Transit in 6 Steps

1. Inform your carrier agent that you wish to use a 144-hour visa-free transit at the check-in.
2. Submit the arrival and departure card form.
3. Locate the dedicated lanes for 144-hour visa-exemption transit passengers within the entry inspection areas after arrival.
4. Show your tickets, passport, and China arrival card to the immigration officer for inspection and tell to them you wish to transit without a visa.
5. After clearing immigration, claim your luggage and go through customs as normal.
6. Departure from a designated port before midnight on the sixth full day. There is nothing different from leaving China normally. Hand over your completed departure card at the security inspection.

Interpretation of 15-Day Visa-Exemption Policy for Foreign Tour Groups Entering Shanghai by Cruise

Shanghai has implemented a 15-day visa-exemption policy for foreign tour groups entering China by cruise from Shanghai since Oct 1, 2016.
Eligible passengers who hold valid international travel documents allowed staying in China for not more than 15 days which starts counting from the next day upon arrival.

Upon get 15-day visa-free entry, passengers not only allowed to visit Shanghai, but also to visit other destinations which including Beijing, Tianjin, Liaoning Province, Hebei Province, Shandong Province, Jiangsu Province, Zhejiang Province, Fujian Province, Guangdong Province, Hainan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

What’s the Qualifying Criteria?

Passenger who want to get 15-day visa-free entry need to meet the relevant qualifying criteria as following:

1. Hold valid international travel documents and enter China from Shanghai by cruise at Shanghai Port International Passenger Terminal or Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal and later exit China with the same cruise ship.
2. Enroll in a tour group of 2 or more members organized by a travel agency legally registered in Chinese Mainland.

Possible Arrival Points in Shanghai

  • Shanghai Pudong International Airport: About 47 km (31 miles) from the city center. Buses, metros and taxis are all available and convenient.
  • Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport: About 13 km (10 miles) from the city center. Buses, metros and taxis are available and convenient.
  • Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal: Very close to the city center, near the Bund.  
  • Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal: About 40 km (26 miles) from the city center. Taxis are available.
  • Shanghai Railway Station: In the city center. Buses, metros and taxis are all available and convenient.

Take a Visa-Free Transit Tour with China Travel

We can help you to create a 144-hour visa-free tour to make the best of your time and meet your interests. Here are two tours we recommend for your inspiration: