Virginia, US

Dec 12 2018

Transit Visa Exemption to be Expanded


The situation

The 144-hour transit visa exemption will be expanded to designated major air, sea and rail ports in the cities of Chengdu, Kunming, Qingdao, Wuhan and Xiamen starting January 1, 2019. Qualified travelers will be able to enter visa-free and stay in China during the allowed period.

A closer look

  • Eligibility. To be eligible for the program, the applicant must be a national of the 53 allowable countries and must have a valid travel document and a connecting flight to a third country.
  • Registration required. Travelers who qualify under the program must complete a Temporary Residence Registration within 24 hours of entry into China.
  • Restriction. There are restrictions on the administrative area where foreign nationals can stay during the 144-hour stay under this program.



The transit visa-free program was initially launched in 2013 and, at the time, allowed for a 72-hour stay. Since then, the program has been expanded to 144 hours, to more nationalities and to more locations in China. The program is currently available in the following locations: Beijing, Hebei Province, Jiangsu Province, Liaoning Province, Shandong Province, Shanghai, Tianjin, Xiamen and Zhejiang Province.

A similar transit visa exemption program is also available in Mexico for select nationalities.

Looking ahead

Interested travelers should contact their Fragomen professional for case-specific advice.

Fragomen will continue to monitor the progress of the policy and provide updates as needed.

Fragomen in China is Fragomen (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., operating exclusively as an immigration consultancy and not as a law firm in China. This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].