Interpretation of 144-hour Visa-exemption Transit Policy
To support the construction of Shanghai Science and Technology Innovation Center, sanctioned by the State Council, Shanghai is to adopt a 144-hour visa-exemption transit policy (hereinafter shortened as ‘the policy’) concerning certain countries at certain domestic ports of entry. As the responsible exit-entry inspection authority to carry out this facilitative policy, the General Station of Shanghai Immigration Inspection would like to avail of the opportunity to answer some popular questions regarding it.
1.Q: Which ports of entry are involved in the policy?
A: A citizen from certain countries can transfer in China via any of the following ports of entry including Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal, Shanghai Railway Station, Nanjing Lukou International Airport, or Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport without a Chinese visa by producing his / her own valid international travel document and onward air / vessel / train ticket to a third country (region) with confirmed date and seat within 144 hours upon arrival, and can stay within the administrative precincts of Shanghai Municipality, Jiangsu Province and Zhejiang Province for 144 hours.
2.Q: Which countries are covered in the policy?
A: Currently, there are 51 countries and they are Albania, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America.
3.Q: If I am a passenger from one of the above-listed countries and travels by train from Hong Kong to Shanghai, before exiting China from Shanghai by air, can I tour around Jiangsu and Zhejiang Province first? Or If I fly from abroad to Shanghai, can I exit by cruise?
A: Yes, you can. As long as you have booked your onward air / vessel / train ticket to a third country (region) with confirmed date and seat within 144 hours upon arrival in China, you can enjoy the 144-hour visa-exemption transit policy entering China by air / vessel / train from some specific land, sea or air ports in Shanghai, or Lukou International Airport in Nanjing, or Xiaoshan International Airport in Hangzhou, and later leaving for a third country (region) from any of the above-listed ports of entry.
4.Q: What are the procedures an eligible foreign passenger needs to undergo to apply for 144-hour visa-exemption transit?
A: An eligible foreign passenger, while going through check-in procedures from abroad to travel to Shanghai or Lukou International Airport in Nanjing or Xiaoshan International Airport in Hangzhou by air / vessel / train, needs only to produce his / her own valid international travel document and onward air / vessel / train ticket to a third country (region) with confirmed date and seat to the carrier’s agent, and the carrier in turn will submit the passenger’ information to the corresponding immigration inspection station in China for examination. Once the latter confirms the passenger’ qualification, it will process the passenger’s application for 144-hour visa-exemption transit upon his / her arrival.
5.Q: Where should an eligible foreign passenger go within the exit-entry inspection area once he / she arrives at a port of entry in Shanghai?
A: The Shanghai immigration inspection authority has set up dedicated inspection lanes for 144-hour visa-exemption transit passengers within the entry inspection areas at all the ports of entry specified in the policy which include Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal, and Shanghai Railway Station. An eligible foreign passenger needs only to follow the signposts within the inspection areas to locate the dedicated lanes.
6.Q: As an eligible foreign passenger, what do I need to show the immigration officer for inspection while applying for 144-hour visa-exemption transit?
A: A foreign passenger eligible for the transit should provide the immigration officer with his / her own valid international travel document and onward air / vessel / train ticket to a third country (region) with confirmed date and seat within 144 hours upon arrival as well as arrival / departure cards filled out in detail, and should be ready to answer questions raised by immigration officers.
7.Q: When does the 144 hours of visa-exemption stay start?
A: After confirming his / her qualification for 144-hour visa-exemption transit, the immigration inspection station will issue the foreign passenger a temporary entry permit. Then from 00:00 of the next day upon his / her arrival in China, he / she can stay in the administrative precincts of Shanghai Municipality, Jiangsu Province and Zhejiang Province without a Chinese visa for 144 hours.
8.Q: Do the immigration inspection stations charge fees for the issuance of such temporary entry permits?
9.Q: Will I encounter any trouble when seeking accommodation at local hotels after entering China under the policy since I don’t have any Chinese visas?
A: According to relevant regulations in the Exit and Entry Administration Law of P.R.C., the immigration inspection station will issue a temporary entry permit to the foreign passenger whose application for 144-hour visa-exemption transit has been proved. The temporary entry permit, which takes the form of a stamp affixed to the passenger’s passport, features the deadline and the administrative areas for the holder’s stay in China, and an entry stamp will be affixed to the permit. With this temporary entry permit a foreign passenger can complete accommodation and stay registration.
10.Q: If, for some special reasons, a foreign passenger who has entered China under the policy needs to travel beyond Shanghai Municipality, Jiangsu Province or Zhejiang Province to some other cities in China, or cannot exit China within 144 hours, what is he / she supposed to do?
A: A foreign passenger who enters China under the policy is restricted to stay in three administrative precincts including Shanghai Municipality, Jiangsu Province and Zhejiang Province, and should exit China within the approved duration of stay. If, due to force majeure or some other reasons, such a passenger needs to stay longer than 144 hours in the above three administrative precincts, or travel beyond the restricted administrative precincts, he should apply for relevant stay permit to the corresponding provincial or municipal exit and entry administrative bureaus.
11.Q: If I am a citizen of Singapore, a country covered in both the 144-hour visa-exemption transit policy and the list of countries whose nationals can enter China without Chinese visas, what kind of immigration inspection procedures will I go through when traveling to China?
A: China implements a 15-day visa-exemption policy to citizens from Japan, Brunei and Singapore whose purposes of visit include tourism, business and transit. The immigration inspection authority will conduct entry immigration inspection procedures for transit passengers with ordinary passport from these three countries in compliance with the 15-day visa-exemption policy in order to facilitate their travel.
12.Q: If I already have a valid Chinese visa in my passport and also qualify for 144-hour visa-exemption transit, but I want to save my Chinese visa for a future visit to China, will my Chinese visa be used by the immigration inspection station when I apply for 144-hour visa-exemption transit?
A: No. For the foreign passenger who both qualifies for 144-hour visa-exemption transit and has valid Chinese visas, the immigration inspection station will prioritize the immigration inspection procedures for 144-hour visa-exemption transit. If, however, the duration of his / her stay in China exceeds 144 hours, the immigration inspection station will, at the passenger’s request, conduct entry procedures for him / her using his / her Chinese visa.
13.Q: If I, an Australian citizen, plan to travel from Sydney to Shanghai and then back to Melbourne by air, can I apply for 144-hour visa-exemption transit?
A: The policy requires that a foreign passenger book his / her onward air / vessel / train tickets with confirmed seat in advance and leave China within 144 hours for a third country or region, and therefore it is our suggestion that you change your flight ticket to Melbourne to one bound for a third country or region such as Hong Kong, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, and return to Melbourne afterwards. Such an arrangement will enable you to meet the requirements for 144-hour visa-exemption transit.
14.Q: If a foreign passenger who has entered China under the policy stays beyond the approved duration of stay, will he / she be punished when exiting China?
A: If the immigration inspection station, when conducting departure procedures for such a foreign passenger, discovers that the passenger has stayed beyond the approved duration of stay, he / she shall be punished according to relevant regulations stipulated in the Exit and Entry Administration Law of P.R.C..
15.Q: If I wish to learn more about the 144-hour visa-exemption transit policy, what are the channels available for further inquiries?
A: You are welcome to visit the official website (http://sh-immigration.gov.cn/default.aspx) or official Weibo (micro-blog) of the General Station of Shanghai Immigration Inspection for related information on exit and entry policies, or you can telephone the General Station of Shanghai Immigration Inspection or corresponding immigration inspection stations at the ports of entry where you plan to enter China. The hotline of the General Station of Shanghai Immigration Inspection is 0086-21-51105100. We are dedicated to providing you with information inquiry service on exit and entry policies.