Since January 30, 2016, the visa-free transit time for staying in Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang has been extended from 72 hours to 144 hours, which means you can visit most attractions in or near Shanghai (water towns such as Zhouzhuang, Tongli or Xitang and cities such as Suzhou or Hangzhou) without applying for a visa to China.
Which Countries Are on the Visa-Free Transit Policy List?
Tourists holding passports from the following 53 countries are eligible for visa-free transit:
The Americas (6 countries): USA, 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, Monago, and Belarus
Asia-Pacific (8 countries): Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar
Where to Apply for Visa-Free Transit?
Shanghai: Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal, Shanghai Railway Station
Zhejiang Province: Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport
Jiangsu Province: Nanjing Lukou International Airport
How to Apply for Visa-Free Transit?
1. You must present a passport from at least one of the 53 countries above.
2. You enter and leave from one of the eligible ports listed above. Your arrival port and departure port can be different. For example, you can arrive in Shanghai and leave from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.
3. Show the official at your point of entry your train, plane or ship ticket departing to another country and the official will apply for visa-free transit for you. Please note that the visa-free transit policy does not apply to those who make round trips. For example, US to China to UK is ok. US to China to US is not.
4. You still need to fill in an immigration card and undergo security inspection.
Please note that the visa-free transit policy is only valid in Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang. If you want to travel to other parts of China, you have to apply for a visa.
If you are still not sure if you are eligible to apply for a 144-hour visa-free transit or not, please check through its official website (https://gaj.sh.gov.cn/crj/144zy.jsp).
How to Calculate the 144 Hours?
You will receive an entry permit after applying successfully for the visa-free transit. The 144 hours will start at the next 0:00 hrs. For example, if you get the entry permit on June 1st, the 144 hours will start at 0:00 hrs on June 2nd. During those 144 hours, you can travel to any place in Shanghai, Jiangsu or Zhejiang without a visa.