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How To Visit China With A Transit Visa

By Natasha Cohen18/07/2023 Living in China, Tourism

You might already know that there are several different kinds of visas for visiting China as a foreigner. Whether you’re a tourist, visiting family, intending to work in China or visiting for diplomatic or service purposes, there’s a different visa for each reason.

But did you know that there’s also a visa specifically for short transits through the country?

If you’re on your travels and are just planning on stopping over in China for a few days, you can consider getting a transit visa. This visa is valid for 144 hours (six days), and you can apply for it when you arrive at any eligible port (airport, seaport or train station) in China. It’s super handy if you’d like to have a longer stopover on your travels but don’t have enough time to make a whole holiday out of it.

There are a few conditions with the transit visa to bear in mind. One of the more obvious ones is that you’ll need proof that you’re travelling through China in order to get to another country, rather than just travelling to China. This means showing a connecting ticket from your starting destination to a third country or region, with China being the connecting country.

You must also have a passport valid for at least three months from your arrival date in China from one of 53 countries eligible for the transit visa:

Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, 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, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.

You also can’t use this visa to travel to absolutely any place or airport in China. But many of the biggest, most well-known cities accept it, and there are lots more great places you can visit with this visa too – from bustling Beijing to the island of Qingdao. There are several ports across China covering multiple areas (some single cities like Kunming, some whole provinces like Liaoning) where you can apply for the transit visa and then explore. And as well as needing to enter China through one of these ports, you’ll also need to exit through one. Here is the full list of areas and ports in China where foreigners can apply for the 144-hour transit visa. 

Chinese Visa Info 2023Chinese Visa Info 2023 - 2

If you’re interested in exploring Asia, this is a great opportunity to add China to the list without having to apply for a full tourist (L) visa. And if you’re particularly interested in learning Mandarin, why not combine it with a trip to Taiwan?

If you’re looking to study in China with Lingoinn, we offer different programmes to suit your needs and guide you through the visa process. If you enrol on a homestay learning programme with us, you’ll be applying for a tourist visa (which we have a little information about here). And if you’d like to enrol onto our internship programme, you’ll need the X2 study visa. Unlike the 144-hour transit visa, you’ll need your passport to be valid for at least six months. But don’t worry – we offer our students help with visa applications.

Interested in learning Chinese in China or Taiwan (or both) while living in the home of a qualified language teacher? Lingoinn currently offers 12 fantastic locations. You can also take a look at how we tailor our programmes to you on our Services page.

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