Shanghai 144-hour visa-free transit policy adopts online pre-application process

From 1 November 2018, foreigners visiting China’s Shanghai-Jiangsu-Zhejiang area are now able to benefit from the 144-hour Visa-Exemption Transit online application process. The Shanghai General Station of Immigration Inspection and Shanghai Exit and Entry Bureau of Shanghai Public Security Bureau collaboratively developed the online pre-application system for 144-hour visa exemption transit. The adoption of the online pre-application is to further optimise and upgrade the system, leading to a faster, more convenient immigration process for visiting foreigners. Below, we answer some basics question related to the 144-hour visa exemption in the Shanghai area.

What is the 144-hour visa-free transit policy?

The China 144-hour Transit Visa Exemption policy was launched on 30 January 2016. The policy allows passengers from 53 countries or regions to transit at select ports of entry for up to 144 hours (6 days) on their way to another country of destination without holding a pre-entry China travel visa. For those travelling to the Shanghai area, places of entry include 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 and Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport.

Which are the 53 eligible countries?

Among the 53 eligible counties or regions include:

    • 24 Schengen Agreement Countries — Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland
    • 15 other European Countries — Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia (FYROM), Albania, Belarus and Monaco
    • 6 countries from the Americas — the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile
    • 2 Oceania countries — Australia and New Zealand
  • 6 Asian countries — Korea (ROK), Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates and Qatar

Are there special conditions for the 144-hour visa-free transit programme?

Visitors seeking to take advantage of the 144-hour visa-free transit programme for a stopover in Shanghai are required to hold an onward ticket to a third country or region (including Hong Kong and Macau). For example, a traveller may choose a flight route that takes them from (a) the UK to (b) Shanghai and on to (c) Hong Kong as their final destination. From Hong Kong, they may return back to the UK via Shanghai. Here, it should be noted that visitors are prohibited from cancelling the onward ticket and rebooking a ticket directly to their return destination after arriving in Shanghai.

How are the 144 transit hours calculated?

The length of stay in transiting is calculated from 00:00 hours on the date of entry. for example, if you arrive at 15:00 (3pm) on any given date,  the remaining time of transit stay is 129 hours since 15 hours of the day of entry has already passed. In other words, the clock starts running at 00:00 on your arrival date, no matter which time you actually arrive.

Where are the valid areas of stay?

Visitors may only travel within the Shanghai-Jiangsu-Zhejiang province area (Shanghai is its own province). All visitors transiting are required to be temporarily registered at the local public security bureau. This may be done by yourself, but more likely, your hotel will take a copy of your passport and automatically register you. Under the registration system, travel outside the designated area is easily detected.

What are the required documents?

Visitors are required to hold a passport valid for at least three months from the entry date, a valid visa to the third country or region destination (if required) and tickets to the country or region with confirmed date and seat assignment.

How to apply online for the 144-hour visa-free transit pre-application?  

Prior to visiting the Shanghai-Jiangsu-Zhejiang area, visitors can complete a pre-application online on the Government Affairs of Exit-Entry Administration Bureau of Shanghai Public Security Bureau website by going to the URL address: and clicking on the box titled “144-Hour Visa Exemption Transit.” 

To apply, an applicant is required to submit personal information, their intended address in China, contact information, intended arrival and departure dates and their flight/vehicle/vessel number. Here, it should be noted that while visitors can travel to Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang as part of the 144-hour  the pre-application process is only available when arriving at Shanghai Pudong International Airport or Hongqiao International Airport.

Once the online application is submitted, a QR code will be generated for the applicant. When the visitor reaches the 144-hour Transit Visa Exemption area in Pudong or Hongqiao airport, the applicant shall scan the generated QR code and valid passport at the self-service kiosk. The self-service machine will print an arrival card for the visitor, which will then be inspected by an immigration officer along with the visitors onward ticket, passport and other necessary documents. From there, it’s happy travels in and around Shanghai.

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