Are you planning a trip which has a layover in China? You may think whether you need a transit visa in China? This is the question frequently asked by many travelers who are going to transit in China and continue to fly to a third country.

A Chinese transit visa (G visa), is issued to a foreign citizen who intends to transit through mainland China for a short-time to a destination country and will stay at a Chinese airport for more than 24 hours or will need to leave the airport.

Visa-free Transit

There are 3 types of transit without a visa: 24-hour, 72-hour, and 144-hour. These all come with separate procedures. The rule of thumb is that the only visa policy that allows crossing regions is the 24-hour visa policy. Unfortunately, the Chinese international air hubs of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou are all in different regions so if you need to cross between any of these, you can only use a 24-hour visa free transit. 72-hour transit and 144-hour transit are granted on a city or regional basis, meaning you won’t be able to leave the region that you initially fly into, and are allowed for only for passport holders from certain countries

24-Hour Transit China without a Visa (TWOV)

For foreigners who have booked seats on international airlines, ships or trains transiting through China to a third country, if the stay is less than 24 hours, they can enjoy the 24-hour visa-free transit. The 24-hour direct transit facility benefits almost all countries and is available in most China ports. In other words, if you are transiting through China, and your connecting flight is within 24 hours, you won’t need a transit visa for China.

Also Read: Tips to get China Visa for Indians

Those who transfer in more than one city of China within 24 hours can also enjoy this policy. For instance, if one’s trip is Moscow – Lanzhou – Guangzhou – Bangkok and the total time in China is less than 24 hours, the passenger can still enjoy the 24-hour direct transit. But the passenger needs to apply for the temporary entry permit upon his arrival. Also, if you fly into Beijing but leave from Shanghai, you are allowed to do so without a visa as long as you leave within 24-hours which would not be permitted on one of the longer duration TWOV. You do not, however, need to travel between regions.


The validity of the G visa is three (3) months, the duration of stay is generally seven (7) days

Documents required for the China Transit Visa application

  • Passport with validity of at least 6 months
  • Photographs
  • Visa Application form
  • Air ticket & Visa for the final destination

*Please note Consular officers may request an applicant to provide additional supporting documents.

Processing Time:

The normal processing time is 4 working days. The Chinese Visa Application Center also provides express and rush service for those requiring the China visa urgently. Under the express service, applicants can expect to get their visa within 24 hours.

Please be advised to apply for a visa about one month in advance of the intended date of entry into China. The applicant is held responsible for any consequences resulting from the failure to submit visa application at an appropriate time, which may lead to either the issued visa becoming expired or it would be too late to get a visa before the intended entry date.

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