You will need to obtain a ‘temporary entry permit’ at your port of transit to enter china for a 144-hour stay. Picture used for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: zhang kaiyv/Pexels

Dubai: Are you transiting via China to go to a third country from the UAE? Or do you want to visit China but never got around to starting the visa application process? Then, you should know that you can make a 144-hour visa-free transit there, under certain circumstances.

According to the National Immigration Administration of China, you will instead need to obtain a ‘temporary entry permit’ at your port of transit to enter China, by following these two steps:

1. Check your eligibility.

You must fulfill these conditions to be eligible for the 144-hour ‘temporary entry permit’:

- You are a citizen from one of these 53 countries

• 39 European 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, Switzerland, Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Monaco and Belarus.
• 6 Asian countries: the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei and Qatar.
• 6 American countries: United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile.
• 2 countries in Oceania: Australia and New Zealand.

- You are transiting via China through these cities:

• Beijing
• Tianjin
• Shijiazhuang
• Qinhuangdao
• Shanghai
• Hangzhou
• Nanjing
• Shenyang
• Dalian
• Guangzhou
• Shenzhen
• Jieyang
• Chongqing
• Xi An
• Ningbo
• Xiamen
• Qingdao
• Wuhan
• Chengdu
• Kunming

Important note
It is important to note that, even within these cities, not every port of transit is permitted for the visa-free policy. For example, in Qinhuangdao city, Qinhuangdao Sea Port is permitted for it, but Qinhuangdao Beidaihe Airport is not. So, as per the website of the Chinese consulate in the UAE, it is essential for you to consult the border inspection authority at the city where you land, to confirm your visa exemption status for your port of transit, before you travel there.

Here is a 24-hour hotline of China’s National Immigration Administration, which you can call to be directed to the local border inspection authority: +86 010 12367

Alternatively, you can contact these authorities in the UAE for more information:
If you are in Abu Dhabi, you can contact the consular department of the Chinese embassy. Here is their contact information:
• Phone number: 02 4434276
• Email address:
If you are in Dubai and other northern emirates, you can contact the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre for help:
• Phone number: 04 3711711/05 89732538
• Email address:

- You are transiting to a third country, other than the country where you departed from, after your stay in China.

- You have a confirmed ticket to go to the third country from China. The departure time on the ticket should be within your stay in China, which is 144 hours.

- You have a valid passport or travel document.

2. Obtain the ‘temporary entry permit’ at your port of transit

After making sure you fulfill the conditions mentioned above, these are the steps you need to follow to obtain the ‘temporary entry permit’ at your port of transit:

• Inform the airline that you use to travel from the UAE to China, of your intention to make use of this visa exemption facility. Provide them with your valid passport or travel document and your travel ticket. They will declare this request to the Border Inspection Authority at your port of entry in China, before your arrival.

• Upon arrival, go to the dedicated counter for the 144-hour visa-free transit to get a ‘temporary entry permit’.

Important note
You should keep in mind the following:
• With the ‘temporary entry permit’, you can only stay in specific cities or regions. The border inspection authority will inform you of these.
• The 144 hours will be counted starting at 00:00 on the next day after your arrival. You must leave China within these 144 hours. Failure to do so will result in a warning or penalty issued by the local Public Security Bureau’s Immigration Administration Department.
• If you are unable to leave China within the period of your layover due to force majeure, such as unexpected illness or natural disasters, you should go to the local Public Security Bureau’s Immigration Administration Department for the next steps.

72-hour and 24 visa-free transit

Alternatively, you can obtain a 72-hour and 24-hour visa-free transit, by following the same steps mentioned above. However, you should be aware of the following differences.

- For 72-hour visa-free transit, you should be transiting via these cities:

• Guangzhou
• Chengdu
• Chongqing
• Guilin
• Xi An
• Kunming
• Qingdao
• Xiamen
• Wuhan
• Haerbin
• Changsha

- For 24-hour visa-free transit, there are no requirements on your nationality or where you land in China.

However, again, you should consult the border inspection authority at the city where you land, to confirm your visa exemption status before you travel there.

Alternatively, if you want to stay for a longer period of time in China, you will need to apply for a visa. 

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