What is the change? Harbin, in Northeast China, will soon offer 72-hour visa-free stays for nationals of 51 countries transiting through China, according to a government website.

What does the change mean? Travelers from 51 countries – including Australia, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, the United States and most European countries – with proof of onward travel to a third country will be permitted to visit Harbin for up to 72 hours without obtaining a visa.

  • Implementation time frame: The change will be implemented Aug. 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: The new policy eliminates the need for affected travelers to obtain a visa for stays of up to 72 hours when transiting through Harbin.
  • Who is affected: Nationals of 51 countries transiting through Harbin to a third country (i.e., not their home country).
  • Impact on processing times: The change saves affected travelers the time it takes to get a visa.
  • Business impact: Business activities are not permitted during visa-free stays in Harbin or other cities that participate in the program.

Background: More than a dozen cities offer similar 72-hour visa-free stays for travelers transiting to a third country, including Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Guilin, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Kunming, Shanghai, Shenyang, Wuhan, Xi’an and Xiamen. Details are available on the Chinese Embassy’s website.

BAL Analysis: Nationals from 51 countries can benefit from Harbin’s 72-hour visa-free policy for onward travelers.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in China. For additional information, please contact

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