What is the change? China will soon allow 144 hours of visa-free transit in three additional cities.

What does the change mean? Beginning Dec 1, 2019, travelers from 53 countries who have proof of onward travel will be permitted to visit Chongqing (a direct-controlled municipality in southwest China), Xi’an (in Shaanxi Province in northwest China) and Ningbo (in Zhejiang province in eastern China) for up to 144 hours without obtaining a visa. The 144-hour visa-free policy is already available in a number of major Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai.

  • Implementation time frame: Dec. 1, 2019.
  • Processes affected: 144-hour transit visa exemptions.
  • Impact on processing times: Nationals of 53 countries transiting through Chongqing, Xi’an and Ningbo to a third country.
  • Business impact: Business activities are permitted on a 144-hour visa free stay.

Additional information: China allows nationals of 53 countries to transit through a number of major cities without first obtaining a visa. The cities that already participate in the program are Beijing, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Qinhuangdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Shenyang, Dalian, Qingdao, Chengdu, Xiamen, Kunming, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Jieyang.

The 53 countries covered by the visa-free transit policy are:

  • Europe (Schengen Area): Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
  • Europe (other): Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Macedonia, Monaco, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, the United Kingdom and Ukraine.
  • Americas: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico and the United States.
  • Oceania: Australia and New Zealand.
  • Asia/Middle East countries: Brunei, Japan, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.

Analysis & Comments: The change will ease travel procedures for nationals of 53 countries traveling through Chongqing, Xi’an and Ningbo. Travelers should note, however, that while tourism, social visits and business activities are permitted on visa-free transit stays, productive work activities are not. Travelers should also take note of applicable geographic restrictions (e.g., only  allowing travel within select provinces during their stays).

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