Recently, I flew from Toronto to Bangkok and had a 13-hour layover in Shanghai, China.
After booking my tickets to Bangkok, I went about researching the transit requirements through Shanghai. I was pleased to find out that – citizens of most countries transiting through Shanghai from Country A to Country B, may be eligible for a 24-hour transit without a visa. Citizens of select countries can also get a 144 hr transit without visa.
Countries eligible for 24-hour TWOV of China
Most countries are eligible for the 24-hour TWOV of China except the countries listed below:
Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Yemen.
Countries eligible for 144-hour TWOV of China
Holders of passports of these 53 countries are eligible for 144-hour transit without a visa(TWOV):
United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia (FYROM), Albania, Belarus, Monaco, 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, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Qatar.
Please see, the rules of TWOV are always changing. So, please confirm with the airline or embassy before you leave.
Important points to remember about Shanghai Transit Without Visa (TWOV)
- The 24/144hr entry permit into Shanghai is at the sole discretion of the immigration officer. There is a chance that your entry may be denied.
- For the 144 hr layover, remember that you can move around only in Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang. Travel to other parts of China using this permit is not allowed.
- In case of the 24 hr permit, the 24 hrs are counted starting from your scheduled arrival time.
- In case of the 144 hr permit, the counting is not done based on hours but days. So, your permit time is counted from 0:00 the day following the entry date
- The outbound flight from Shangai shouldn’t have additional stopovers in Mainland China. It should be a non-stop flight to your destination. Hongkong, Macau and Taiwan are not considered to be part of Mainland China in this scenario.
Transit Without Visa Process At Shanghai Pudong International Airport
- Record your biometric information :
As you walk from the arrival section of Shanghai Pudong International airport towards immigration, there are fingerprint scanners along the corridor. Scan your passport and give your fingerprints and photo as instructed by the machine. Depending on the passport, the machine automatically translates the instructions in your native language. After completion, the machine gives you a receipt. You have to give this receipt to the border control agents.
- Fill in the blue arrival/departure card:
Next, head to the immigration section. There’s a separate section for 24 hour/144 hour visa-free transit. Before lining up, fill in the arrival/departure card. The arrival/departure card has a blue header, the card with the yellow header is not for the 24/144 hr visa.
- Have your layover details ready:
Have your connecting flight information e-ticket or itinerary ready for the border control agent’s perusal. Remember, some websites are restricted in Shanghai due to China’s firewall, so you may not be able to access your flight information, hotel booking information online. So, it’s better to carry a printout of the itinerary or download it on your phone for offline access.
- Present your documents to the border control agent:
- Claim luggage and exit airport After getting your entry stamp, claim your luggage, go through customs and exit the airport
Depending on the length of the line, you may have to wait an hour or more. Hand in your passport, connecting flight information, arrival card and fingerprint receipt to the border control agent. On approval, the agent will stamp your passport with a 24/144 hr visa-free stamp. He/she will also give the departure section of your arrival card back to you. Keep this with you safely. You have to give it to the officer at passport control on your way out of Shanghai.
Please note, your entry into China is at the sole discretion of the immigration officer. So, for whatever reason, he/she may deny your entry into China and allow you to remain airside at the airport.
Airport hotels near Shanghai Pudong International Airport
If your layover in Shanghai is during the night or if you simply want to rest during your layover instead of seeing Shangai, then I have an excellent solution for you.
If your layover is during the day, you can go downtown and see the city. If your layover is during the night, then check out these airport hotels near Shanghai Pudong Airport that are very convenient for a traveler.
Have a fantastic time on your Shanghai Layover!
Disclaimer: The author is not responsible for any losses/damages that may occur in case of any inaccurate information.