Guangzhou adding 72-hour transit without visa as of this month

In January China introduced a 72 hour transit without visa policy for Beijing, matching the policy that was in place for Shanghai. This is a great option for someone looking to visit China without getting a visa, though it’s worth noting that you technically have to be continuing to a third country in order to be considered “in transit” (though there are some creative ways around that using refundable tickets).

Anyway, it was just pointed out to me in the comments section of my post on China Southern’s new A380 service to Sydney that a 72-hour transit without visa policy will also be introduced for Guangzhou.


From June of 2013, Guangzhou will also adopt this new policy for passengers transiting via Guangzhou Baiyun Airport (CAN):

Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.

While I can’t find an official source on this yet, this article also suggests that this new policy will actually be in place. As soon as I find an official source I’ll be sure to post it here. It would be awesome to be able to do a couple of days in Guangzhou without a visa, so I’m very much looking forward to this change.

Filed Under: Travel
  1. Lucky, other than the relatively new first W hotel in China, there is really not much to do there!

  2. Yes, HK is another country. Lucky would need to have his passport to get to HK from Guangzhou. It’s also interesting that they only allow air transit passenger to have this 72 hr visa. I know many people living in HK would be thrilled to have some thing like this for Shenzhen.

  3. @David, Hongkong is definitely not another country. It’s only a SAR (Special Administrative region). Hongkong belongs to China, However they do have the freedom to govern themselves.

  4. For the purposes of the 72-hour visa waiver, Hong Kong is considered to be a “third country”.

  5. @PabloZ: Right, but entry/immigration into Hong Kong and Macau is not the same as China, which is why this is an important distinction (and why Hong Kong would be considered “a different country”). For instance, I’ve been to Hong Kong and Macau without an entry visa for China that I would be required to have as an American citizen, because Hong Kong and Macau do not require entry visas for American citizens… but China does (though they do allow USA citizens TWOV for 24 hours, 72 if you’re going to PEK, PVG and apparently, now CAN).

    Basically I’m trying to save $160 on future tourist visits to China- entry at CAN, onward ferry to Hong Kong or Macau within 72 hours, stay, onward flight to PVG/PEK, stay 72 hours, onward flight to another country. I suspect this would work… 😉

  6. I suppose you can get a ticket from CAN-HKG on CZ as well… Nicely planned but don’t know if you can use the 72 hrs X2…

  7. Not much to do in Guangzhou which is my hometown. But 72 hours is plenty to taste the fantastic food in Guangzhou. 😉

  8. @C S, Hong Kong/ Macau/ Taiwan are considered “regions” in Chinese official texts, and the official 72-hour TWOV rule states that in-transit foreign passengers must hold “air ticket for a connecting flight with confirmed date and seat for a third country (region) traveling within 72 hours”.

  9. The 72-hour TWOV policy at CAN has NOT YET been implemented. The actual implementation date (most probably LATER than June) will be announced in the future, according to Chinese news sources. A similar TWOV program at CTU has also been approved (without a fixed implementation date).

  10. Please note that to all the creatives out there, you need to enter AND exit from the same port, e.g. flying in at PVG and exit at CAN is not allowed. They will check your onward ticket and whether it is originating from the same entry port.i just came back from PVG yesterday and used the 72hr transit visa and again, everything was thoroughly checked before visa was issued (whole process did not take long though)

  11. In fact, “A foreign national with the 72-hour transit visa exemption may not leave the administrative precincts of Beijing or Shanghai (or Guangzhou)”. You are not allowed to leave the city where you entered China, so you have to depart from the same city. For Shanghai, you may arrive at PVG and depart from SHA, or vice versa.

  12. Sorry for the incorrect information provided in my last comment. I have double-checked and confirmed that foreigners have to arrive at and depart from the same airport in order to qualify for the 72-hour TWOV program. That’s in addition to the requirement that he/she must stay inside the city where he/she entered China.

  13. I was also referring to W hotel been the first W brand in China according to the press release from spg. I’m hoping this 72 hr transit visa will be a trend and one day it be more relaxed and available in all the ports in China.

  14. Well, one can always enter Guangzhou, stay for 72 hours then leave for HK; fly from HK to Shanghai and stay for 72 hours then fly to ie Seoul; from Seoul fly to Beijing and stay for 72 hours then fly back to U.S. 😉 save on the visa fee! Now I just need this 72 hour rule extend to inland cities like Xian or Chengdu or even Harbin! 😉

    If one visits Guangzhou, must-visit places include the five goat statue, the Guangzhou museum next to the statue, the Chen family temple, Shamian island (and lots of great food there too!) and the pearl river night cruise. 72 hours are just perfect!

  15. So, there are folks who want to take advantage of the planned CAN TWOV just to stay at a W? If it’s to collect miles/points, great, but a visit to Guangzhou is worth a bit more than that…

  16. Would it be possible to fly from the UK to Thailand via Guangzhou (CAN) on UK Passports, and during the stopover, go to Hong Kong for the day using the TWOV?

  17. @ Leanne — I’m not positive, this is a toughie. On one hand you don’t need a visa to travel to Hong Kong, though if I’m not mistaken when you’re doing a TWOV you’re not allowed to leave the city/province.

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