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Friday, July 19, 2024
HomeWorld MapChinaChina 144-hour Visa-Free Transit: It Worked the 1st Time

China 144-hour Visa-Free Transit: It Worked the 1st Time

This post is part of the Tahiti Triumph Trip Report. It covers the following cities:

See the Picture Preview here and see how this $60,000 trip cost $1999 here.

Little did I know of the trouble that I would encounter at the Shanghai airport weeks later when I tried to return and utilize the China 144-hour Visa-Free Transit for the second time. (full breakdown of rules here and me not reading my own post here) This time around I managed to get it right which is why I’m writing a post to show how easy it is when it does work.

Since I was coming from Dubai to Shanghai and leaving from Shanghai (the flight has to come and go directly to/from Shanghai) to a different country than the UAE (New Zealand), I could enter Shanghai for 144 hours without a visa. It’s that simple. The only hold up at the immigration counter was because I didn’t have a printed copy of my itinerary and the guy couldn’t figure out how to photocopy my Blackberry screen.

Note: TPOL recommends getting the 10 year visa regardless if this mechanism works for you. It’s just not worth the stress and uncertainty if plans change.

Look mom, I'm in Shanghai (legally)
Look mom, I’m in Shanghai (legally)




  1. Wait for me. I will be there in one month. First class on Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong and business class to Shanghai. In your opinion, which is the better product, Cathay Pacific or Emirates first class?

  2. The 144-hour transit without visa is only good for the Shanghai region (select other cities in China have 72-hour TWOV). But you don’t have to leave/enter from the same airport, or even the same city. It is possible, for example, to fly from Hong Kong to Nanjing, and then fly out of Shanghai to the U.S. It’s much more liberal than the 72-hour TWOV that is valid for select other cities in China, and hopefully a sign of liberalization (albeit slow) of China’s visa/entry regime for tourists.

  3. This is complicated! I am considering a roundtrip flight from Europe to Singapore via Shanghai, with less than 24 hour stopover each way through PVG. Am I safe to assume I won’t go through the type of ordeal you have? Can I stay inside security at PVG, and if so, would it avoid much hassle? Thank you very much!

    • You start at country A and leave for country B. That’s legal. You fly into Shanghai and out with time to spare. All good there.

      On the return you leave country A and leave for country B undure the same circumstances.

      By my estimation you are fine.

  4. Now I am considering squeezing in a trip from SIN to HKG via PVG both ways , expanding the itinerary to:

    CDG –> PVG –> SIN –> PVG –> HKG –> PVG –> SIN –> PVG –> CDG

    Does the SIN –> PVG –> HKG –> PVG –> SIN squeezed in there violate the 144 hour free visa? No where would I be for more than 24 hrs.

    Thanks again, this is a big help.

    • I break them up one at a time:

      CDG to PVG to SIN is fine

      SIN to PVG to HKG is fine

      HKG to PVG to SIN is fine.

      Yes, this all looks good! (I think) You can see how it can get complicated. That’s why I’m getting 10 year visa and being done with the nonsense.

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