Shenzhen is the latest Chinese city to announce plans for 72-hour visa-free entry to international visitors.
The announcement, which was issued by the Shenzhen Airport Group, is expected in the first half of this year and will allow visitors to stay in Shenzhen without a visa for three days provided they have valid travel documents and booked tickets to another destination. While the 24-hour visa-free transit policy has no country restrictions, only 51 countries can apply for the new 72-hour visa. There are also plans to introduce tax refund services at the airport for foreigners, and residents of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macao.
The 72-hour visa-free transit policy was first implemented in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou in 2013. The policy currently covers 18 Chinese cities, adding Changsha and Qingdao last November.
Shanghai recently announced a six day (144-hour) visa-free transit policy that allows international tourists to travel within the Yangtze River Delta area (including Zhejiang and Jiangsu Provinces) without the need of a travel visa. Besides extending the stay up from 72-hours, international visitors will be allowed to enter the country through ports and railways besides airports. The six day visa is also only available to passport holders of 51 countries.
In 1994, Shenzhen became the first mainland city to introduce a 72-hour visa policy for foreigners via Hong Kong. Of the 40 million visitors arriving at Shenzhen Airport last year, 12 million stayed in the city for at least one night.
Earlier this month, China and the UK agreed to allow their citizens to visit each others’ countries under two-year multiple entry visas.