Red tape for travellers is getting ever more tangled, with one shining exception: China is actually loosening its draconian visa rules for tourists...With Chinese tourist visas so expensive and complicated to obtain, this is excellent news...
-- Simon Calder, Travel Correspondent, The Independent
Starting May 1 2018, individuals from 59 countries (including the US) can visit tropical Hainan island, China's southernmost province, for 30 days visa-free.
- Must be traveling to Hainan for sightseeing on an ordinary passport
- Must book tour through travel agency, and be received by a travel agency incorporated in Hainan
- Permitted to stay only within the jurisdiction of the province without going to other areas of China
China: New Visa-Free Policy for Hainan Island
The Library of Congress Global Legal Monitor
Hainan to offer 30-day visa-free period for visitors from 59 countries
72 and 144 Hour Transit Visa Exemption Policies
Update: Beijing transit visa exemption extended to 144 hours
According to Xinhua News, from December 28, 2017 the visa-free period for travellers transitting through Beijing is extended to 144 hours (previously 72 hours). Also, neighboring Hebei Province and Tianjin City are added to the 144-hour transit visa exemption program. Transit air, train, and ship passengers entering any of the six border ports in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei can stay in the region for six days before heading to a third country. Official details are scanty, but a brief outline of the policy is available at the website of the Beijing Capital International Airport.
Travellers may apply to airlines for a 72-hour transit visa exemption if the following conditions are met:
- Travel is via a passport that is valid and is one of 53 designated passports (including USA passport)
- Transit (entry and exit) is through any one of 15 designated airports
- Traveller holds an air ticket for a connecting flight, with confirmed date of flight and seat to a third destination outside of both China and the country traveller arrives from (and also holds a valid visa for that destination, if required), travelling within 72 hours (In this instance, Hong Kong and Macau are considered outside of China).
- Entry and exit is via same airport, and traveller will not travel outside of the permitted area for that entry/exit airport.
In addition, if transit is through any of:
- one of the designated Shanghai airports, railway, or cruise terminals
- the designated Nanjing or Hangzhou airports
For details of designated passports, ports of entry, and permitted travel areas, consult the sources listed below.