China (PRC)

China (PRC) map

Region: East Asia

Requirements

Passport Validity
6 months
Stay and Departure
Documents showing the itinerary including air ticket booking record (round trip) and proof of a hotel reservation, etc. or an invitation letter issued by a relevant entity or individual in China.
Transit
- Generally, all transit requires a transit visa, which follows the rules and procedures of other visas. One exception is a trial run (as of 2015-10-13) of exempting 24-hour direct transit passengers from immigration inspection procedures at Beijing Capital International Airport, Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, provided transit passenger does not leave the restricted areas within the airports. The other exception is the 72 and 144 hour transit visa exemption policies described below.
Dual Nationality
China does not recognize dual nationality.
U.S. policy on dual nationality can be found here.

Additional Notes

  1. Stay is extendable.
  2. The consular officer will make decisions on whether or not to grant a visa and allowed validity, duration of stay and number of entries based on individual application. Duration of stay is calculated from the second day of entry. For visas without indicated duration of stay, the permitted time to stay in China ends on the visa expiry date.
  3. Travel regions are divided into four categories. Regions in Class A allow direct access without a travel permit or prior notice. Regions of Class B are generally accessible, but travelers must apply to a public security department for a travel permit. Regions of Class C and D are generally inaccessible, except under special circumstances after applying for a travel permit.
  4. In accordance with a 2014 China-U.S. visa arrangement, U.S. citizens may be eligible for 10-year multiple entry visa. The remaining validity of the U.S. passport must be over 12 months.
Sources:

Visa Exemptions

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

Hainan Province

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.

Requirements:

  • 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
The province has been implementing a 15-day or 21-day visa waiver policy for group visitors from 26 countries since 2010.

Sources:

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:

  1. Travel is via a passport that is valid and is one of 53 designated passports (including USA passport)
  2. Transit (entry and exit) is through any one of 15 designated airports
  3. 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).
  4. 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:

  1. one of the designated Shanghai airports, railway, or cruise terminals
  2. the designated Nanjing or Hangzhou airports
then travellers may apply to airlines for a 144-hour transit visa exemption, provided the above 72-hour conditions are met. The entry/exit condition, however, is relaxed: travellers are not required to enter and exit from the same port. Travellers are permitted to exit from any of the above-listed 144-hour transit visa exemption ports of entry.

For details of designated passports, ports of entry, and permitted travel areas, consult the sources listed below.

Sources:

Applicable Passports: