Shanghai, together with neighboring provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang in East China, has implemented a 144-hour, roughly six-day visa-free policy for transit travelers since January 30, 2016.
Under the new policy, travelers from 51 countries can enjoy 144-hour visa-free travel in the entire Yangtze River Delta region upon entry via Shanghai's air, sea and railway ports, Nanjing Lukou International Airport or Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport, providing they have valid travel documents and tickets to leave for a third country or region within 144 hours.
Transit travelers from certain countries are now able to travel through the entire Yangtze River Delta for 144 hours without a visa. (Upper left: the Grand Canal in Suzhou. Bottom left: the West Lake in Hangzhou. Right: the Oriental Pearl in Shanghai)
Compared with the previous 72-hour visa-free policy, the new policy enables visitors to arrange their travel with more flexibility. Aside from the doubled time of transit, it allows passengers to travel across the Yangtze River Delta, including but not limited to Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Nanjing. Furthermore, the transit ports are not limited to airports. Cruise and train passengers are also able to avail of the policy. The requirements remain the same as before.
In the past, the 72-hour visa-free policy makes cities in mainland China less attractive for transit travelers than Hong Kong and other international cities in neighboring countries, which have a more relaxed visa policy. Officials hope the new policy will boost the tourism industry in Yangtze River Delta.
"3 days is a bit short, but 6 days would be exactly the right time. Travelers can also take trips to Suzhou and some famous water towns. They have more choices when selecting tours." explained Vera Zhao, product manager at Odyssey Tours. "It is hoped that the 144-hour policy will soon be adopted by other tourist cities in China." she further added.
The 51 visa-free countries are: the U.S, the U.K, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Albania, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates.