Travel visa to China

The coveted China visa

British nationals need a visa to enter mainland China, but not Hong Kong or Macao. For mainland China, you must get a visa prior to arrival, including for Hainan Island. For details of entry requirements to China contact the nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulate in good time before your proposed trip.

Check your visa validity carefully. Don’t overstay your visa or work illegally. The authorities conduct regular checks and you may be fined or detained for not complying with the conditions of your visa or work permit. If you remain in China longer than 6 months, you may need to get a Residence Permit.

Travelling to Hong Kong

If you visit Hong Kong from the mainland of China and wish to return to the mainland, you will need a visa that allows you to make a second entry into China.

Transiting China

If you hold a British Citizen passport and are transiting by air through Beijing Capital International airport, Shanghai (Pudong and Hongqiao), Chengdu, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Dalian, Shenyang or Kunming, and travelling on to a third country, you can enter China visa-free under a 72-hour visa waiver. You must remain in the city municipality (or within Guangdong province in the case of Guangzhou) and have evidence of your onward journey. Check with the Chinese Embassy in London or the Chinese visa application service centre for further information.

In all other circumstances, if your stopover requires you to leave the airport terminal you will need a transit visa for both the outward and return journeys. If you’re staying within the airport for up to 24 hours, you don’t need a transit visa.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months from the date of your visa application. If you have less than 6 months’ validity on your passport, but have a valid visa, you should be able to enter China for the duration of that visa.


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