If you're passing through China for a short period on your way to another country, you may need a China transit visa, also known as the G visa. This travel document is valid for three months from the date of issue and allows a maximum stay of between seven and ten days. It will enable you to see some of the country without the bother of having to apply for a full visa.
To be clear, you are in transit when you are travelling to a third country, and China is not your final destination. For example, if you are an Australian citizen travelling from Melbourne to Shanghai and then back to Melbourne, that is not transiting. Therefore you would not be eligible for a transit visa. However, if you are travelling from Melbourne to Shanghai and then onto Delhi, you are considered to be in transit in China because India is the third country.
For convenience to travellers there are transit visa exceptions so you may not need a transit visa at all. With these exemptions, you will be able to move around and do some sightseeing, so you won't be stuck in a transit lounge for hours or days on end.
Under the 24-hour visa-free transit agreement, foreigners can stay in the country for up to 24 hours if they have reserved seats on international airlines, ships or trains. This visa exemption is available at most ports of entry. If you want to take advantage of the time you have to do a little bit of exploring, you can ask for a temporary stay permit at the immigration counter.
If your layover in the country is more than 24 hours and less than 72 hours, consider applying for this visa exemption. It is available to foreigners from 53 countries, including Australian citizens who are transiting via any participating ports of entry. They are Beijing, Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Guangzhou, Guilin, Harbin, Hangzhou, Kunming, Nanjing, Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenyang, Tianjin, Wuhan, Xi'an and Xiamen.
To be eligible for this exemption your passport must be valid for at least three months from the date of entry, and you must have an appropriate visa for your destination country, if applicable. Other conditions for application include proof of confirmed airfare tickets or another transport booking to a third country or region. Note that flights can only stop in one Chinese city, so you can only enter and exit from the same place.
This exemption is available to citizens of the same 53 countries who can benefit from the 72-hour transit visa exemption. You will have up to six days (144 hours) to transit the country and will be permitted to move around Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.
This is also available to Australian citizens and those of 58 other countries and permits 30 days visa-free entry to Hainan. During your stay, you can move around the entire province without a visa.
If you do not meet any of the above requirements, you will need to apply for a Chinese transit visa.
You can apply in person to the consular office of Chinese embassies, Chinese consulates and China Visa Application Centres. However, if you are time-pressed and unsure about the process, we would be happy to do everything for you. Chinesevisaapplication.com.au is an authorised seller of visas who make the process easy, stress-free and straightforward.
The regular processing time for your transit document is 2-4, and the cost will be AUD 250.
To apply for your Chinese transit visa through our agency or for more information about whether you need one, click here.