With the approval of China’s State Council, since January 1, 2019, Qingdao has implemented the 144-hour visa-free transit policy. Holders of foreign passports from 53 countries, who can show valid international travel documents and a connecting flight ticket bound for a third country or region with a valid ticket and a set departure date within 144 hours of entry into the country, can enter or exit from Qingdao’s airports and seaports and move about within the administrative area of Shandong Province for 144 hours, visa free.
The 144-hour visa-free transit policy implemented in five cities including Qingdao is a further enhancement of the 72-hour visa-free transit policy currently in effect, according to the exit and entry administration of the Shandong provincial public security bureau. Along with the extension of the visa-free stay time from 72 hours to 144 hours, the number of entry and exit ports has also been expanded from being limited to only airports to include both airports and seaports in Qingdao.
Since Qingdao’s implementation of the 72-hour visa-free policy for holders of foreign passports from appointed countries in November 16, 2015, the policy has facilitated transit and transfer for foreign passport holders and their ability to move about the province during the allotted time frame, as well as the ability to conduct business in Shandong province during that time, promoting the use of available services, the socio-economic development of the province and exchanges between Chinese citizens and foreign visitors.
With the ongoing development of China’s opening-up policies and the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, an increasing number of international transit tourists visit China to engage in business and take in the sights. In order to implement China’s overall requirements of deepening reform and opening-up and to further expand the opening-up and facilitate personnel exchanges, the National Immigration Administration applied for approval and promulgation of this policy from the State Council in a move to support regional needs. The optimized visa-free transit policy will further facilitate travel for holders of foreign passports who wish to engage in tourism and business activities as well as create a more relaxed and convenient entry-exit environment for international visitors.
At present, Shandong province has undertaken all the preparations necessary for the comprehensive implementation of the policy in line with the deployment of the policy by the National Immigration Administration. The implementation of the 144-hour visa-free transit policy is expected to greatly promote the development of tourism- and travel-related industries in Qingdao and the whole of Shandong Province and will be of great significance to Qingdao’s stated strategy of becoming an international city, as well as the economic development and transformation of related industries across the whole province.
The countries for which the policy is applicable are determined on the basis of the number of entry and transit points as well as the roster of inbound and outbound international flights. In order to maintain the uniformity of the policy, qualified countries for the 144-hour transit visa-free policy will be the same as those enjoying the 72-hour free transit policy.
Applicable countries for the visa-free transit policy are as follows:
Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and United States.