I'm planning to meet my girlfriend. She's Chinese, while I'm Swiss. And we're having some trouble finding out which way would be the best to meet each other. Because we both would not like to tell our parents about that yet.

So I've been researching and I found that Chinese people are allowed to go to San Marino for 90 days without any visa. For me, being Swiss, I'm perfectly allowed to go there, too. But there are some questions regarding that plan.

  1. How does she get to San Marino without having an Italian visa? I mean, she would need to cross Italy. I've read the Italians will grant Chinese people transit to San Marino without a Schengen visa or transit visa. Is that true? If so, how would you do that transit?

  2. If the plan mentioned above does not work, what do you recommend would be the easiest way to meet each other?


For clarification purposes, I would like to reply to some things that have been stated here.

First of all, I can assure everybody that this is not a romance scam. We've met over a year ago and have been calling each other for almost every day in the last 11 months. Additionally she wanted me to come to China, not the other way around. It was actually my idea, that she'd come to Europe.

And she's currently in Hainan as a student, so it wouldn't be that obvious to her parents if she left for a week or two.

I've first just asked this question because I wasn't sure about the idea with San Marino. It sounded ridiculous to me too, and because there wasn't any other information on the internet I thought I'd give it a try and ask.

So I think this question is answered for me now. Either she's going to get a Schengen visa for Switzerland (which I'm not sure exactly how) or I'll try to get to Hong Kong (but where I'm not sure, if she actually can go to Hong Kong as a Chinese citizen from the mainland?) somehow. Thank you all for your willingness to help.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 11:05
  • Regarding hong-kong she would need a permit to vist there. I have no idea how hard such permits are to get. Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 21:17
  • In Europe, Serbia would be the most obvious choice. No visa requirements for either China or Switzerland. Nice place to visit too.
    – dbkk
    Commented Dec 9, 2017 at 20:40

8 Answers 8


San Marino is landlocked and does not have a commercial airport, so the only way to get there is to cross the land border from Italy, which requires one already to have entered the Schengen Area, with all the visa requirements that implies.

Thus the visa-free agreement between San Marino and China is in practice irrelevant for your girlfriend. It is just the symbolic reciprocal counterpart of an agreement that allows Sammarinese citizens to enter China visa-free.

  • 6
    @Fattie Actually, I'd say it doesn't hurt to have these answers. Someone else might legitimately end up in a similar situation as described by the poster, so it's always cool to keep such answers handy.
    – user4551
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 18:08
  • 1
    I disagree, @user4551 - when the site is cluttered with "scam related sillyness", I think it just brings down the site quality. (Note that, while Henning's answer is outstanding, the specific question "china - san marino!" is just silly, and the overall romance-scam question is just completely silly.) Another factor is it has, also, been a complete waste of time for everyone who answered or commented. Anyway - of course, your opinion is different, which is fine!
    – Fattie
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 18:15
  • 1
    @Fattie because I had a similar question, I'm in Cascadia and my girlfriend is in the Conch Republic. Would Sealand work? Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 16:17
  • 1
    @harper what about Hutt River Province
    – Fattie
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 16:25

Considering that the Swiss passport is quite stronger than the Chinese passport, you should have a look at which countries a Chinese citizen can go easily (no visa or VoA). And from that list pick one that you can go to easily.

This is the map (source):

enter image description here

Among the easier countries:

  • Tunisia & Morocco, no visa.
  • A few countries in Asia ask for no visa, or a very easy VoA/eVisa: Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand.

Morocco and Thailand are very nice in the winter. Good choices right there.

  • 11
    Looks like Serbia would also work, and is perhaps the most geographically convenient. Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 20:56
  • 18
    @tga Is there any reason those countries in particular make things more difficult for you? Why can you go to San Marino, but not Thailand, for example?
    – Rob
    Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 22:29
  • 7
    Turkey is another strong contender. Visa on arrival for her, visa free for you. Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 2:58
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    @David Foerster Having spent 27 years in Asia, including the Asian countries I mention, I can tell you that none of these countries pose any problem for an unmarried couple...
    – user67108
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 4:47
  • 9
    @DavidFoerster this is a complete and utter non issue in any of the countries discussed. It's not even an issue in most Muslim countries who in general just look the other way or are easily distracted by a white lie. We had to lie about martial status in SOME (not all) places Iran but we were never asked for any proof of anything. Never even came up places like the UAE, Oman or Morocco. It's definitely not an issue in Malaysia or Indonesia. Never mind the other non-Muslim countries who couldn't care less. It might be an issue in Saudi Arabia, it's not pretty much anywhere else in the world.
    – Ivan McA
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 8:10


Click on "Show Map" and select "Exclusive" mode, and you'll be able to see which countries you can both travel to.


There exists a transit regime to landlocked jurisdictions within Italy, just not quite for everyone.

I've read the Italians will grant Chinese transit to San Marino with out a Schengen visa or transit visa. Is that true?

It is, basically, the same thing, as with transit to Vatican City. Namely that in exceptional cases, Italy would grant such transit upon very strict conditions. For instance, if a Chinese national had a yacht moored in international waters, and would get to San Marino by a helicopter, they would have to apply to Italian Foreign Ministry for a permission to do so, and such a transit would be granted provided they don't land on Italian soil. Or, if they arrived from outside of the Schengen Area by a private jet, and arranged a helicopter transfer from the airport to San Marino, transferring under border guard officer's supervision.

In other words, it is very well off limits to ordinary people, so, unless your girlfriend has a private jet or a yacht, forget it. Go to Belgrade, and meet up there, it's a lovely city, unless you head to the suburbs.

  • 3
    If you're rich enough to charter a helicopter, you're probably rich enough to get a Schengen visa in the first place...
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 9:10
  • 2
    @JonathanReez: But also rich enough to want to flaunt the fact that you don't need to. Also potentially persona non grata in some countries, maybe even with warrants out for your arrest. Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 13:32
  • @R.. If you have an outstanding warrant for your arrest, I doubt that Italy would grant a request to fly a heli over Italian territory, and let you possibly drop bags of drugs or whatever.
    – Alexander
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 10:39
  • I suspect the real problem is to hire the yacht and/or helicopter without their parent bank card ;-)
    – Madlozoz
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 11:15

She's not getting into San Marino without a Schengen visa, as San Marino doesn't have a passenger airport.

Suggestions in Europe are Serbia, Moldova, Ukraine or Turkey. Swiss can go there visa-free (except in Ukraine, your ID card is enough), while Chinese can enter Serbia visa-free, get a visa on arrival in Ukraine and Turkey, or get an e-visa in Moldova and Turkey.

All of this said, first and foremost find out whether this person is for real.


Based on Wikipedia pages for visa requirements for Chinese and Swiss citizens, I've made a list of countries that will let you both in either visa-free, or with a visa-on-arrival, or on an eVisa.

Those countries are:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Bolivia
  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • Cape Verde
  • Comoros
  • Djibouti
  • Dominica
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • Gabon
  • Georgia
  • Grenada
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Haiti
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Jamaica
  • Jordan
  • Kenya
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Micronesia
  • Moldova
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Palau
  • Qatar
  • Rwanda
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • São Tomé and Príncipe
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Sri Lanka
  • Suriname
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Timor-Leste
  • Togo
  • Tonga
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Vanuatu
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

That is a total of 72 countries to choose from! Do review specific entry requirements for each country you might want to choose, as the list does not take into account any additional requirements such as using a specific port of entry.

Also, while San Marino is technically on that list, I believe there's no port of entry that would be directly inside San Marino and therefore not require a Schengen visa.

Thus, your girlfriend would be unable to enter San Marino without a Schengen visa.

  • 2
    As a sidenote, I would add that Serbia's a no-brainer choice here. As far as I know, EU nationals can enter Serbia without a passport (using their ID card), and Serbia is visa-free for Chinese.
    – user4551
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 5:11
  • 1
    "EU nationals can enter Serbia without a passport (using their ID card)" OP's Swiss, but yes. Same goes for Moldova and Turkey
    – Crazydre
    Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 4:00

As Mawg suggested in the comments, the best option is probably just for you to go to China. It shouldn't be difficult to get a Chinese visa as a Swiss citizen and it will probably be much easier than for her to leave China.

This also solves another issue, which is quite likely the actual problem here: it doesn't require sending her any money and, thus, rules out this being a romance scam (which, honestly, it probably is.) If she objects to you visiting her in China without sending her money, this is almost certainly a romance scam. If the scenario is real, it will be much easier for her to meet you somewhere near but not at her home without her parents finding out than for her to fly halfway around the world without her parents finding out. In the more likely case that it isn't real, her trying to find excuses of why you need to send her money in order to be able to meet will confirm to you that it isn't real.

As an aside, if you've exchanged e-mails with her, you may wish to check the Received-From headers to see whether the source IP address is even in Hainan at all (or China at all, for that matter.)

Please also read this question: My online friend is asking for money in order to visit my home country. Is this a legit request or a scam?

  • The question says nothing about her asking for money, so this entire answer seems irrelevant. Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 8:24
  • Regardless of relevance of the answer to the question, would you consider it safe to go to another country meat somebody who you don't know for real? Might be safer to cough the cash and see whether the girl shows up <somewhere> than going in person :) Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 12:29
  • @DavidRicherby Just because the question doesn't say she has asked doesn't mean she (assuming 'she' is even female at all) hasn't and won't. This is not exactly an uncommon scam, hence why we get questions about this so often that we have the above-linked canonical Q/A for it. It's possible that this isn't a scam, but it's also quite likely that it is. The approach suggested here will help to determine whether or not it is. And, even if it's not a scam and she paid her own ticket, it's almost certainly easier/less expensive for him to travel to China than for both of them to travel.
    – reirab
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 22:32
  • @DavidRicherby Related meta.
    – reirab
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 22:34
  • @akostadinov "would you consider it safe to go to another country meet somebody who you don't know for real" That is exactly what the question is asking to do. How can OP know if she shows up if OP doesn't also go?
    – reirab
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 22:37

Found this handy dandy comparison tool that might help:


Does a side by side comparison of countries, passports, and visa requirements.

  • 2
    Although the tool is informative but still kindly try to answer the question in your text as well. Perhaps using a screenshot or something.
    – Newton
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 3:19
  • 2
    While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. - From Review
    – Newton
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 3:19
  • 3
    @Newton And yet, this other answer that links to a different site doing the same thing has 13 upvotes. Further, other answers already contain maps and long lists of countries. There really is no point giving that information again. Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 8:39
  • 1
    @DavidRicherby If there's no point in giving the information again, what's the point of this answer?
    – kirkpatt
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 22:19
  • 1
    @kirkpatt The list of countries will change over time. Will the answers listing countries be updated? I doubt it. So it's much more valuable to have resources that are updated where people can find out the current answer to the question. Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 23:36

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