I will be traveling to SFO from Delhi in Feb 2020.

I am an Indian citizen and I have B1/B2 Visa for the USA.

Route: Delhi → New Baiyun, Guangzhou (4h 05m Layover) → Wohnung (2h 00m Layover) → SFO

Return: SFO → Wuhan (2h 40m Layover) → New Baiyun, Guangzhou (7h 45m Layover) → Delhi

Will I need the transit visa or not?


2 Answers 2


Your link from the Chinese embassy is not really relevant as it only mentions transit in one city without leaving the airport, which does not apply in your case.

However, China does allow 24-hour visa-free transit for most people even if travelling through multiple Chinese airports. The exact rules according to Timatic are

Passengers with a confirmed onward air, cruise or train ticket to a third country within 24 hours can obtain an entry permit on arrival. They must have documents required for the next destination.

When passengers have obtained an entry permit, they can have multiple transit stops within China (People's Rep.).

  • This TWOV facility does not apply at Shenzhen (SZX) when passengers are traveling to Hong Kong (SAR China) or Macao (SAR China).
  • This TWOV facility does not apply at Fuzhou (FOC), Huangshan (TXN), Mudanjiang (MDG), Urumqi (URC) and Yanji (YNJ).
  • This TWOV facility does not apply to nationals of Syria transiting through Guangzhou (CAN).

  • This TWOV facility does not apply to nationals of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Yemen transiting through Xiamen (XMN).

  • [...]

  • This TWOV facility does not apply when passengers arrive on a direct flight from USA, Guam or Northern Mariana Isl. AND depart on a direct flight to USA, Guam or Northern Mariana Isl. (e.g. JFK - PVG - GUM).

As none of these exceptions apply to you, you will be able to get an entry permit upon arrival and will hence not need to apply for a transit visa in advance.

TravelChinaGuide has some more information about how the 24-hour transit rule works.

  • This is counter dicted by the following china-embassy.org/eng/hzqz/zgqz/t84242.htm, now I am not sure which one is correct but I do know that the VISA free rules are very new and as such interpretation of them might vary a lot, I would highly recommend having things in order before flying to be on the safe side until this settles down some more. Even asking the Shanghai Entry and Exit department gives different answers when called 3 times to check this out. Dec 13, 2019 at 16:45
  • @MattDouhan: I guess the Chinese Embassy in the US just wants more people to apply for transit visas so they earn more money? In any case, this policy has been around for a while now and there are official sources online (e. g. the Chinese embassy in Estonia) confirming the 24-hour TWOV rule.
    – Mophotla
    Dec 13, 2019 at 18:22
  • Yes but as always in China things are not always what it seems, it takes time sometimes a long time for things to settle and rules are many times interpreted different by different staff etc, like I said I called the Shanghai entry and exit department and they gave three different answers on three calls during the same day when I wanted to verify this, it is clear it should be available but your mileage may vary is all I am saying Dec 13, 2019 at 23:21
  • @MattDouhan china-embassy.org/eng/hzqz/zgqz/t84242.htm this was last updated on 19/09/2008 after that Rules are changed it seems.
    – Maulik
    Dec 14, 2019 at 14:07
  • @Maulik Like I said I called the entry and exit department, get different answers depending on who you speak to, it should be possible but your mileage may wary Dec 14, 2019 at 14:09

Taking from the currently hot question here, you will probably need more than a transit visum for the China leg (Wuhan/Guangzhou) because you're on a domestic flight.

  • Pay attention to this answer, you are on a domestic flight in mainland China, you will need a proper VISA to go on that flight, wether or not you qualify for VISA on arrival will heavily depend on your nationality but also please note I am unsure if WUHAN is one of the airports that offer that service, you better check this with the airline and/or consulate before you travel to make sure you dont get suck Dec 13, 2019 at 12:52
  • @MattDouhan : But here it says 24 hr stay is visa-free china-embassy.org/eng/hzqz/zgqz/t84242.htm is it something I am wrongly referring or what ? I am not sure and confused.
    – Maulik
    Dec 13, 2019 at 14:32
  • @Maulik But he does not qualify for any of the two cases mentioned, the first one is not available to Indian citizens and the second one does not include WUHAN and besides he has a domestic flight leg so he is not staying in the same airport during transit Dec 13, 2019 at 16:36
  • @MattDouhan: I am not talking about getting a visa on arrival, which is indeed almost impossible in China for regular tourists. I am saying that Maulik does not need a visa at all, i. e. he can transit visa-free. This does not depend on his nationality and Wuhan, as all other airports in China except the few ones mentioned in my answer, offer this service. The airline will not be able to help at all and will just refer the passenger to the embassy.
    – Mophotla
    Dec 15, 2019 at 17:48

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