When visiting the Chinese city of Shenzen from Hong Kong it is possible to travel on a special Visa called a 'Shenzen Special Economic Zone Tourism Visa'.

The concept is simple. You can quickly get a 5 day visa to visit (only) the area of Shenzen without having to acquire a full China Tourist Visa.

However the conditions for qualifying for this visa change frequently. (one example is that is currently is not available to American or French citizens) A search through the internet yields a lot of advice that is both outdated and inaccurate.

How do I find the official guidelines for this visa? The best I could find was from the Guangdong government, however it doesn't really provide the information required.

(PLEASE note I am not asking what the conditions are, just where I can find the official conditions from the Chinese government)

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    Yeah, they even changed them around the Olympics time in Beijing. I just rocked up at the border, left Hong Kong, and then asked in the 'no-man's' land, where they directed me to an office to get it. Of course, it wasn't critical for me whether I could go or not, it'll presumably be different for you.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 15:57
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    Thanks for the comment, however I do already know that it is easy to get one. My problem is that I just want the official details on this visa before I travel. Seems a pity to go to the border and be missing something.
    – user5043
    Commented Apr 2, 2013 at 22:27
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    Yeah, totally, that's why I didn't put it as an answer. Amazing how well hidden some official sites are :/
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Apr 2, 2013 at 22:48
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    Especially for China! Just try finding the official site telling you what you need in a visa application to get a six or twelve month multiple-entry visa ... Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 3:31
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    A new complication is that cities with International connections can sometimes issue transit visas for up to a few days when you have an onward travel ticket. Again there is no single place to look this up.
    – user5043
    Commented Sep 12, 2016 at 0:19

3 Answers 3


In fact, there are some China visa policies since 2013, and one of them is the Visa Exemption for Pearl River Delta RegionVisa Free To China, saying that:

Visitors travelling in a group, upon arrival in Hong Kong, can get a group Visa or 144-hour Convenient Visa to travel to Guangdong Province. This is a separate piece of paper (not attached to any passport), which requires that group members enter and exit China together.

Foreign visitors in Hong Kong can visit Guangdong Province for a maximum of 144 hours (6 days) via entry ports in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing, Huizhou and Shantou. There is a choice of ports of entry or exit in Guangdong Province but you must enter and leave the areas together via the above-stated ports of entry.

Applications & Conditions:

  • Visitors must join a tour group organized by a registered Hong Kong or Macau Travel Agent and must travel in a group consisting of a minimum 3 people and a maximum of 40 people.
  • The group you have joined is organized by a registered travel agency.
  • You are a citizen holding a passport issued by one of the nations
    with diplomatic relations with China.
  • You don’t have any intentions on staying in the Pearl River Delta
    Region for more than 6 days.
  • The Shenzen Special Economic Zone Tourism Visa that the OP is asking for is different from the Visa Exemption for Pearl River Delta Region. Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 20:00

You can find those in several different places, one of them being here, the Macau website of the Chinese min. of foreign affairs. The issue with this regulation is that it is changing from time to time and those changes are usually NOT reflected on any website. This is impossible because the changes happen too quickly, are often imposed only temporarily (as during the Olympics) and last but not least because many official Chinese government websites are too slow updating their websites in Chinese, let alone in English.

What is notable about this visa is that normally you should show up with some reason why you could not get a normal visa instead. If you can show an invitation from a Chinese organization that obviously arrived too late, you are more likely to get one than if you show up there and claim that you want to go groceries shopping or simply tourism.

If you have a confirmation from a Chinese party or the like, I would still recommend you to call either a Hong Kong travel agent or the border office itself to confirm that you are not barred by default because there is a current issue between China and your home country that would disable you from getting a visa.

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    Thanks for the answer, however it appears to be a good answer for general mainland China visa information rather than the very specific Shenzhen Visa I was asking about (which is not a mainland China visa)
    – user5043
    Commented Apr 2, 2013 at 2:21
  • @Andrew sorry about that. I would then still recommend you to call either a Hong Kong travel agent or the border office itself. There is no official information in English available on the web as it seems.
    – uncovery
    Commented Apr 3, 2013 at 8:21
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    No worries. Even getting accurate official information about the main China visas can be very difficult! I actually have had both Tourist (L) and Business (Z) visas before, and always go through a Hong Kong travel agent since it is much less hassle.
    – user5043
    Commented Apr 3, 2013 at 9:29

This is it


5 day “visa on arrival” 落地签 (kind of) via walking across the Hong Kong border (I remember when I looked a few months ago) in Shenzhen at Futian border where you can exit HK, go upstairs and pay like 1000 RMB and get a 5 day visa. Not 100% sure, but they might exclude Americans from this policy. Technically you are supposed to only stay in Shenzhen because its a Special Economic Zone but who really knows. Just remember to leave on day 5.

  • 2
    Nice account, but not exactly official information. Also I wonder about the RMB 1,000 since that is rather expensive compared to other China entry visas. It is also true that you should stay within the SEZ - there is nothing physically stopping you going outside to Guangzhou or further, but you do face arrest if any policeman checks your passport.
    – user5043
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 23:51

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