In case you find yourself travelling from Hong Kong to China, specifically to Shenzhen, we have some good news for you. You are not obliged to apply for a regular visa as there is a special Shenzhen visa for cases like these.
What is a Shenzhen visa?
Basically, this visa is a visa on arrival (VOA). This means that you don’t have to worry about applying for your visa in advance. You can apply once you arrive at the border.
However, a downside to this visa is that this is only a single entry visa and your stay is limited up to 5 days only. This visa also cannot be extended and it cannot be changed to another visa type. So keep that in mind in case you are planning a longer stay in Shenzhen.
Also, you are only allowed to stay in the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, therefore any further excursions are out of the question.
Where to get the Shenzhen visa?
Not all border crossings issue the Shenzhen visa. Since the most popular way of getting to Shenzhen from Hong Kong is by railway and at the crossing of Lo Wu, that is your best bet.
The Shenzhen visa is definitely available at this crossing, but you can try your luck at Huanggang, Shekou or Fuyong ports, although their schedules vary. You can find more information on this link.
How to apply?
Once you arrive at the border crossing, look for the visa office. The first thing you need to do is to fill out your visa application. If you are staying in Shenzhen for one day only, in the address section you can just write “Shenzhen”.
After filling out the visa application, get your queue ticket and wait your turn. Queuing depends on the time of day, holidays, etc., but you probably won’t wait longer than half an hour. Once your number is shown, go to the counter and give the border officer your passport and visa application. The visa will take up the whole page, just keep that in mind.
In case you have a relatively new passport, bring your old one as well. Stamps to some countries (such as Turkey, Pakistan, Iran) will probably be an issue while getting a visa on arrival.
The border officer will take your photo (in case you didn’t bring your own). Give the border officer your queue ticket and he will give you the other half. You need it in order to pick up your visa once it’s ready. At this point, you also need to pay a visa fee. It is in Chinese yuan, so keep cash at your disposal. One thing that is making this whole ordeal easier is that both cash and credit cards are accepted on the border crossings (however, some sources say that this is only possible in case you have Visa or American Express, Mastercard doesn’t work).
After you receive your passport with the visa, get the arrival slip and fill it out as well. Check your passport at the e-Channel gate (the machine will scan the page where your photo is) and pass through the security checkpoint.
And that’s it, you’re in Shenzhen!
Who can apply?
Citizens from most European and developed countries can apply for the Shenzhen visa. These countries are Australia, Canada, Germany, Korea, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Spain, France, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the US.
Nationals of Indonesia and Philippines can only obtain this visa on arrival if they had a Chinese visa before. This is where the old passport is a must as a proof of your previous travels.
Citizens from the following countries are currently ineligible to apply for this visa: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Cameroon, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Uganda, and Yemen.
These lists are bound to change, so do double-check the information before your trip.
If all this seems like quite a hassle to you and you don’t want to spend time in Shenzhen waiting in lines, do apply for your Chinese visa in advance. Viselio can help you obtain your visa quickly and efficiently, without queuing at the embassy and without paperwork. Apply for your Chinese visa on our website.
Interested in visa-free travels to China? Read more about travelling to Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei in our blog post.