Is China Visa Free for UAE Residents ?

Last Updated: Monday, 12/06/2023

1 Overview


Visa application can be hectic and time-consuming, so if you get the golden chance to travel to a country visa-free, you should grab it. There are countries where you can travel visa-free or apply for a visa on arrival, depending on your country of origin.

If you are seeking the opportunity to travel to China visa-free, either for leisure or work, you should check the visa exemption rules in China to determine if you are viable for visa-free travel. UAE residents planning to travel to China should also read this guide to determine if they can enter China visa-free and for how long.

2 Is China Visa Free for UAE Residents ?

UAE residents can visit China without a visa. There are three situations where you can enter China visa-free. These are:

1. 30-day visit for Nationals from 22 Countries

Twenty-two countries can enter China visa-free with an ordinary passport for a 30-day stay. This is in reference to the official 'List of Agreements on Mutual Visa Exemption between China and Foreign Countries, the You must depart China before the 30 days period elapse, as after that, you will be trespassing.

The 22 countries allowed visa-free entry in China for a period of 30 days are :

1. United Arab Emirates 2. Armenia 3. The Bahamas
4. Barbados 5. Belarus 6. Bosnia and Herzegovina
7. Ecuador 8. Fiji 9. Grenada
10. Maldives 11. Mauritius 12. Qatar
13. San Marino 14. Serbia 15. Seychelles
16. Suriname 17. Tonga 18. Azerbaijan
( when travelling in tour groups organized by authorized travel agencies of both countries )
19. Georgia
( when travelling in tour groups organized by authorized travel agencies of both countries )
20. Moldova
( when travelling in tour groups organized by authorized travel agencies of both countries )
21. Russia
( when travelling in tour groups organized by authorized travel agencies of both countries )
22. Turkmenistan
( when travelling in tour groups organized by authorized travel agencies of both countries )

Before we proceed, we will briefly describe an ordinary passport.

3 What is an Ordinary Passport ?

What is an Ordinary Passport ?

This is the passport granted to ordinary people travelling overseas for personal reasons, including tourism, employment and education. Comparative to the ordinary passport is the diplomatic passport and service passport, also called official passports, which are granted to diplomats or government employees travelling overseas for diplomatic or government roles.

2. Up to 144-hour visa-free transit

If you are transiting from Dubai to China and then to a third country or want to visit China but have no time to apply for a visa, you can opt for the 144-hour visa-free transit under certain circumstances. All you will need is a temporary entry permit at the port of transit to China.

Citizens from 53 countries are allowed to China visa-free for 144 hours.

These are :


39 European countries, namely; Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Sweden, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Monaco and Belarus.


6 Asian countries; the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei and Qatar.


6 American countries: United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile.


2 Oceania countries; Australia and New Zealand.

With the 144-hour temporary entry, you are required to stay in specific cities or regions as ordered by the border inspection authority. Your 144 hours are calculated starting at 00:00 of the next day after your arrival, and you must exit China within these hours.

3. Other Visa Exemption Rules

You can also enter China visa-free if you belong to any of the following groups :

  • Foreigners with a valid Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) business travel card. The virtual APEC business travel card since May 1, 2023, can be used to travel to China visa-free without the need for a physical card
  • Foreigners with a Chinese permanent residence permit or any other valid resident permit

Note: Overstaying your days, whether you entered China visa-free or with Visa, is an offence. You should leave the country within the validity period of your visa-free entry. Failure to do that, you risk being penalized or getting into absconding.

4 Contacts

It is wise to contact the Chinese authorities or the authorized service centre to confirm if you can travel visa-free before you board that flight. The Chine National Immigration Administration 24-hour hotline is: +86 010 12367

If in Abu Dhabi, contact the consular department of the Chinese embassy through the following:

If in Dubai and other Northern Emirates, contact the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre through :