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ben boyd

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live in hong kong and go to china frequently

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Asia > Hong Kong S.A.R. > Hong Kong > Useful Info
Updated on Nov 21, 2018 Useful Info

Everything you need to know to get the 5-day Shenzhen Visa on Arrival

  • If you're in Hong Kong and want to hop over to China for a quick visit, chances are you don't need to spend 4 business days getting the regular Chinese visa
  • There's an option called the 5-day visa on arrival that you can get at the border that most people are eligible for. This visa is good for both business or tourism, but you're only allowed to visit Shenzhen and its surrounding area (so, no you can't go to Guangzhou, for example, even though it's super close)


Eligibility for the Shenzhen 5-day visa on arrival:

  • Most nationalities can get it. There are some caveats:
  • It's NOT eligible for citizens of these countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Cameroon, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Indonesia (since 2017), Israel, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Malaysia (since 2017), Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines (since 2017), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Sudan, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
  • Regardless of your citizenship, if you have a stamp in your passport from these countries, you may get denied visa on arrival: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Cameroon, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Uganda, Yemen
  • If your passport is very new (issued within 1 year), or if it's completely blank, you may get denied visa on arrival. Solution for this situation is to bring your previous passport along
  • Your passport needs to have 6 months of remaining validity and at least 1 blank page
  • Finally, make sure you have with you the entry slip when you arrived into Hong Kong. (As you enter Hong Kong you don't get stamp now, but a slip instead)


Restrictions of the visa

  • You can stay in China for up to 5 days, i.e. 120 hours. But the counter starts at midnight after you've entered China. For example, if you entered China at 2pm on Monday, the counter starts 10 hours after you arrival, at midnight between Monday and Tuesday. You need to leave before midnight between Saturday and Sunday, effectively legally staying in China for 130 hours
  • Note that you don't need to go back to Hong Kong by land. With this visa you are allowed to fly out of the Shenzhen airport to anywhere outside of China. And, your flight must go direct to another country (HK and Macau are considered another country for this purpose), and can't connect through another mainland Chinese city. So you can't fly Shenzhen -> Beijing -> LA, for example, but you can do Shenzhen -> Hong Kong -> LA or Shenzhen -> Tokyo -> LA
  • You can only go to Shenzhen and its surrounding rural area. If your questions is, how would they find out if you visit other cities, the short answer is that almost all intercity trains, buses and guided tours require IDs to purchase and they would check for your visa. Even if you manage to get to other cities by taxi, all hotels (even AirBNB) require passport to check in
  • This visa can't be extended and it's strictly single entry


Cost and fees for the 5-day visa on arrival

  • Varies by country. For most countries it's ¥168 (US$25), for UK citizens it's ¥314 (£35), for US citizens it's ¥956 (US$138)
  • Payment is by cash RMB (Hong Kong dollars are not accepted), or credit card (Visa or American Express, MasterCard is not accepted). There's never guarantee that credit card's going to work so have cash RMB to be safe
  • There are ATMs and currency exchange at the border crossing, but the rates aren't great. You're better off exchanging RMB in Hong Kong's city center


Where to get the visa on arrival

  • You can only get this at two land border crossings between Hong Kong and China: Luohu Port (罗湖口岸), and Huanggang Port (皇岗口岸)
  • Most people (and I recommend) get this visa at the Luohu Port, because transportation links on both sides of the border is excellent here. You take the MTR train from downtown Hong Kong to Lo Wu station, cross the border, then hop on the Shenzhen metro at Luohu station
  • By comparison, Huanggang Port is not next to any metro station on either side of the border, and it requires taking bus or taxi from the Lok Ma Chau station on the HK side and Futian station on Shenzhen side
  • Finally, you cannot get this visa at the Shenzhen airport. This visa on arrival is only available at the two land crossings specified above


When to get the visa on arrival

  • Luohu Port: 7am to 11:30pm every day
  • Huanggang Port: 24 hours a day, every day of the year


How long does it take to get the visa on arrival

  • Most of the time very quick
  • Unless you go on a public holiday in China, it takes anywhere between 10-30 minutes
  • If you go on a holiday, especially around Chinese New Year (usually sometime in Feb or Mar), it can take 1-3 hours


Steps to get the visa on arrival

  1. Bring with you: your passport, your Hong Kong entry slip, cash RMB, and a pen
  2. Take the MTR to Lo Wu station. Costs 49 HKD ($6.5 USD) and takes 60 minutes from Central station in downtown Hong Kong (use this handy trip planner here)
  3. Exit the Lo Wu station, and follow the signs to go through the Hong Kong exit customs
  4. Keep going towards China. Before you enter through Chinese customs, look for a blue sign that says "Port Visa" above you:User submitted photo of Hong Kong
  5. Go upstairs to the 2nd floor and go to the visa office
  6. At the entrance of the visa office, use one of the photo booths there to take a photo of yourself for free
  7. Just inside the entrance, press the button on the little machine to get a queueing ticket with a number on it
  8. Grab this form and fill it out while you wait for your number to be called (if you going to Shenzhen just for a day trip, write "Shenzhen" on the address field:User submitted photo of Hong Kong
  9. Wait for your number to be called. Then just follow the officers' directions from there
  10. Once you have your passport back, go back downstairs and go through the Chinese customs. Note that you'll still need to fill out the yellow arrival card to go to China at this stage.
  11. Once you go through the customs, you're in China! You can get to anywhere in Shenzhen from the Luohu metro station right there