Getting a Visa on Arrival in Shenzhen

Update July 19, 2016: There is no official list of countries that are eligible, only a list of ones that are definitely not allowed to get VOA. You can check comments below and see if others from your country have been successful.

Visa Requirement

For those who need a visa to visit mainland China there are many options – applying in Hong Kong is a common one. If you plan in to visit Shenzhen only when you are in China, and are travelling from Hong Kong, it is also possible to get a visa on arrival at the land border there.

The primary benefit of this is convenience. It is not cheaper than a normal visa. However, it can be processed immediately. So you cut out the waiting time typically needed for a China visa as well as the effort involved in going through the process in Hong Kong.

Valid Passports

Update July 19, 2016: This list changes often and without notice. We cannot guarantee it’s accuracy and there is no official list known. The below is understood to be accurate as of July 19, 2016. If you have experiences different than mentioned, please comment.

Eligible passport holders of most countries can get a VOA in Shenzhen:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • UK
  • Ireland
  • France
  • Spain.

Some may apply for it showing passports with proof that they have been issued Chinese visa before by embassies and consulates, such as Indonesians and Philippines.

Non-eligible passports for Shenzhen VOA

  • USA (apply for a 10 yr multi-entry visa instead.)
  • India
  • Afghanistan
  • Algeria
  • Bahrain
  • Cameroon
  • Egypt
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Israel
  • Lebanon
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Nigeria
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Palestine
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Somalia
  • Sri Lanka
  • Syria
  • Sudan
  • Turkey
  • Uganda
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Yemen.

Leaving Hong Kong

You need to leave Hong Kong at the land border at Lo Wu (a stop on the East Rail MTR line). From there, you can exit HK immigration.


Applying for the Visa

As you walk beyond Chinese customs (after HK immigration) follow the signs for “Foreigners”. There is an escalator just before you would reach the Chinese immigration counters which is clearly signed for “Port Visa”. Take it upstairs and the visa office is right there.

You need to fill out a simple form, which is available at the counter. This requires much less information than a standard Chinese visa application form so should be quicker to complete.

You then need to pay a fee and submit the form, and you will be given a number. After the visa is issued you will be called up to another counter to collect it. When I used this service the visa was issued in five minutes or so, with no queue for submission (unlike if you apply directly at the Chinese visa office in HK, for example).

Visa Type

This is a “Special Economic Zone Tourism Visa”. The visa is valid for five days from the date of issue. So, for example, if it is issued on the 7th of April, it will be valid until the 12th of April. It does not specify how many entries it is valid for, but it is single entry – once you cross the border out of Shenzhen, the visa will be scored through.

Technically this visa is only valid for visits to the Shenzhen area, but I don’t know how they will know if you travel to other areas of China, as long as you leave through the same port.



The cost is the same as the standard China visa cost (which varies by country), so for example for a U.K. passport it costs 314 RMB, French passport 168 RMB

Guest Blogger: Christopher R.


You may also like...

72 Responses

  1. Mak says:

    Please note, India passport holders are not eligible for this five days shenzhen Visa.

  2. Clém says:

    SZ port visa is now available to buy at Lo Wu border for the normal fee of 168rmb to French passport holders. I have done it twice myself in the past two weeks!
    Hope that helps, I didn’t know I was allowed until a travel agency in HK, where I wanted to apply for a full Chinese visa just in order to reach SZ sent me away, informing me about the new rule.

    • MOHAMMED ASLAM says:

      Hi clem. You are lucky. As a French Passport holder. I was not lucky. I am sent back to Hong Kong. Being Indian passport holder I was not allowed 5 day Shenzhen Visa. They said it was a new rule. Their website didn’t mention anything about Indian Passport holders.
      Anyway thanks for responding.

    • Julien says:

      I’m confirming what Clement says for french visa. 168 RMB and done in 15/20 minutes at Lo Wu. No idea if it can be done at Lok Mak Chau too.

  3. Felipe says:

    What about doing this as a German?

  4. jalil says:

    What about Morocco passports?. is there a way to have the updated eligible list for VOA at Shenzhen?

    • There is no official reliable list I’ve found online, it’s always fluid and China changes things whenever they want. It is not on the restricted list so you may be able to get visa.

  5. angel says:

    Is Nepal passport can get visa in shenzhen port ?

  6. Wai says:

    ” Technically this visa is only valid for visits to the Shenzhen area, but I don’t know how they will know if you travel to other areas of China, as long as you leave through the same port.”

    Anybody know what are the consequences when they caught you? I want to go to Guangzhou with this visa..

    • You can probably act dumb, but in China anything can happen. They can kidnap you and bring you to a remote village if they wanted to, as in the case of the missing bookseller.

  7. Benjamin Elting says:

    Hy i am from germany. Is it still possible to get that 5 day visa for shenzhen? A friend in hk told me its not possible anymore since 1st aug 2016. Is that true?

    Thanks for ur reply.

    • c cheng says:

      Hi! I was wondering the same thing as I need to get to Shenzhen for an interview in September. I spoke to a Shenzhen travel guide and she said that you can still get through the border so long as you don’t have a criminal record! I going to take her word for it but it would be great to hear if anyone with a European passport has gotten through the border successfully recently? I hold a British passport.

      • qin says:

        I am same situation with you, I will go to Shenzhen via HK for 2 days business trip, I am a british, wondering if i can apply for landing visa?

  8. Ika says:

    I am from Indonesia and I was sent back to Hongkong although I have 2 issued China visas before. They said this is new rule starting by 1st aug 2016. I also try to apply from Hongkong but they asked for lots of troublesome paper like invitation letter and so on, and since my plan was only to meet a friend for 3 days before I get back to my country, I choose to cancel the trip. It was a disappointment.

  9. Benjamin Elting says:

    can anyone else confirm that its not possible anymore to get a Visa on Arrival(VOA) for 5 days at Lo Wu Crossing?

  10. Hi iam from indonesia.. me in hkog now.. Can get visa in shenzhen port?

    • lisa says:

      I am from Indonesia.. me and my 2 friends want to traveling hongkong-shenzhen-macau for next week. Recently I have read a blog said that VOA shenzhen will be stop for Indonesian passport holder since August until 15sept16. I just want to make surr by stop here to make a question. Please help me is it true?

      • nadya says:

        hi, I am Nadya from Indonesia, i will go to Hongkong in two weeks, I’m wondering where we could find official info about the VOA visa, want to make sure that after 15 Sep it will be back to normal for Indonesian passport holder..

  11. Balage28 says:

    Work – hungarian passport, 168RMB, 15mins.

  12. Oscar says:

    Hi everyone!
    I’ll be in September in HK and I’d like to stay a pair of days in Shenzhen. Does anyone know who has crossed the border recently with this visa if the Spaniards can get this one? I think it’s possible, but I’m not sure.

    Thanks for the help!

  13. Vincent says:

    French passport and 168 Rmb on the 26th august.
    something strange occured for some indians canadian passport holders, the officials sent them back to hk but accepted caucasian looking canadiens.

    • Thanks for your report! That’s terrible that they’re racially profiling, oh wells. China, no explanation for things.

    • sam says:

      salut vincent
      j arrive a hong kong le 15 sept donc peut tu me confirmer que le passport français ais accepter pour le visa de 5 jours ? car il y as peut de temps cela étais interdit pour les passport français .
      merci beaucoup

  14. Yudanata says:

    I have heard that Shenzhen VOA are no longer exist. So we have to apply China visa in our own country. is it true ? By the way I am from Indonesia planning to visit Shenzhen Jan 2nd, 2017

  15. Lee says:

    What time is this office open until?

  16. M. Isaksson says:

    There are additional requirements for Chinese visas for certain nationalities (e.g. Dutch) to submit old passport if current one is newer than 2014 and that you cannot have any stamps to middle eastern countries. As far as I’ve understood these requirements are in place at least until September 15, 2016. Are there any reports that that’s an issue at the SEZ border as well?

  17. Goloh says:

    I was at Lo Wu border station today and saw the (new) list and (new) instructions on the wall at the Port Visa station. Now, USA can get visa on arrival for a very high fee (RMB900+) but Malaysian passport holders no longer can. There are three country groups: (A) “reciprocal arrangement” (RMB 168), (B) permitted entry but at a higher price, and only group (B) countries are listed on the wall.

    As everyone always notes, this list is going to change without notice and day-by-day. Be prepared to be disappointed, or lucky, whatever!

    • Goloh says:

      Of course I should have added group (C) which is the list of definite “NOs” but it does not appear on their wall. You just have to ask them.

    • Jonas Fischer says:

      You didn’t happen to see if Sweden was on the list? *curious as I’m going there this weekend*

      • Anna says:

        Were you able to go Jonas? Another Swede here who needs to go to Shenzhen from HK next week..

        • Jonas Fischer says:

          Yes! It was totally fine, although the queue was really long. They didn’t even hesitate as I stated that I was going for touristing in Shenzhen. But be sure to book a hotel somewhere in Shenzhen so that you’ll have an address for the form you have to fill out!

          Be sure to have 168 RMB ready, as they prefer that over card payment, and if you want to go by metro you need more small cash.

          Shenzhen lacks people who speak english, so if you don’t speak any chinese (as myself) you’re in for an adventure. But everyone is so unbelievably helpful all the time.

          • Anna says:

            Tusen tack, hur länge var du tvungen att köa? I’ll be going just over the day so I hope it’s not a problem that I won’t have a hotel address! Will make sure to get cash and will luckily be met by business partners who will guide me around 🙂

    • sam says:

      please do you know if french passport are ok ?
      thank you

  18. Benjamin Elting says:

    Thx for ur reply. So its a kind of lottery. Thank u Chinese Goverment. U dont know by any chance on what list german and dutch passport-holders are on?

  19. Ewa says:

    Swedish passports no problem today!

    Remember you needs small chinese notes for the metro(5 or 10’s) for the onward trip in China!

  20. Lee says:

    Is it confirmed Malaysis paasport can’t applyvfor Shenzhen VOA?

  21. Andrew says:

    I just went through on UK passport. Very easy

  22. Andres says:

    Hi guys need help here, i am indonesian and now i am in shenzhen successfully get the VOA visa, but i can’t get out from shenzhen to other city(in china), because visa only for staying in shenzhen. Any one knows how to get the full china visa.. Thanks guys

  23. Harry Potter says:

    What time does the visa office close, I hope to travel through at around 10pm?

  24. Lharas says:

    I heard on 1st october border to sz close from lowu HK ? That is true ?

  25. donaldi says:

    mas andre,apa sudah bisa visa voa di lowu?sayamau ke shenzen15 oktober

  26. Thomas says:

    Anyone recently tried on a Belgian or a Slovenian passport? Belgian one has lots of Middle Eastern stamps and will only be valid for 4 months, both of which I understand might be issues.

  27. Elizabeth says:

    Does anyone know if VOA from Hong Kong to Shenzhen is applicable to Australian paasports?

  28. Ivan says:

    Hi, I need an help because I’m from Italy and I will travel to hong kong for going to shenzen (stay less than 5 days) and I would like to know if the VOA is only for travelling by hong kong airport also in returning back flight or if I can go away by shenzen airport directly.
    Thanks for helping
    Best regards

  29. Jose Luis from Spain says:

    Hi everyone, thank you very much for this valuable information about the VOA.
    Know someone the working hours at Lo Wo Port Visa office?

  30. Mics says:

    Hi..I am south African and will be travelling to hong kong with my husband and 2 kids on 20 Dec.I would like to visit Shenzhen for just 2 days and would like to know if I can apply for a visa at Luohu border or should I apply in my home country..If yes..does anyone know how much it will cost at the border..
    Thankyou in advance

  31. Diane says:

    Hi. I’m from Malaysian . Planning to go shenzhen on October 20. Still wondering do Malaysian passport holder can get VOA?

  32. Ad says:

    Hi. I wanted to know the status on Israeli passport holders. I have used Luohu/Lo Wu at least 5/6 times over the last 3/4 years and have never had a problem and pay RMB 168 (except that last time I had a new Israeli passport – got the SEZ Visa no problem – and then had the actual border police person look at my passport with a magnifying glass for 10 minutes to the point I wasn’t sure I’d get admitted [not that I blame her, for a high-tech country, Israeli passports are very low-tech, non-biometric, and the laminate on the picture page is kind of slightly off the paper underneath…]).

    However, I am going back next month and just saw on several websites, including yours, that Israeli passports are not entitled to SEZ visas! Has something changed since my last time in May 2016? It is very hard to tell because none of the internet sources are properly dated. Any help/update would be appreciated.

  33. Dinesh says:

    I am a Singapore Permanent Resident and I am holding INDIAN PASSPORT

    I had travelled many times earlier to Shenzhen for business meetings and I had obtained VOA by paying normal fees 168 RMB.

    I visited Shenzhen through LoWu station today assuming that I will get VOA

    I was asked to go back and apply for Shenzhen Visa in HK at 7th Floor, Lower Block, 26 Harbour Rd, Wan Chai, HK.
    I will check what happens at the Visa Section of the Consular Department of the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in HK tomorrow and update you guys

  34. rtjhin says:

    Update Oct 16th, 2016: I’m holding indonesian passport, was sent back to HK when trying VOA thru Huanggang port. No explanation from official, just saying: ” Just go back” like everyone know, Mainlander is s**ks

  35. Clément Rault says:

    Do you know what happens if I already have another normal Chinese visa but I want keep the entry (for a visit in Peking for ex) and I try to get the 5 day Shenzhen visa? Will they allow me to keep my entry left on my existing visa and use this special visa for Shenzhen?

  36. Lucy says:

    Anyone recently got through on a UK passport? And could you advise the cost? Thanks!

  37. Prithivi says:

    Hi, I am Indian passoport holder visiting HongKong currently. Am I eligible for a 5 day visa on arrival from Lo Wu?

  38. LAY KHENG KUNG says:

    Any Malaysian successfully get VOA ? I’m planning to visit Shenzhen next week on 26 Oct.

  39. Javier Basset says:

    Spanish passport, Visa at Lo Wu done without any problem. Price 168rmb. You can renew again your visa before it expires for 5 days more.

  40. Lynette says:

    Does anyone have info on a South African passport please. SA not mentioned in allowed or non allowed on one day Visa.

  41. Lucy says:

    In reply to my earlier question, very straightforward getting through with a UK passport. Cost is 314RMB and you do not need to have a hotel booked if you are just going shopping for the day

  42. Jen says:

    Hi there,
    does anyone know if I can get the VOA at Huanggang Port with German passport?
    Or are chances higher to go via Luohu?
    Thank you.

  43. Jd says:

    Hi jd here from Philippines I’m planning to go to shenzhen tom just for a day tour in Windows of the world can we get voa

Leave a Reply