Getting a Visa on Arrival in Shenzhen

Updated June 19, 2017: Additional information added thanks to comments from readers! Much appreciated to help the travel community.

Still in effect: China is requiring visa applicants to show old expired passports. We suggest bringing any old passports with you to China whether or not they have China visas. Assuming this is to check if you’ve traveled to any countries China deems questionable. Heads up, China will blatantly discriminate you based on your appearance or where you’ve been.

If you try crossing at a port other than Lowu, please confirm if you can apply for visa at Huangguang / Lok Ma Chau or Shenzhen Bay and if you needed to show an old passport. General understanding is visa on arrival only available at Lowu border crossing.

Keeping this list up-to-date based on the comments readers have left on the bottom of this post with their experience. Please share your result, whether or not you were able to get a visa at the border with price to help fellow readers, thank you! (Keep in mind this list is no guarantee and only based on comments to this post.)

Yes, passport eligible for Shenzhen visa on arrival:

  • France (168 rmb): June 8, Jul 10, Jan 5, Feb 19, May 13, May 26
  • Britain / UK (304 rmb): Sep 14, Dec 4, Mar 15, Apr 15
  • Hungary: Aug 19
  • USA: Sep 13, Jan 24, Jun 6 (10 yr multi-entry visa cost is same, 956 rmb)
  • Sweden: Sep 21, Feb 22
  • Spain: Oct 23
  • Croatia: Oct 30
  • Israel (168 rmb): Dec 5
  • Ukraine (408 rmb): Dec 5
  • Australia (168 rmb): Jan 14, Apr 14, May 28
  • Netherlands (168 rmb): Jan 15, Apr 18
  • Poland (475 rmb): Feb 19
  • Switzerland (168 rmb): Feb 17
  • Canada (168 rmb): Mar 6, May 16
  • Austrian: Mar 16
  • Romania (512 rmb): Mar 31
  • Germany: Apr 1, May 8

Maybe, reports of success and failure for VOA:

  • Malaysia (169 rmb): Sep 13 No, Dec 29 Yes
  • Canada: Aug 28 Yes/No
  • Philippines: Jan 9 (if had prior China visa,) Jan 17 (Denied despite having China visa prior)
  • UK: Feb 18 (no)
  • Netherlands: Yes Jan 15, No Jan 13 (born in Iran)

No, passport ineligible for Shenzhen visa on arrival:

  • India: May 23, Jun 9, Apr 18
  • Indonesia: Aug 15, Jan 8
  • Morocco: Nov 13, Apr 8

It appears some readers are being discriminated based on looks or where they were born (e.g. Iran or Pakistan,) despite having passports from eligible countries. China immigration will blatantly discriminate individuals and provide no reason for denial. Apply for a visa ahead of time if you must enter China. Do not rely on VOA.

Original Article below:

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, valid for 5 days.

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

This list changes often and without notice. We cannot guarantee it’s accuracy and there is no official list known. If you have experiences different than mentioned, please comment. More accurate list is at top of this post.

Eligible passport holders of many western countries can get a VOA in Shenzhen: refer to top of post for most accurate list.

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.

The below is understood to be accurate as of July 19, 2016.

Non-eligible passports for Shenzhen VOA

  • 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.

SZ VISA

Applying for the Visa

Visa office hours 7:30am-11:30pm

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.

Before you enter the room, exchange money if necessary (suggest you exchange in HK) and use the desk outside to fill out the form. 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.

At the entrance on the right, use the touch screen to get your ticket number. Once your number is called go up and hand over your ticket number, passport(s), and completed form. If all is well, they’ll take your photo, then go back and watch the LED sign for your number.

When called, go to the next booth to pay. Once that’s done, wait again looking at the LED sign for your number to collect your passport. (If you’re travelling with family or friends, you can lump all your passports together under one ticket 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). Traveling over the weekend, you should expect wait times to be longer.

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. Keep in mind, while you can travel to other parts of China, you may be reprimanded if caught and asked to show your visa by the authorities. Many tourists go to Guangzhou for example and come back since there is no passport check to travel domestically via bus/train. Air travel most certainly will require passport check.

SZ VISA 2

Cost

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. Generally China will reciprocate what your country charges for Chinese citizens. The picture below shows prices as of Apr 11, 2017.

General rule of thumb; if you are eligible to get a visa on arrival in Shenzhen, and country is not on the list in the photo below, you’ll pay 168 RMB. Otherwise you pay the listed price or are denied entry.

Shenzhen VOA prices by country

Note, US Citizens have the highest cost, and should apply for a 10 year visa at the same price via Chinese embassy / consulate.

Payment via cash, Visa, American Express, Unionpay. (Mastercard is NOT accepted.)

Guest Blogger: Christopher R.

 

223 Responses

  1. Phil. says:

    Very helpful advices here. thank you very much for sharing. I will have a question tho, I am French (and of course I have a french passport) and I plan to arrive in HK next Thursday (June 29th 2017), my filght from HK back to Indonesia (I am coming from Indonesia) is only late at night on Tuesday 4th, so it will be 6 days total.
    I am wondering if I should stay one overnight in HK and only cross the border on Friday early morning (to get all day in Shenzhen). Or if I can go straight away to the Lowu border and cross the border once, then spend a couples of days there (let’s say until Sunday) come back to HK to the border and go back to Shenzen within a blink of an eye or spend a couple of hours in HK and go back to Shenzen after that. Is it possible of the immigration there will not allow you to go back to Shenzhen as you just come from there in a too short time? Is there anyone who can help me on that matter?
    I do not intend to do it many time but just once too spend the 6 days in shenzhen rather than loose a whole afternoon in HK and spend too much $$$$ because it is expensive there.
    I hope someone could reply to that question. Thank you by advance.

  2. Anonymous@gmail.com says:

    Hi, I just got back from HK. Am M’sian who had previously obtained China Visa and tried to obtain VOA for Shenzhen at Luohu but was declined as I didn’t bring my old passport along. For those who have changed passport, must bring along your old passport with the old visa sticker in it. Hope this helps others.

  3. Kevin says:

    I’m french and it still working for us (26 May, 168 RMB).

  4. Gybacskai says:

    Is there anyone know if I can fly from Shenzhen (and China) if I have a Shenzhen visa only?

    The story is that I have a valid single entry chinese visa, but I would need to go to Hong Kong fron Shenzhen, than back to Shenzhen to fly to Thailand.

    Thanks in advance.

  5. Maureen says:

    I just booked a last minute trip to Hong Kong and want to go over the border to Shenzhen to shop next week. Can I get a 5-day visa in my Canadian passport that expires in October 2017? Is there any requirement of 6 months remaining passport validity or is that only for the multiple entry visas?

  6. Anonymous says:

    A few amendments to the instructions:

    > You then need to pay a fee and submit the form, and you will be given a number.

    Incorrect order at time of writing this comment.

    Before you enter the room, exchange money if necessary and use the desk outside to fill out the form. At the entrance on the right, use the touch screen to get your ticket number. Once your number is called go up and hand over your ticket number, passport, and completed form. If all is well, they’ll take your photo, then go back and watch the LED sign for your number. When called, go to the next booth to pay. Once that’s done, wait again looking at the LED sign for your number to collect your passport.

    Other notables:
    * Weekends are busier than week days – on a Saturday it took me 90 minutes from arriving at Lo Wu MTR, going through the above process and clearing Chinese immigration and customs, with half of that time spent waiting for my number to be called (and the rest spent waiting in line to leave HK and walking).
    * If you’re travelling with family or friends, you can lump all your passports together under one ticket number.
    * I’m Australian, paid 168 RMB.
    * There is a small printed sign at the payment window with prices I believe are not 100% exact with the larger sign pictured above, but are probably more up to date.

  7. ZX says:

    As there is not a obvious boarder between SZ and other cities, have anyone been cross it for a bit? Thanks

    • Christopher R. says:

      Yes people have. Passports get checked at airports and train stations (less thoroughly), hotels (with varying degrees of thoroughness) and when you interact with the police. or when travelling to sensitive areas of the country. If you weren’t in those situations your visa likely wouldn’t come under scrutiny.

  1. June 6, 2017

    […] it online, you will know when you get there, there’s a board listing right outside the office) <Check this website for the price as a reference>, and you will get your single entry visa IMMEDIATELY! The whole process takes around 15 minutes if […]

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