Getting a Visa on Arrival in Shenzhen


Updated October 10, 2017: Information updated thanks to comments from readers! Much appreciated to help the travel community.

Still in effect and strict: 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. If your passport was issued this year, it is imperative you bring an expired passport. We’re 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 travelled to (e.g. Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, etc.)

According to reports, VOA definitely available at Lowu and most likely Huangguang (waiting for more reports for 100% confirmation.) Lowu is the most common crossing via MTR.

VOA is not available at Lok Ma Chau or Shenzhen Bay, you’ll need a traditional visa to go through those ports.

If you must enter China, prepare to apply for a visa via Embassy / Consulate or via China visa agent. VOA is difficult to apply now and you’ll only have a decent chance of an approved VOA if you have an old passport issued a few years ago (or have a both new and old passports) and haven’t travelled to a country deemed risky.

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, Jul 12
  • Britain / UK (304 rmb): Sep 14, Dec 4, Mar 15, Apr 15, Jul 14
  • 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, Aug 24, Sep 25
  • Netherlands (168 rmb): Jan 15, Apr 18
  • Poland (475 rmb): Feb 19
  • Switzerland (168 rmb): Feb 17
  • Canada (168 rmb): Mar 6, May 16, Sep 29
  • 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.


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.



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.

Sometimes it may be more cost effective to get a regular China visa, you can use our partner, Asia Visas, which is a visa agent and can help you obtain your China visa.

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.



Leave a Reply

  • 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

    • Hi Andres,

      Id like to know from which border in shenzhen that u entered and got the voa from? Was it from lo wu or huanggang border? Or any other border?
      Appreciate for the info. Thanks

  • 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?

  • 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!

    • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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 🙂

  • 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?

  • 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

  • Hi
    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.

    • 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

  • 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!

    • 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?

      • 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..

          • Any luck for VOA for Indonesian passport? Is it still available or now still closed for Indonesian?
            I Am planning to go there by end of Jan17, please advise if anyone knws about this info.
            Thank you 🙂

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • ” 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • Hi Julien, have you tried again to go since July? (With French passport)
        I am planning a trip in February and it would make things easier if I can buy the Shenzhen visa again at the border, rather than here where I live in the UK.
        Also, do you know if it can be bought at other ports from HK?
        Many thanks!

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