Temporary visas for Shenzhen are issued for tourism purposes only. In the article below, we go into further details and update the information offered in our previous article on business visas, as well as give answers to the following questions.
How to Obtain the 5-Days Visa (VOA) for Shenzhen – Index
- Why visit Shenzhen?
- Who can get a temporary visa for Shenzhen?
- Where can I get a temporary visa for Shenzhen?
- What are the requirements for obtaining a temporary visa and how much does it cost?
- How long does the temporary visa last and how many entries does it allow?
- What are the steps for requesting a visa?
- With this temporary visa, can I visit other Chinese cities in addition to Shenzhen?
- Can I get this visa at my embassy or consulate?
- Does this visa allow me to work in China?
- Can I get a similar visa at the border between Macao and Zhuhai?
Why visit Shenzhen?
Shenzhen, known as the Silicon Valley of Asia, is one of the largest and most industrialized cities in the Canton province, and is adjacent to the Hong Kong special administrative region.
In addition to its tourism interest, Shenzhen is one of the special economic zones within China, which turns this city into a very attractive destination for both local and foreign businesses due to its special taxation regime, although it is still dependent on the Beijing central government.
Who can apply for this visa?
There is no official list of nationalities that can apply for this type of visa, and the conditions for obtaining it can vary without prior notice depending on the specific circumstances at the time of requesting the visa.
One example of this is French citizens. For years, they were unable to obtain this visa due to diplomatic tensions between the two countries. The latest information available says that now, French people are, in fact, able to obtain this type of visa.
Below is an (unofficial) list of countries based on whether their citizens can apply for this type of visa or not.
- Countries whose citizens can apply for the temporary visa : The majority of European countries, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries
- Countries whose citizens can apply for the visa with restrictions (by showing passports with visas previously issued by the Chinese government): Indonesia and the Philippines.
- Countries whose citizens are unable to apply for this type of visa: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Cameroon, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Uganda, and Yemen.
For the countries that aren’t mentioned, we don’t have reliable information on their situation, but it is most likely that they are in one of the first two situations. To get a general idea of the situation, check out the list of countries that can apply for a transit visa exception.
Where can I get a temporary visa for Shenzhen?
The 5-day visa for Shenzhen can be obtained at the Lo Wu (Luohu) border crossing between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Keep in mind that many other border crossings between Hong Kong and Shenzhen still don’t have an office for issuing this type of visa, so, it’s recommendable to cross at Lo Wu.
In theory, you can also get this visa at the Huanggang Port, Shekou Port, and Fuyong Port border crossings. Nonetheless, information on this is unclear.
What are the requirements for obtaining a temporary visa and how much does it cost?
The requirements are the following:
- A valid passport with at least two free pages and 6 months’ remaining validity;
- The immigration form obtained upon entering Hong Kong.
- The immigration form to enter China: You can get this form and fill it out at the Lo Wu border crossing.
- 168 Chinese Yuan (CNY): It is recommendable to bring Yuan in cash as well as to take extra in case they change the cost without prior notice. Also, note that for citizens of some countries it may be more expensive.
- You don’t have to take a photograph as they take one when you apply.
How long does the temporary visa last and how many entries does it allow?
This visa allows you to move freely around the city and industrial area of Shenzhen. Given that it is only single-entry, if you want to go there multiple times, we also recommend that you check out a multiple-entry visa, which you can obtain at the Chinese embassy in your country.
What are the steps for applying for this type of visa?
From Hong Kong, take the subway to the Lo Wu stop, where you will find a border crossing (hours of operation: 06:00 to 00:00).
Without leaving the station, follow the signs in English. Look for the Visitors signs (Other than Mainland Visitors).
When you arrive at the first checkpoint, hand over your passport along with the white Hong Kong immigration form. They will take this form away from you, as you are exiting Hong Kong. Continue to walk along the main walkway. When you get to the end, you will see a large number of passport checkpoints for entry into China.
When these checkpoints are just in front of you, turn to the left and go up an escalator. On the left-hand side, you will see a booth with visa application forms. Fill one out and move on to the glass room to your right.
The first thing that you need to do is to take a ticket for the lineup. There is a machine at the entrance to the room. Wait until they call you from one of the windows, probably the third one to the right. You will have to go to three windows with 3 police agents that most likely won’t speak English, and who will ask for the following:
First of all, they are going to ask for your passport and the ticket from the machine and will tell you to look at the camera on the other side of the window. Next, you go to the window to the right, pay for the visa (168 Yuan), pick up your ticket and wait for them to call you from the third window, where you will pick up your passport with the visa.
Once you have everything, go down the stairs and fill out the Chinese entry form before heading to one of the border agents. Once you’re there, they will take away part of the arrival card and part of the departure card, which you will keep until leaving the country.
With the temporary visa, can I travel to other Chinese cities than Shenzhen?
This visa only allows you to travel in the Shenzhen special economic zone, which includes the city of Shenzhen, Shekou, and the factories located in the surrounding countryside.
Can I get this visa at my embassy or consulate?
No. You have to request this visa at the time of crossing at the Lo Wu border crossing.
Does this visa allow me to work in China?
No, it is only a tourist visa.
Can I get a similar visa at the border crossing between Macao and Zhuhai?
Yes. In Macao, and in particular, at the Gongbei Port border crossing, you can get a 3-day visa exclusively for visiting Zhuhai.
The requirements, the application process, and the price are the same as for Shenzhen.
Photo Credits: Photos by Daniel De La Fuente