If you meet the following criteria, you can stay up to 72 hours in any of the above cities without a Chinese visa. You can visit the city at your leisure and book a hotel, etc.
The conditions are the following:
- Your transit time is no more than 72 hours as determined by scheduled arrival and departure times (see below for the exception in Guangzhou).
- You have confirmed plane tickets to a third country (for immigration purposes, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are not considered part of China. They have their own exit and entry protocols, including visa requirements. Flights between mainland China and any of these places are considered International and they are deemed to be different countries);
- You enter the country through one of the following: the Beijing Capital Airport, Chengdu Shuangliu Airport, Chongqing Jiangbei Airport, Dalian Zhoushuizi Airport, Guangzhou Baiyun Airport, Shanghai Pudong Airport or Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, Shenyang Taoxian Airport, Xi'an Xianyang Airport;
- You will leave the country by departing from the airport in the same city that you arrived in (for Shanghai you can arrive at one airport and leave from the other);
- Your inbound and outbound flights must not additionally transit through any other Chinese airports on their way to/from one of the above airports (see below examples of what is not acceptable);
- You cannot leave the city/municipality to go to another Chinese city during the 72 hours (except in Guangzhou where you are permitted to travel anywhere in the Guangdong province);
- You must hold a passport of one of the 51 approved countries:
1) Twenty four European Schengen countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland;
2) Thirteen other European countries: Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia (FYROM), and Albania;
3) Six American countries: the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Chile;
4) Two Oceania countries: Australia, and New Zealand;
5) Six Asian countries: Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.