Information on how to get a Shenzhen Visa can be hard to come by - at least up to date information is - with travel agents, Chinese embassies and your hotel often giving conflicting information on who can and can't get a Shenzhen Visa. We have put together what we believe to be the most concrete information on the Shenzhen Visa situation.
In coordination with the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong and travelers real-life experiences, the information here will be kept updated. If your experience differs from the advice below, please drop us a line and let us know so we can issue an update.
What Is the Shenzhen Visa?
It is a visa on arrival valid only at the Hong Kong and Shenzhen border.
Who Is Eligible?
Most nationalities are eligible for a Shenzhen Visa, but there is notable exception. Citizens of the US and India cannot get a Shenzhen visa. Passport holders from Ireland, New Zealand and Canada can get a Shenzhen visa, and at the current time of writing so can citizens of Australia and the UK.
Where Can I Buy One?
You can only get a Shenzhen Visa at the Shenzhen border with Hong Kong. You can expect queues on certain days.
How Long Is a Shenzhen Visa Valid For?
Shenzhen visas are valid for five days. You absolutely must leave Shenzhen before the five days are up. This type of visa cannot be extended, and if you overstay the visa you will find yourself face to face with China’s Public Security Bureau and facing a hefty fine. You do not have to return to Hong Kong at the end of the visa, but you cannot travel further into China unless you have a valid Chinese Visa.
Where Can I Go With a Shenzhen Visa?
Shenzhen visas are valid for the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, including Shenzhen City, Shekou and most of the factories in the surrounding countryside. Guangzhou is not included in the Shenzhen Visa, nor is the wider Guangdong region.
If you plan to further into China, apply for a full Chinese visa. You need a visa to check into hotels in China, and if the Chinese police find you outside the Shenzhen SEZ with only a Shenzhen Visa, you will be fined and possibly deported.
How Much Do the Visas Cost?
Like prices for a Chinese Visa, prices depend on your nationality; however, the standard rate is HK$215 and applies to most European passport holders, Canadians, and Australians. Prices for UK citizens are substantially higher. You may only pay in Chinese Yuan or Hong Kong dollars.
- Can I buy a Shenzhen visa in advance?
- No, Shenzhen Visas cannot be purchased in advance from an embassy or the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong. They can only be bought at the Hong Kong/Shenzhen border.
- How many times can I travel between Hong Kong and Shenzhen on a Shenzhen Visa?
- Shenzhen Visas are only valid for a single entry. There is no limit on how many Shenzhen visas you can obtain, although, if you want to visit Shenzhen several times you'd be better investing in a multiple entries Chinese Visa.