Shenzhen visas are available in Hong Kong only from the Lo Wu border crossing, the major crossing between Hong Kong and Shenzhen where the Hong Kong subway connects with the Shenzhen subway. The second crossing between Hong Kong and Shenzhen is Lok Ma Chau, but this border crossing does not currently issue Shenzhen visas.
Shenzhen visas cannot be purchased in advance from tour agents, whatever they may claim, and are not available from Chinese Embassies, and the system for purchasing a Shenzhen visa is somewhat strange.
You will first have to pass through Hong Kong immigration, then, as you’re walking across the footbridge, before the Chinese immigration desks, you’ll notice a pair of escalators on the left-hand side. At the top of the escalators is the Shenzhen visa office.
You can usually obtain a visa in a matter of minutes, although expect queues during Hong Kong public holidays, especially the first days of Chinese New Year. The official line is that Hong Kong Immigration will not let you leave Hong Kong without a valid Chinese visa or the ability to buy a Shenzhen visa.
Eligibility and Validity Duration of Shenzhen Visas
Most nationalities are eligible for a Shenzhen Visa, but there is a notable exception for citizens of the United States and India, who cannot get Shenzhen visas. 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 United Kingdom—if you're planning on traveling to Shenzhen, be sure to check out our monthly updated list in this "Who Can Get a Shenzhen Visa" article.
As you can only get a Shenzhen Visa at the Shenzhen border with Hong Kong, you'll want to make sure you are eligible for application. Shenzhen visas are valid for five days, and you absolutely must leave Shenzhen before the five days are up, so plan accordingly if you are able to travel to this exclusive region of Hong Kong.
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 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.
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 a number of times you'd be better investing in a multiple entries 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.
Like prices for a Chinese Visa, prices depend on your nationality; however, the standard price is HK$215 and applies to most European passport holders, Canadians, and Australians; prices for UK citizens are substantially higher.