Do I need a special visa for Shenzhen?

I already have a visa to visit China by the end of March and I will be staying in Guangzhou before moving on to Shenzhen for a stay of around 4 days. Do I need a “special” visa to go there? I’ve heard things like since Shenzhen is a Special Economic zone, I need a special visa to be able to enter into Shenzhen. Please explain.

Best Answer – Chosen by Asker

Shenzhen and Guangzhou are both part of China. The quick answer is that once you are inside China (which does require a visa), you do not need any additional permit to travel in between these two cities. You can travel between them as often as you like. A high speed train leaves every fifteen minutes from the East train station in Guangzhou, takes about an hour, and will cost you about 60 RMB each way. (For that matter, once you are inside China, you can travel almost any place inside the country.)

The designation “Special Economic Zone” is kind of like a designation of a “business district” with special taxing rules designed to encourage development, it is not a designation about a border. (At one time, a long time ago, businessmen could get a special visa from Hong Kong just to visit Shenzhen, but those days are past.)

However, both cities are very close to Hong Kong. Your visa is worth talking about in the context of Hong Kong, because you do have to go through passport control to get into Hong Kong from China. An American citizen does not need a visa to get into Hong Kong, but you would need a visa entry for each and every time you enter China from Hong Kong.

I hope you will visit Hong Kong while you are in China, because it’s a great city with a lot to see and do. Some mainland Chinese will tell you that Hong Kong is nothing special, but that’s not true! It’s definitely worth making time to see. If you leave China to visit Hong Kong, then getting back into China after that visit does require another visa entry. Plenty of people have gone to visit Hong Kong during their trip to China and then found that they couldn’t get back into China without waiting for a new China visa!

If you haven’t yet applied for your visa, you should apply for at least a double entry. It’s just a matter of which box you check on the visa application. Even if you don’t plan to use the extra entry (assuming you apply for a double entry), it’s nice to have the option of leaving the country and coming back again. If you have already obtained your visa, you can look at what was issued to see how many visa entries you have. Typically, a tourist visa is either one or two entries, and a business visa will be either one, two, or multiple entries, but in order to know you have to look at it.

If it happens that you only have one entry and you would like to see Hong Kong, generally it is very easy to get a new visa while you are in Hong Kong, but it will take a visa agent one full day to get it for you. What you would do in that event is take the train to Hong Kong, then after you arrive at the train station you give your passport and visa application to a travel agent at one of the agencies inside the train station. You would then pick up your passport from them after you return for your train ride back into China. However, don’t leave China without talking to a travel agency ahead of time to make sure you could get back into the country. As long as you are not working illegally, it shouldn’t be a problem but last year it became significantly more difficult to obtain a visa while in Hong Kong and some tourists were turned away from China during the Olympics. I even heard of one French tour group that had their complete itinerary booked and were planning to get their China visas in Macau, and their visas were denied (this was right after the Olympic torch went through Paris and the Chinese girl was the subject of French protests). The visa agents in Guangzhou and Shenzhen will know if there would be any problem getting a visa. Once you are in China on your last entry, don’t leave the country again (if you want to come back), unless you have some reassurance from a visa agent that you could indeed get a new visa issued.

Macau is another destination that ought not to be overlooked. From Macau, you can also fly very cheaply to other places such as Manilla or Bangkok. … Think about it!

Have a great trip!

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11 Comments on Do I need a special visa for Shenzhen?

  1. I am a Indian , i will be travelling to Shenzhen on a single entry tourist visa somewhere in march 20th 2010. i want to visit hongkong. Do i need a seperate visa for that?

    Also if i go to hongkong then can i get back into shenzhen again? if not can i get a visa in hongkong for the second entry

  2. Dear Sir/Madam
    According to you Itinerary, we have to double entries visa to Shenzhen, however, you only have single entry visa now. So it is impossible so far. You can ask The Commissioner’s Office of China’s Foreign Ministry in the Hong Kong SAR in Hongkong to help you apply for visa when you traveling there; Of course, we can do it for you also, but you have to provide your ID to us.

    Kind Regards

  3. Adarsh mishra // April 16, 2010 at 4:34 pm //

    while coming back from newzealand. i am staying for three days in Hongkong. Do i need Visa to stay for three day in hongkong. second i want to visit shenzhen to check the possibility of importing LCD tv. do i need visa. how to get it. iam from india and will be coming back to india

  4. Dear Sir/Madam

    Where Can I Get a Chinese Visa in Hong Kong?
    The main issuing bodies in Hong Kong are the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a government body, and China Travel Service (CTS), a quasi state travel agent. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs offers cheaper prices but CTS offers full service, walking you through what’s needed step by step.

    The Commissioner’s Office of China’s Foreign Ministry in the Hong Kong SAR

    China Travel Service (Hong Kong) Ltd.

    Kind Regards

  5. balakrishnaP // April 21, 2011 at 1:16 pm //

    I am in china with my wife and kid. We are from India.
    We all 3 have multiple entry business visa for china.
    We are planning to go to shenzhen and then go through Luhu customs to enter Hongkong and see places there and come back to china mainland,chengdu in 3 days.
    1.Is it allowed for Indians ?, do we get on entry visa to hongkong.
    3.if yes,How much would be the visa fee?
    is it possible to give me reply ASAP, as i am planning to go next week.

  6. Dear balakrishnaP

    From Luohu custom, You don’t need visa to enter Hong Kong! And you have the business visa to China, you can come back from Hong Kong to China again!

    You You don’t need pay any charge for the visa Again!

    If you are an Indian passport holder you get 14 days visa free entry in Hong Kong, and you your passport “needs to be valid up to not less than one month on top of the visitor’s intended visit here.

    if you have any question, please feel free to let us know!

    We believe train is a good option for long distance and short distance traveling, which is cheaper and more convenient compared with air plane. Welcome to China!
    If You wanna to book the china train ticket please visit



  7. Hi..I’m anna, indonesian.I will be travelling to Shenzhen but i will visit hongkong first in 15 Jan 2012.

    Do i need visa for hongkong & shenchen? Do i need a seperate visa for that?


  8. soledad v. flores // October 14, 2011 at 9:18 pm //

    i am from philippines, but i work here in hongkong i want to visit shenzhen, will i get a voa in any shenzhen boarders? pliase help, i am planning to visit shenzhen this week! thank you very much for your help!

  9. Hi i am from the netherlands. I arrive in Hong Kong airport at 10 pm. My hotel is inShenzen. Can I sill get a visa or Shenzen somewhere?

  10. asbanthia // February 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm //

    we r 2 people from india visiting hongkong in march end 2013 where we dont need visa,from there we want to visit shenzhen for 24 hrs only on route to macau please guide us on best way to do it and whether we need visa for this short stay in shenzhen if so how much does it cost,where can we get it is it possible to get in hongkong at airport.

  11. andreea calinescu // November 6, 2013 at 8:46 pm //

    Good afternoon,

    Greetings from Bucharest!

    We are 2 friends who are planning for a holiday in Hong Kong and also we want to visit Shenzhen , only for 3 nights, and I am kindly asking you if we can get the visa for Shenzhen Area at the border at LoWu and how much is the visa for 4 days for the Romanian citizens.

    Thank you in advance for your kindly replay.


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