Do I need a visa for a short visit to Shenzhen from HK?

I am currently in Shenzhen and my Visa is a single (1) entry Visa. I flew into SZ and my flight is out of Shenzhen in a few days. I am traveling on my Canadian passport. I have dual citizenship and I have my US residency card with me. I would like to go to HK for a few hours and return to Shenzhen the same day or perhaps next day.


The rules are confusing and constantly changing.  But here is my understanding at the time of writing.

As you have a single entry visa, I fear it would not be possible to go to HK for a few hours then return to SZ unless your return to SZ was also for only a short period as sometimes they offer a visa on demand at the SZ border.  The other problem is that I believe if you get that visa on demand (AKA visa on arrival) you need to exit from the same border where entered with the visa. Since you are flying out, that could be problematic. But that rule could be changing.

I wouldn’t advise going to the visa office in Shenzhen in Luohu District because the waiting time to see a visa officer is very long and they may not even allow you to change your visa status. My co-worker went there on Friday early, lined up and got a ticket for the information desk, then waited 4 more hours for them to tell him to come back on Monday!  You will have better luck exploring your visa options with a HK agent as they moved 1000’s of people across the border each day.

In the past you could arrange the on-demand-visa at the SZ side of the HK-SZ border, but I heard that from 2014 you need to sort out that kind of visa in HK with an agent or government office.  I also believe the visa on demand was good for just 1 day in the past, but from 2014 it appears to be good for a 5 day trip to Shenzhen.  Note that while in China you are not allowed to leave the Shenzhen area on that type of visa.

As mentioned below, the rules are changing all the time so I would suggest you contact a travel agent in HK.  Here are the hotlines for one of the leading agents for cross border visas:    CTS can also organize cross border transportation if you wish to go hotel to hotel nonstop via bus/private car.


 Question answered by Mike Bellamy.

Advisory Board Member & Featured Blogger at the not-for-profit China Sourcing Information Center ( Author of “The Essential Reference Guide to China Sourcing” and founder of PassageMaker Sourcing Solutions.

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