Chinese island Hainan opens to U.S. visitors without visas

D.J. Eaton
Hainan is home to the southern resort city of Sanya.Photo byDenny RyantoonUnsplash

Americans are now able to enter China’s island province of Hainan for a 30-day stay without a visa, according to Hainan Free Trade Port authorities. Visitors must, however, register with a travel agency on the island at least 48 hours before arriving, the authorities said.

The January 22 announcement said travelers needed to provide the travel agency with copies of their round-trip tickets, hotel reservations, passports and travel itineraries. The announcement included the email addresses and phone numbers of four Hainan travel agencies that served English speakers. On the way to Hainan, visitors were not allowed to make transfers or other stops on Chinese territory, except Hong Kong, the authorities said. They said the same rules applied to visitors from Canada, Mexico and 56 other countries.

Although Hainan Airlines operates from Los Angeles International Airport, San Diego International Airport, San Francisco International Airport and San Jose International Airport, there are no direct flights to Hainan. Hong Kong Airlines and Hainan Airlines offer direct flights to Hainan's Haikou Airport from Hong Kong.

The January 22 announcement did not mention COVID testing. On December 27, 2022, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that, effective January 8, "inbound travelers will need to show a negative nucleic acid test taken within 48 hours prior to departure. The test result will need to be noted in the customs health declaration form. Inbound travelers no longer need to apply for a health code from Chinese embassies or consulates."

China’s national government has made Hainan a Special Economic Zone and Free Trade Zone.

"Hainan is blessed with a picturesque landscape. Its industrial structure focused around tourism and modern services will not only become an advantage and characteristic for the Hainan Free Trade Port, but also coincide with the rapid trade growth in global services and are in line with the development of many ports toward the service sector," said an April 16, 2020 press release from

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