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Experiences with China 72 hour visa-free transit?

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Mattg

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Hi everyone,

I'm going to be stopping over in Beijing for 2 and a 1/2 days on my way to Europe next month. I was just wondering what the procedure was regarding the 72 hour visa-free transit, e.g. do I need to fill out any forms in advance or do I just turn up in Beijing and show them my onward flight booking? What are peoples' experiences?
 

dk4

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It is very simple, don't stress about it.

No additional forms to fill out (by passengers - however check in staff, for your flight to Beijing, will have to enter additional information into their terminals, so have your itinerary handy for them), well sign-posted (PEK T3) desks on the far left of the bank of immigration counters, happy friendly officers when I used it.

Present your passport and itinerary/e-ticket print-out detailing your onward connection out of Beijing to them, then stamp, stamp, stamp and you are on your way. (I flew in on one airline, and out on a different one, and that didn't even present a problem.)
 

dk4

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Oh, and on the incoming passenger declaration card, in the section for visa details, I just wrote "72hr TWOV", and that didn't cause any issues either. (Transit WithOut Visa)
 

sergeyvzn

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very easy. When filling in the arrival card, the purpose of visit should be "transit". Then on arrival go the the far left desk in the immigration desks middle section (not the farthest left desks as they are for transfers, if you go through it you'll end up in the departure area), it's has a huge yellow sign to the effect "Transit without visa 72 hours". They look at your passport and itinerary, stamp you passport and you are done. Catch the train to the end of the T3 terminal to connect to the Airport Express train and you'll very soon be looking at the Mao Mausoleum
 

Cool Cat Phil

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Hi everyone,

I'm going to be stopping over in Beijing for 2 and a 1/2 days on my way to Europe next month. I was just wondering what the procedure was regarding the 72 hour visa-free transit, e.g. do I need to fill out any forms in advance or do I just turn up in Beijing and show them my onward flight booking? What are peoples' experiences?
Sounds like a great Stop over point!

Planning on venturing to the Hidden city by any chance?
 

Mattg

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Sounds like a great Stop over point!

Planning on venturing to the Hidden city by any chance?
Hmm not sure, I was going to allow one day to visit the Great Wall of China and one to see the sights of Beijing, but I may be able to fit that in. Have you been?
 

Mattg

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And thanks guys for the useful information, it's much appreciated and very re-assuring. :)
 

Cool Cat Phil

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Hmm not sure, I was going to allow one day to visit the Great Wall of China and one to see the sights of Beijing, but I may be able to fit that in. Have you been?
Yet to visit China, but the Forbidden City would be amazing to see no doubt, as would the Great Wall of China.
 

MEL_Traveller

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Hi everyone,

I'm going to be stopping over in Beijing for 2 and a 1/2 days on my way to Europe next month. I was just wondering what the procedure was regarding the 72 hour visa-free transit, e.g. do I need to fill out any forms in advance or do I just turn up in Beijing and show them my onward flight booking? What are peoples' experiences?
Jut make sure you are not flying from Australia to PEK with a stop anywhere else in China... such as a transit in Shanghai. There is an Air China flight from MEL for example that has a transit in PVG for one hour (same plane and flight number). That flight is not eligible for 72 hour TWOV in PEK (not sure if there is an equivalent SYD-PVG-PEK flight).
 
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grapefruitmoon

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Jut make sure you are not flying from Australia to PEK with a stop anywhere else in China... such as a transit in Shanghai. There is an Air China flight from MEL for example that has a transit in PVG for one hour (same plane and flight number). That flight is not eligible for 72 hour TWOV in PEK (not sure if there is an equivalent SYD-PVG-PEK flight).
hmm it's quite confused because last time I flied from Ams to Fukuoka, transit somewhere in China for nearly 72 hours and they kept me right upon departure because i didn't have chinese visa. my TI didn't help so I have to buy another ticket transit in Turkey...
 

MEL_Traveller

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hmm it's quite confused because last time I flied from Ams to Fukuoka, transit somewhere in China for nearly 72 hours and they kept me right upon departure because i didn't have chinese visa. my TI didn't help so I have to buy another ticket transit in Turkey...
72 hour transit without visa (TWOV) applies only to a single city in China - no other city may be transited either on the way in or out, even if that transit is just a 'technical' stop.

If you transit any other city, TWOV will be 24 hours only, not 72 hours.

The 24 hours is measured from scheduled arrival at your first city, to scheduled departure at your second city.
 

RooFlyer

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Thanks to the OP and contributors to this thread. I was unaware of the TWOV and it neatly solves an issue for me in planning a trip to Europe later this year.
 

anat0l

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My sister is thinking of visiting a friend in Beijing by taking advantage of the 72 hour transit rule, which saves the time and $100 required to get a tourist visa (especially since the stay is short anyway).

Now problem is we're trying to do this by nesting a short flight (potentially US DM) within a longer US DM itinerary, which puts some constraints on how to lay out this idea. My first idea was that she arrives in NRT, then gets a return NRT-PEK-NRT. But then this violates the 72 hour transit rule because transits are only allowed for foreigners in transit to a third nation.

One idea that came to mind was then to have either the onward or return go via HKG (as a transit), e.g. NRT-PEK (stay under 72 hours)-HKG-NRT. Only problems I foresee with this are (1) is HKG regarded as part of China and thus violates the 72 hour rule based on not flying out of China after Beijing, and (2) if HKG is just a transit, does that mean that the destination is regarded as NRT, which again will violate the 72 hour rule based on not a third nation?

Also, since she is staying with a friend, as I am lead to believe, normally you would need to register your stay even on a 72 hour transit "visa", but if people stay at a hotel the registration is normally completed for them upon check in. So, will my sister need to register at a police station when she visits Beijing, or have I been told something inaccurate?
 

Mattg

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My sister is thinking of visiting a friend in Beijing by taking advantage of the 72 hour transit rule, which saves the time and $100 required to get a tourist visa (especially since the stay is short anyway).

Now problem is we're trying to do this by nesting a short flight (potentially US DM) within a longer US DM itinerary, which puts some constraints on how to lay out this idea. My first idea was that she arrives in NRT, then gets a return NRT-PEK-NRT. But then this violates the 72 hour transit rule because transits are only allowed for foreigners in transit to a third nation.

One idea that came to mind was then to have either the onward or return go via HKG (as a transit), e.g. NRT-PEK (stay under 72 hours)-HKG-NRT. Only problems I foresee with this are (1) is HKG regarded as part of China and thus violates the 72 hour rule based on not flying out of China after Beijing, and (2) if HKG is just a transit, does that mean that the destination is regarded as NRT, which again will violate the 72 hour rule based on not a third nation?

Also, since she is staying with a friend, as I am lead to believe, normally you would need to register your stay even on a 72 hour transit "visa", but if people stay at a hotel the registration is normally completed for them upon check in. So, will my sister need to register at a police station when she visits Beijing, or have I been told something inaccurate?
You have been correctly informed about most of that. She will need to be flying to a third onward country, not the same as the one she just came from. Japan-China-Hong Kong would be an acceptable routing I believe as Hong Kong is not regarded as part of China when it comes to immigration. I'm not sure whether it would make a difference if she was transitting in Hong Kong on the way back to Japan, but I suspect that may cause some problems. Can she overnight in Hong Kong and fly back to NRT on a separate ticket the next day? The Chinese authorities would not need to know about it then. (You need to show your whole ticket when you arrive at the border.)

I believe that is also correct regarding registering at a police station. It's a lot easier if you just stay at a hotel because then the hotel registers for you, but yes, if staying with a friend she would have to do that.
 

sergeyvzn

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No need to register your 72 hr transit visa. Based on personal experience in April.

if it's a US DM award, do it simple - fly Air China. They are still a partner. Do Australia - Beijing - Seoul/Narita/whatever outside China
 

Austman

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I'm not sure whether it would make a difference if she was transitting in Hong Kong on the way back to Japan, but I suspect that may cause some problems. Can she overnight in Hong Kong and fly back to NRT on a separate ticket the next day?
Hong Kong transits are absolutely fine.
 

MEL_Traveller

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You have been correctly informed about most of that. She will need to be flying to a third onward country, not the same as the one she just came from. Japan-China-Hong Kong would be an acceptable routing I believe as Hong Kong is not regarded as part of China when it comes to immigration. I'm not sure whether it would make a difference if she was transitting in Hong Kong on the way back to Japan, but I suspect that may cause some problems. Can she overnight in Hong Kong and fly back to NRT on a separate ticket the next day? The Chinese authorities would not need to know about it then. (You need to show your whole ticket when you arrive at the border.)

I believe that is also correct regarding registering at a police station. It's a lot easier if you just stay at a hotel because then the hotel registers for you, but yes, if staying with a friend she would have to do that.
Chinese immigration only look at the immediate inbound and outbound flights. These must be A-B-C. Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR count as a third country for TWOV (transit without visa). An immediate onward connection from Hong Kong would be fine - as long as its not via China.

As an example - LAX-PEK-LAX is not acceptable, but LAX-PEK-NRT-LAX (immediate connection in NRT for LAX) is fine.

No need to register your 72 hr transit visa. Based on personal experience in April.

if it's a US DM award, do it simple - fly Air China. They are still a partner. Do Australia - Beijing - Seoul/Narita/whatever outside China
It is not a transit visa. It is transit without visa.

There is a requirement that incoming passengers intending to use TWOV are notified to Chinese immigration. However, this is the responsibility of the airline, not the passenger. Some airlines are better at it that others (namely the Chinese ones). Foreign airlines may not pass on the information, and it results in a short delay on arrival as you need to fill out your address and provide contact details for your stay. This adds about 3 minutes to the process and may be undertaken at the supervising immigration booth (rather than the regular booths).

It is fine to have separate tickets for TWOV. Chinese immigration will look only for your next onward flight.
 

sergeyvzn

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[QUOTE
It is not a transit visa. It is transit without visa.

There is a requirement that incoming passengers intending to use TWOV are notified to Chinese immigration. However, this is the responsibility of the airline, not the passenger. Some airlines are better at it that others (namely the Chinese ones). Foreign airlines may not pass on the information, and it results in a short delay on arrival as you need to fill out your address and provide contact details for your stay. This adds about 3 minutes to the process and may be undertaken at the supervising immigration booth (rather than the regular booths).

It is fine to have separate tickets for TWOV. Chinese immigration will look only for your next onward flight.[/QUOTE]

thats what I meant. The "visa" is a tiny stamp in your passport. Air China was not interested at all how long I was going to stay in Beijing. No questions asked about where I was going and whether I was going to stay in Beijing or not (for up to 72 hours). No address or contact details were required on the arrival card, all I wrote was "72 hours transit without visa" and 2 min later my passport was stamped and I was in China
 

MEL_Traveller

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thats what I meant. The "visa" is a tiny stamp in your passport. Air China was not interested at all how long I was going to stay in Beijing. No questions asked about where I was going and whether I was going to stay in Beijing or not (for up to 72 hours). No address or contact details were required on the arrival card, all I wrote was "72 hours transit without visa" and 2 min later my passport was stamped and I was in China
again... it is not a visa stamp, it is a temporary entry permit.

air china would most certainly have been concerned about how long you were going to stay in PEK, over 72 hours they would have denied you boarding. Air China may not have been concerned about your address in Beijing, but any hotel you tried to check-in to would have been. The entry permit will only allow hotels in the beijing municipal region to accept you for a stay. any lodgings outside beijing would have refused you.

it is interesting immigration allowed you entry without any address or contact details however. this is an exception rather than the norm.
 
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