72-hour Visa-free Transit
Beijing and Shanghai offers 72-hour visa-free transit for foreign visitors with third-country visas and transit at Beijing.
Foreign visitors, who hold passports issued by the countries on the 72-hour Visa-free Transit Policy List and stay in Beijing for transit for up to 72 hours, could apply for a visa-free transit stay in China at the immigration inspection authority at Beijing Capital International Airport. This policy is only applicable for foreign visitors who enter into, stay in and leave from Beijing.
According to the regulations of Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China, foreign visitors who meet ALL the following requirements could apply for the visa-free transit:
Holding passports issued by the following listed 45 countries,
Holding valid international travel documents,
Qualified for the entry requirements of their third destination country,
Holding valid airline tickets with 72-hour validation and making transit through Beijing Capital International Airport to the third country, and Reported to Chinese immigration inspection authority by their airline companies
72-hour Visa-free Transit Policy is valid for passport holders from the following countries:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar
1. Confirmed flight ticket and valid visa to the third country (if required) are needed for entry. According to presentations by the Exit and Entry Administration of Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB), the 72 hours will be counted from the moment visitors get their transit permits, but not the time when they land at the airport. However, different airlines may have different policies regarding this visa free transit. For example, passengers may be denied boarding their flights if they do not have confirmed tickets for leaving within 72 hours (here the 72 hour can be simply calculated based on scheduled landing and scheduled departure of the flights). So to avoid hassles, transit passengers from said countries are suggested to book a flight ticket for leaving within 72 hours to a third country or region.
2. Visitors are required to register at a police station with their transit permits within 24 hours after entry. (Here it should be clear that the registration will be done when you check in to a hotel. So, personal registration is required only for those who stay at their friends' or family's place.)
Restrictions of the 72-hour Visa-free Transit:
1. This regulation does not apply to passengers who travel on round trip flights (e.g., Hong Kong - Beijing - Hong Kong), which means the destination and place of departure can not be the same. That is to say, only those who make transit through Beijing or Shanghai International Airport to the third country are eligible for this policy.
2. The 72-hour visa-free stay only applies to transit via Airports. Passengers by train or any other vehicles should still apply for a transit visa in advance.
3. For air passengers who are interested to visit Beijing/Shanghai during stopover, they should make sure put forward transit permit requests to the airlines taken in advance, so that the airlines can declare it to the airport customs before landing.
4. Visitors are not allowed to leave Beijing/Shanghai to other cities during the 72-hour visa-free period. They can only depart from the Beijing/Shanghai Airport.
5. If visitors are unable to depart on time due to unavoidable reasons, such as flight cancellation or treatment of sudden disease, they need to apply for a visa from Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB). Otherwise, tourists cannot apply for an extension of stay.
Punishment on Violators:
Visitors from said countries should strictly follow the restrictions above. Violators of Chinese law, shall be warned, fined or detained for a few days depending on the circumstances. Cases of gross violation shall be expelled from China and prohibited re-entry.
Currently, the airports have already optimized the transit formalities with the Customs, the Entry-Exit Inspection & Quarantine Bureau and Frontier Inspection Station. There are service centers for transit passengers in the terminals, offering rest places with drinking water and reading materials if they do not want to leave the airport. For visa-free transit passengers, the airports also provide services for currency exchange, mobile phone rental, car rental, left luggage, as well as local souvenir shops. Tour buses are available from the terminals for the convenience of tourists.