China has a “Visa-free” transit policy which permits the foreign air passengers to stay in China without a valid visa. This policy allows travelers from 51 countries to transit and stay in 18 cities in China for 3 days (72 hours). The cities which are covered under this policy are “Beijing, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Changsha, Guangzhou, Qingdao, Chengdu, Nanjing, Chongqing, Tianjin, Harbin, Xiamen, Shenyang, Wuhan, Kunming, Guilin, Dalian, and Xian.
Conditions to Obtain 72 Hour Transit Visa:
The 72-hour transit visa can be obtained under certain conditions which are provided by “China Visa-free” policy. These conditions are:
- The 72-hour transit visa is only for the passengers who are traveling to other destination via China. It means if a passenger is traveling to Bangkok from Los Angeles via Beijing, he/she can obtain the transit visa to stay in China for 3 days.
- The transit visa is only for those passengers who are traveling from one country (out of 51 countries) to another destination via China. It means if a person is traveling from Los Angeles to Beijing and back to Los Angeles, he is not eligible for the transit visa.
- If you have a “3rd region” destination, then before checking-in to airline inform the corresponding airline about transit visa, they will forward your request to China airport customs before they land.
- The permit is not for travelers who are traveling within China, for example, if you are traveling from Los Angeles to Beijing to Chengdu then you are not eligible for the transit visa.
- If your 3rd region destitution is either Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan then you can still obtain the transit visa.
Documents Required to Obtain Transit Visa:
If the above-mentioned conditions are fulfilled then you are only one step away from obtaining the transit visa. You need some documents which you need to show at the airport after which you will get the visa. Make sure you have the following documents:
- Visa for the 3rd region country if applicable.
- Ticket for an onward country with seat confirmation
- A fully completed arrival/departure card.
The requirement of “3rd region Visa” has exceptions. If the visa is applicable and required for onward destination then you need to have it but if you are traveling to a country which permits a stay without a visa for certain days then it is not required. For example, Thailand permits a stay of fewer than 30 days without a visa.
Now if you have fulfilled the conditions and have all the required documents then:
- Inform your corresponding airline about your transit visa request.
- Fill the ‘Arrival/departure’ card with name, nationality, gender, passport, visa & flight number, place of issuance, date of birth and your purpose of visit/stay.
- Apply for the 72-hour permit.
- Claim your luggage.
- Go through customs & leave the airport.
China Custom Policies:
- To Claim the luggage the passengers are required to fulfill a “Declaration” form specifying the articles.
- If the passenger has nothing to declare, he/she shall choose “Green Channel” which is “Nothing to Declare.”
- If a passenger has some articles to declare he/she shall select “Red Channel” which is “Goods to Declare”.
- After fulfilling the declaration form the passenger needs to verify it and submit the form to Customs Authorities.
- The passenger must keep the verified declaration form as it will be required at the time of return/departure from China.
- The passengers shall not open/break the baggage seals without prior authorization from customs.
Validation of Permit:
The 72-hour permit has different policies in different cities and areas of China. It has two variations:
- 72-Hours Free Entry Policies:
- The 72-hours permit allows the passengers to travel the whole province, transiting in Guangzhou, Qingdao, and Changsha. The passengers who are transiting in Chongqing, Harbin, Guilin, Wuhan, Kunming, and Xiamen are not allowed to leave the respective transit city. The passengers can travel in Xian and Xianyang if they are transiting at Xian Xianyang Airport.
- Both 72-hour and 144-hour Transit Permit:
- Some cities require both 72-hours and 144-hours transit permit to travel without the visa. If the passengers are transiting in Zhejiang, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei they can implement for 144-hour Visa-free Transit policy and can stay and travel in these places for 144-hours. If the transiting passengers are staying in Dalian or Shenyang with 72-hour & 144-hour transit permits they can travel around the whole province of Liaoning.
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