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Q&A Concerning 72-hour Transit Visa Exemption for Foreign Nationals
2014/10/30
 

1. What requirements foreign nationals have to meet to apply for the 72-hour transit visa exemption at ports of entry in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu or Chongqing?

Answer: There are 3 requirements: 1) Citizens from the 51 countries under the 72-hour Transit Visa Exemption Program; 2) Foreign nationals with valid international traveling documents and air ticket for a connecting flight with confirmed date of flight and seat for a third country (region) traveling within 72 hours; 3) Transit passengers from the Capital Airport of Beijing, Pudong or Hongqiao Airports of Shanghai, Baiyun Airport of Guangzhou, Shuangliu Airport of Chengdu or Jiangbei Airport of Chongqing for a third country (region).

2. Travelers from what countries may apply for the 72-hour transit visa exemption? How are the countries chosen?

Answer: Travelers from the 51 countries may apply for the 72-hour transit visa exemption, which are: 1) 24 Schengen countries in Europe: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherland, Poland, Portugal, Slovak, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. 2) 13 other European countries:Russia, Great Britain, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania. 6 American countries: The United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile. 4) 2 Oceanian countries: Australia and New Zealand. 5) 6 Asian countries: Republic ofKorea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. The above 45 countries are chosen on the basis of the figures of foreign travelers' entry, stopover and accommodations in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Chongqing in recent years.

3. How can a foreign national that meets the requirements for the 72-hour transit visa exemption apply for it?

Answer: A foreign national that meets the requirements may submit his/her request to the airline company that carries him/her to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu or Chongqing which shall make the application to the border control authorities of the Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu or Chongqing airports that shall grant a temporary entry of a passenger meeting the requirements for transit visa exemption upon verification.

4. Can a traveler apply for the 72-hour transit visa exemption when no exit air ticket is bought at the time of entry but he or she plans to purchase the air ticket for a third country leaving within 72 hours after entry?

Answer: According to the requirements, a foreign national applying for the 72-hour transit visa exemption must hold the air ticket for a connecting flight with confirmed date of flight and seat, i.e., the exit air ticket is already in place before entry. Therefore, this facilitation measure does not apply to a foreign national that does not have a confirmed air ticket for a connecting flight leaving within 72 hours.

5. Does this measure apply to a foreign national coming to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu or Chongqing from a certain country (region) with a confirmed air ticket for flying back to the same country (region) where he or she comes from within 72 hours with confirmed date of flight and seat?

Answer: According to the requirements, the 72-hour transit visa exemption measure is for a foreign national passing through Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu or Chongqing for a third country or region. Therefore this measure does not apply to a passenger, e.g. traveling from New York, USA, and stopping over at Beijing on his/her way to Los Angeles, USA.

6. Can a foreign national leave Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu or Chongqing for another Chinese city after getting the 72-hour transit visa exemption? What should be done in case a foreign national who has the 72-hour transit visa exemption cannot leave China within 72 hours due to some special reason after entry?

Answer: A foreign national with the 72-hour transit visa exemption may not leave the administrative precincts of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu or Chongqing. In case of need to leave the precinct for some special reason, the passenger must apply for a visa to the exit-entry administration department of the municipal public security authorities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu or Chongqing as required by the law.

A foreign national having the 72-hour transit visa exemption should leaveChina within the permitted time. In case of special need to stay longer than 72 hours, the passenger should apply for the relevant visa to the exit-entry administration department of the municipal public security authorities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu or Chongqing before leaving China as required by the law.

In case a foreign national fails to apply for the required visa, he or she shall be dealt with in accordance with the law for illegal residence in China by the exit-entry administration department of the public security authorities or border control station of the location where such an act is found. The border control authorities are entitled to deny his or her application for the 72-hour transit visa exemption via an airline company the next time because of such a breach.

7. In case a foreign national has entered China with the 72-hour transit visa exemption issued by one airport, e.g. the Capital Airport of Beijing, can he or she apply to leaveChina from an airport in Shanghai?

Answer: A foreign national with the 72-hour transit visa exemption is not allowed to leave the city where the stopover is permitted. Therefore, a foreign national obtaining the 72-hour transit visa exemption at airport shall leave China from the airport in the same city within the permitted time of stay and may not leave China from an airport in another city.

8. Can a passenger enter China at the Beijing West Train Station and then leave by air within 72 hours?

Answer: This measure is currently available only at the airports of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Chongqing, which means the 72-hour transit visa exemption in these cities is only applicable to a passenger obtaining it at the airport.

9. In case I have more questions concerning this measure, how can I ask for an answer?

Answer: You may make an inquiry with the border control authorities of the ports of entry in Beijing or Shanghai or leave a message under the column of Asking Questions to the Police on the website of the Ministry of Public Security. Contact phone of the Beijing General Station of Immigration Inspection: 010-56095400; Contact phone of the Shanghai General Station of Immigration Inspection: 021-51105100; Website of the Ministry of Public Security: www.mps.gov.cn.

10. Will the 48-hour transit visa exemption by the Shanghai municipality for certain foreign nationals continue to apply?

Answer: The 48-hour transit visa exemption for certain foreign nationals by theShanghai municipality ceases to apply as from the date of the 72-hour transit visa exemption coming into effect in Shanghai.

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