A mileage run through Beijing or Shanghai, with a stay of a night or two, is now a lot less complex. Beginning January 1, 2013, nationals from 45 countries, including the USA and Canada, may spend up to 72 hours in China’s two major cities without the hassle and expense of obtaining a Chinese visa.
The complexity and expense of a visa to layover in China has been a thorny issue for FT members passing through Beijing or Shanghai and wanting to layover a day or two. In the New Year life will be easier for jet-legged Asian-bound mileage runners, sightseers and business wheelers and dealers. China has extended visa-free stays for up to 72 hours, but only in Beijing and Shanghai (both Hongquiao and Pudong airports). Passengers must hold transit flight tickets to a third nation and third country visas (where required). Passengers must also exit China from the airport they entered and remain within the administrative areas of Beijing and Shanghai for the 72 hours. Nonetheless, it’s like stepping from black and white to color. Here’s a list of the 45 countries.
Air China reports they will offer more flights and services in response to this newly minted ethos. Beijing tourism officials (once a vortex of dysfunction where no one believed in the Protestant work ethic) are coming into the modern world and expect a financial boost from the new no-nonsense regulations.
High-fives all around.