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Do I need a VISA?

Do I need a VISA?

Old Jan 16, 18, 12:10 pm
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Do I need a VISA?

I am flying to Beijing in 10 days on a mileage run. I have 2 scheduled hours in PEK before I get on a return flight. I do not plan to leave the airport. Is it advisable to get a VISA or is this not really necessary?
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Old Jan 16, 18, 12:32 pm
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Simple answer is yes you need a visa. The airline likely won't permit you to fly without one as you cannot take advantage of TWOV.
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Old Jan 16, 18, 12:35 pm
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It is not a case of being advisable, you definitely need a visa for China if you are flying directly to and from PEK to the US. They won't let you board your flight from the US to PEK if you dont have a visa for China. The only way you can void getting a visa is if you are flying from country A into China, and onto country B. They have a concept of transit-without-visa (TWOV).

China 24, 72, and 144 hour Transit Without Visa ("TWOV") rules master thread

Last edited by sooge_sj; Jan 16, 18 at 2:11 pm
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Old Jan 16, 18, 12:39 pm
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Whats' your route?
If you flight is something like LAX-PEK-LAX, then you need a visa.
If it's something like LAX-PEK-ICN-LAX, then you may qualified for TWOV, but I am not sure about that since you probably won't leave ICN either.
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Old Jan 16, 18, 1:42 pm
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It's YYZ-DTW-PEK-DTW-YYZ so yes it sounds like I'm going to need a visa. Since I'm new to all this, do I just follow the standard procedure on the China Embassy website?
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Old Jan 16, 18, 7:47 pm
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Originally Posted by mtu_flyer View Post
It's YYZ-DTW-PEK-DTW-YYZ so yes it sounds like I'm going to need a visa. Since I'm new to all this, do I just follow the standard procedure on the China Embassy website?
Pretty much.

There are services that do the whole process for you fairly quickly but charge a hefty fee. Ended up around $250 for me.
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Old Jan 16, 18, 8:17 pm
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The problem is, the Chinese Embassy/Consulates don't accept mail-in applications. If you can't manage to hand the application in yourself or pester a friend to do it, then you have to pay an agency to do the legwork.
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Old Jan 17, 18, 1:15 am
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Originally Posted by mtu_flyer View Post
It's YYZ-DTW-PEK-DTW-YYZ so yes it sounds like I'm going to need a visa.
Good thing PRC has a consulate in Toronto, and also operates a visa processing office. Make yourself two passport photos, print out your travel itinerary, and do this right away. There is still time.

added: Just looked at your profile -- If you are a U.S. passport holder living in Michigan, then your assigned consulate for visa processing is in Chicago. Either get there pronto for a day or two, or find a local China visa agent. You don't have much time.

Last edited by sinoflyer; Jan 17, 18 at 1:22 am Reason: added
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Old Jan 17, 18, 1:19 am
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You can also book a fully refundable PEK-SIN ticket (or any other 3rd location ticket outside China and not being DTW) and use that to get on the flight (using the TWOV). Use the ticket to get on the flight to PEK, clear customs, change your mind, etc.
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Old Jan 17, 18, 2:04 am
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Originally Posted by Another user name to remember View Post
You can also book a fully refundable PEK-SIN ticket (or any other 3rd location ticket outside China and not being DTW) and use that to get on the flight (using the TWOV).
This is an absolutely irresponsible advise. Have you done this yourself? OP can certainly receive TWOV with the PEK-SIN ticket, but how do you suppose OP would be able to check into the return PEK-DTW flight when their TWOV is designated for continuation to SIN? Are you suggesting that OP should toy with Chinese bureaucracy can like you can in liberal democracies? "I change my mind" is not going to sway one single official in the interrogation room. Be prepared to use that PEK-SIN ticket, and be prepared to buy a oneway SIN-YYZ ticket to get back home.
codex57, drewguy and RolfD like this.
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Old Jan 17, 18, 5:30 am
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"A foreign citizen who is transiting through China by air is exempted from a visa if he/she will stay only inside the airport (without entering the boder control) for no more than 24 hours and has a valid connecting ticket with confirmed seating on an international flight."

Visa-free Entry into Mainland China

Introduction to Chinese Visa ? Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United States of America (here is the same info on the USA Chinese Embassy website with a list of countries)

So for the OP assuming he can get a boarding pass from a transit desk, mobile boarding pass or get one at the point of origin then no visa is required. Those details are from the Chineses embassy in Australia but I'd guess for most it would be the same. I'd suggest just double checking prior to travel (with your countries Chinese embassy) and having printed copies of the details stating no visa and also your airline tickets.

Last edited by henrus; Jan 17, 18 at 6:42 am
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Old Jan 17, 18, 6:18 am
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Henrus, that is not true. You have to be transiting China and that means you are en route to a third country. The OP is returning to the country from where s/he came. That is not transit for these purposes. A visa will be required.
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Old Jan 17, 18, 6:39 am
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Originally Posted by mtu_flyer View Post
It's YYZ-DTW-PEK-DTW-YYZ so yes it sounds like I'm going to need a visa. Since I'm new to all this, do I just follow the standard procedure on the China Embassy website?

just go go to the Chinese consulate on Saint George street (annex) and apply for a visa, you do not want to take any unnecessary risk when traveling to China

the visa is a process is easy and fast, you could also pay a little bit more and get the visa the next day
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Old Jan 17, 18, 6:45 am
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Originally Posted by sinoflyer View Post
This is an absolutely irresponsible advise. Have you done this yourself? OP can certainly receive TWOV with the PEK-SIN ticket, but how do you suppose OP would be able to check into the return PEK-DTW flight when their TWOV is designated for continuation to SIN? Are you suggesting that OP should toy with Chinese bureaucracy can like you can in liberal democracies? "I change my mind" is not going to sway one single official in the interrogation room. Be prepared to use that PEK-SIN ticket, and be prepared to buy a oneway SIN-YYZ ticket to get back home.

excellent comment, also the transit visa only apply when you flight from country a to China and leave to country c and do not flight back to China!. Like you pointed in your comment the OP should avoid this type of risks
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Old Jan 17, 18, 8:01 am
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Plus, there are special rules that carve out exceptions to the general TWOV rule, like the special rules for Guangzhou and Urumqi and the limits on Americans transiting at some airports and the ban on TWOV at Shenzhen and a few other places.
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