Transit visas

Old Sep 15, 18, 11:10 pm
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Transit visas

The most popular thread in our forum is TWOV: China 24, 72, and 144 hour Transit Without Visa ("TWOV") rules master thread

But, I want to discuss transit visas here:
1. Pretty much everyone is qualified for 24 hour visa free transit in China
2. Most of us can also get 144/72 hour permits for an increasing number of cities
3. I would be insane for a US citizen to apply for a G visa because the cost is the same as all other visas
4. But, #3 doesn't apply to all countries; if you can get a G visa for $20, it is probably better than TWOV (e.g. 1 year validity, 7 day stay limits, and you can move around freely)
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Old Sep 16, 18, 6:50 am
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You should begin by specifying that there are no transit it visas. It TWOV or you get a visa. You should also specify that you are not guaranteed a TWOV, depending on government relations at the time, the whim of immigration officials, and GAs not knowing the policies in your origination country. Not doing one's homework can lead to a very expensive lesson.
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Old Sep 16, 18, 8:03 am
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Originally Posted by Uncle Nonny View Post
You should begin by specifying that there are no transit it visas. It TWOV or you get a visa. You should also specify that you are not guaranteed a TWOV, depending on government relations at the time, the whim of immigration officials, and GAs not knowing the policies in your origination country. Not doing one's homework can lead to a very expensive lesson.
I would not have started this thread if transit visas were't still not on offer,

I am MUCH more informed than you about this topic,

Last edited by moondog; Sep 16, 18 at 8:10 am
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Old Sep 16, 18, 8:20 am
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Ok. Enjoy.
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Old Sep 16, 18, 8:32 am
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Originally Posted by Uncle Nonny View Post
You should begin by specifying that there are no transit it visas. It TWOV or you get a visa. You should also specify that you are not guaranteed a TWOV, depending on government relations at the time, the whim of immigration officials, and GAs not knowing the policies in your origination country. Not doing one's homework can lead to a very expensive lesson.
Of course there is such a thing as a transit visa.
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Old Sep 16, 18, 10:20 am
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Originally Posted by Uncle Nonny View Post
Ok. Enjoy.
G visas certainly still exist, and are often preferable to TWOW for people from non-Western countries.
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Old Sep 16, 18, 11:08 am
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FlyerTalk is very western country-centered, but Chinese transit visas exist and have always existed. These particular visas, now designated as type G, and obtainable in advance as per any other Chinese visa, would be uncommon for a citizen from a developed country to get since TWOV started AND since regular Chinese tourist and business visas are pretty easy to come by. And as pointed out above, the cost of a transit visa is the same as a tourist/business visa for a given nationality, so why would anyone settle for less? I'm sure there are some theoretical scenarios we could come up with where certain specific developed-country travelers might need to get a transit visa, but those apply to such a minuscule number of people, why bother?

However, for citizens of some developing countries--including certain neighbors--the Chinese still do grant transit visas. Typically they do this when the traveler needs to cross or enter/leave China but TWOV is not available, and the burden of application proof and support documentation for a regular tourist or business visa is difficult to meet. For citizens of many of these countries, in addition to the regular application that all of us encounter to get a regular visa, there is an extra burden of obtaining an official invitation letter from a Chinese governmental authority, something that westerners don't have to deal with. The transit visa does not require this--AFAIK it only requires the transportation involved in the transiting across Chinese land borders or airports. It is a convenient mechanism that allows the Chinese to limit the time presence (generally given for 3 to 7 days) of said national without completely shutting the doors, which is a diplomatic gesture.

Here's an example where I've met the protagonists first hand: Pakistani traders that cross the land border to China and use the KKH highway via Kashgar to get to the border with Kyrgystan. Not farfetched, probably happens on a weekly basis during seasons where the Khunjerab Pass is open. They use G transit visas, usually double entry (or maybe an Exit and Re-entry Permit which amounts to the same thing) so they can do the return trip on one visa. China is a big place with lots of possible permutations for travel entries and exits, and their current visa option array attempts to take all this into account.

But it can also be used at airports in lieu of TWOV. For instance, a Sri Lankan citizen wanting to transit China/Shanghai on the way to USA. TWOV is not available to Sri Lankans, so the solution is a G transit visa, received from the Chinese Embassy in advance of travel. If the terms of the G allow for 7 days, the Sri Lankan passenger would be free to explore China during that time period, and not be bound by the geographic limitations of TWOV since it is a real visa.
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Last edited by jiejie; Sep 16, 18 at 11:21 am
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Old Sep 16, 18, 11:23 am
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I'd worry that the same airlines (DL, I'm looking at you) and GAs who have problems with reading TWOV rules on TIMATIC and insist that transit means something like a same day connection will also reject people with transit visas on the grounds that they're not transiting if they're staying more than a few hours.
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Old Sep 16, 18, 6:29 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I'd worry that the same airlines (DL, I'm looking at you) and GAs who have problems with reading TWOV rules on TIMATIC and insist that transit means something like a same day connection will also reject people with transit visas on the grounds that they're not transiting if they're staying more than a few hours.


No, not a worry at all. The airline will see a Chinese visa in the passport. It will say Type G but otherwise there is no identifier as to what a G visa is--no "transit" verbiage at all. It's no different than traveling on an L, M, X, Z, C, S, Q visa. All the airline will look for is a valid visa which gets them off the hook. They don't look any further as to the motives/action of the passenger once in China.

Here's an image of a G visa: http://www.jasapengurusanvisachina.c...aut-china.html
Ignore the watermark and overprint covering the passenger information, which is the website's doing, not the Chinese. This particular G is good for 1 entry and 10 days, to be used within 90 days of issue.
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Old Oct 12, 18, 1:06 am
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I am a us citizen flying from san francisco to delhi via china southern. there is a 2 hour layover in wuhan and a 10 hour layover in Guangzhou. Does this qualify for the 24 hour TWOV? I have emailed the chinese embassy as well as the airlines but checking here with the true experts :-)
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Old Oct 16, 18, 12:42 pm
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Originally Posted by pmahensa View Post
I am a us citizen flying from san francisco to delhi via china southern. there is a 2 hour layover in wuhan and a 10 hour layover in Guangzhou. Does this qualify for the 24 hour TWOV? I have emailed the chinese embassy as well as the airlines but checking here with the true experts :-)
This journey sounds like it does qualify for 24 hour TWOV. Measured from arrival in Wuhan to departure from Guangzhou. US citizens are now permitted to use Wuhan as part of a double-stop transit.
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Old Oct 19, 18, 7:34 pm
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Edit: inquiry moved to the TWOV master thread (wiki)

Last edited by Diplomatico; Oct 19, 18 at 8:41 pm
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Old Oct 23, 18, 1:05 pm
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Thank you. We checked with China Southern at SFO airport and they said no need of visa, we can use TWOV. When I call China Southern customer service (based out of China) they say that I need a transit visa. Very confusing!
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Old Oct 23, 18, 3:30 pm
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Originally Posted by pmahensa View Post
Thank you. We checked with China Southern at SFO airport and they said no need of visa, we can use TWOV. When I call China Southern customer service (based out of China) they say that I need a transit visa. Very confusing!
Chinese transit without visa requirements are fairly simple, but very lengthy in their wording. This is mainly due to a string of exceptions and minor variations on eligibility and routing.

Airlines - other than those agents actually at the desk on check-in - are generally not a good source of visa or visa free transit advice. They simply don't know the rules and don't have the time to look them up. Or take the chance they are wrong. So they often advise a visa is necessary even if it's not.

'Official' Chinese TWOV sites are often way out of date. Until recently some were still listing Beijing as only 72-hour TWOV when this changed a long time ago. They also don't necessarily have all the information from the individual provinces who seem to drive their own membership of the TWOV club (with different rules and eligibility between them).

Short answer is to ignore airline or visa site advice and use the resources of somewhere like FlyerTalk to get the most accurate information.
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