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China 24, 72, and 144 hour Transit Without Visa ("TWOV"), 2024 onwards

Old Jan 13, 2024, 10:15 am
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Last edit by: moondog
Notice: This thread pertains strictly to visa free transit.
China (the PRC) has several programs that permit travelers with most passports to transit in China without the need to obtain a visa for periods of 24, 72, or 144 hours. These policies are commonly referred to as "transit without visa", "TWOV", or "visa free transit". They have almost completely replaced transit visas, but technically aren't visas.

This thread is functionally the same as its archived predecessor:

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/chin...er-thread.html

What's more, the information contained in the wikipost of the previous thread is still (as of 2024) reasonably accurate. However, since that wikipost had evolved into a long and tedious read, we decided to start anew.

Following are summaries of some of the key points:

1. "transit", in the case of all TWOV policies, requires entering and exiting China directly from different countries. For example, USA-China-Japan is okay, while Japan-China-Japan is not, even if you don't actually enter Japan in either direction (i.e. LAX-TYO-SHA is regarded as TYO-SHA).

2. Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau are functionally regarded as separate entities for the sake of TWOV, mean routings such as Hong Kong - Shanghai - Macau are permitted.

3. 24-hour TWOV applies to most combinations of conceivable ports of entries/exits, whereas 72 and 144 TWOV is restricted to travel within specific zones (e.g. if you enter China via Shanghai, you are required to remain within the boundaries of Shanghai/Jiangsu/Zhejiang during your stay and must exit from an approved checkpoint within the same area).

4. Your first port of entry in China establishes your zone, and this is the case even for flights that make intermediate stops within China (e.g. CA154 HIJ-PEK stops in DLC, so if you want 144 TVOW, you need to terminate in Dalian and remain within Liaoning Province, and if terminate in Beijing, you'll need to depart China within 24 hours of your arrival in DLC).

5. Visitors to this thread are welcome to provide specific itineraries for us to comment on here, but we encourage you to query TIMATIC (there are numerous free TIMATIC interfaces available on the internet, some better than others) for your specific case first because approved ports change from time to time and there are some variances based on passport/citizenship.

6. In order to avail of TWOV, you should be prepared to demonstrate compliance with both your inbound transportation provider (almost certainly an airline) and at the arrival border checkpoint. Proof of onward travel within the applicable time frame (i.e. 24, 72, or 144 hours) is essential, so even if your plan is to walk across an approved land border upon exit, you may well be denied boarding if you fail to produce a confirmed onward plane/boat/bus ticket.

7. Proof of accommodation in China is not technically required, BUT reserving a hotel room, for at least the first night, is advisable because doing so preempts "where are you staying?" conversations and staying in a hotel will ensure compliance with the "all foreigners must register with a PSB within 24/72 hours" rule.

8. In some cases (e.g. daytime layovers within the same terminal facility), applicants for 24-hour TWOV might be permitted to transit, but denied permits to enter the country. There are a number of ways to minimize (or completely eliminate) the odds of being denied an entry permit.







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China 24, 72, and 144 hour Transit Without Visa ("TWOV"), 2024 onwards

Old Apr 1, 2024, 5:17 pm
  #226  
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Originally Posted by flyer94
Hi Guys,

Can someone please check my itinerary for a 144hr TWOV... I'm a NZ citizen so I should be eligible passport-wise.

Friday 3rd May: Danang to Shanghai (PVG) via Hanoi (as there was no direct flight from Danang to Shanghai).
Tuesday 7th May: Shanghai (PVG) to AKL flight. This onward flight is booked and confirmed, however, this flight is booked on a seperate ticket and different airline. We also have a hotel booking confirmed for this stay.

Thanks!
That's fine, but if HAN-PVG gets cancelled/delayed, don't accept a reroute through anywhere else in Mainland China (HK is fine, though).
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Old Apr 1, 2024, 6:59 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog
That's fine, but if HAN-PVG gets cancelled/delayed, don't accept a reroute through anywhere else in Mainland China (HK is fine, though).
Unless it's to the same TWOV zone as PVG (such as Hangzhou). Don't even know if that route exists, but it would be eligible for TWOV exiting from PVG.
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Old Apr 1, 2024, 7:54 pm
  #228  
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Originally Posted by YariGuy
Unless it's to the same TWOV zone as PVG (such as Hangzhou). Don't even know if that route exists, but it would be eligible for TWOV exiting from PVG.
I was commenting on HAN-PVG, because two of the three times I booked nonstop flights on that route, I ended up getting rerouted via CAN and XMN. That worked out nicely for me because I didn't need to deal with PVG, but would put a damper on the OP's TWOV plan.
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 12:35 am
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Originally Posted by moondog
I was commenting on HAN-PVG, because two of the three times I booked nonstop flights on that route, I ended up getting rerouted via CAN and XMN. That worked out nicely for me because I didn't need to deal with PVG, but would put a damper on the OP's TWOV plan.
Didn't even think of this but will watch out for sure if we somehow get re-routed. Thanks!
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 2:57 am
  #230  
 
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Planning to fly LHR - Shanghai and stopover for 2-3 nights to explore the city then fly onto Japan from Shanghai. I assume I would qualify for a 72-hour or so TWOV? Is the length of the TWOV calculated by Chinese immigration at the time of arrival depending on scheduled flight departure to Japan?
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 7:06 am
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Originally Posted by higham44
Planning to fly LHR - Shanghai and stopover for 2-3 nights to explore the city then fly onto Japan from Shanghai. I assume I would qualify for a 72-hour or so TWOV? Is the length of the TWOV calculated by Chinese immigration at the time of arrival depending on scheduled flight departure to Japan?
No, 72 or 144 hours depends on the arrival city. In Shanghai, you will get 144 hours.
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 7:26 am
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Originally Posted by IluvSQ
No, 72 or 144 hours depends on the arrival city. In Shanghai, you will get 144 hours.
144 - that is the maximum time limit for the TWOV, but can depart on connecting flight to Tokyo at any time within that maximum?
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 8:19 am
  #233  
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Originally Posted by higham44
144 - that is the maximum time limit for the TWOV, but can depart on connecting flight to Tokyo at any time within that maximum?
What, exactly, do you have in mind?
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 10:13 am
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Originally Posted by moondog
What, exactly, do you have in mind?
Nothing booked as yet, but provisionally arriving in PVG 08.30 local time (Day 1) then two nights in Shanghai before returning to PVG for flight to Japan at 08.50 (Day 3).
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 10:56 am
  #235  
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Originally Posted by higham44
Nothing booked as yet, but provisionally arriving in PVG 08.30 local time (Day 1) then two nights in Shanghai before returning to PVG for flight to Japan at 08.50 (Day 3).
That's fine. You could fly from Hongqiao on day 3 if you don't want to go to PVG.
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 11:13 am
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I do actually wonder what happens if someone "overstays" the 144h TWOV or the 15 days visa free because the Airline cancels the originally booked return flight more or less last minute, as it has just - again - happened with CA 435/6 CKG-BUD-CKG. Afaik they rebooked passengers to CKG via either Budapest or even Germany and Beijing or Shanghai..but still the passengers in China might overstay if they are rebooked CKG-BJS/SHA-BUD or FRA/MUC.

It was possible to book this flight until three or four days ago, two or three days ago it disappeared from the meta-search-engines. This was not the first time this has happened with the Chongqing rotation. Originally I thought it might have been fully booked, but that was not the case:

https://www.flightradar24.com/data/flights/ca435
https://www.flightradar24.com/data/flights/ca436

The other nonstop flight out of Chongqing with Air China to Europe is bound for Helsinki, which is not of much help under these circumstances.

Last edited by wwtknoyb; Apr 3, 2024 at 11:19 am
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 11:33 am
  #237  
 
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Originally Posted by higham44
144 - that is the maximum time limit for the TWOV, but can depart on connecting flight to Tokyo at any time within that maximum?
Yes, that is correct. Maximum is 144 hours ( actually 144 hours from midnight on day of arrival), but you can leave any time prior to that. Again, this is Shanghai-specific information, I would not want other future TWOVers to assume this
applies to all. Some cities have maximum 72 hours, some calculate from arrival time, others from midnight.
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 11:47 am
  #238  
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Originally Posted by wwtknoyb
I do actually wonder what happens if someone "overstays" the 144h TWOV or the 15 days visa free because the Airline cancels the originally booked return flight
If you have extenuating circumstances and relay them to the authorities before your deadline, they can often cut you some slack (e.g. issue a new exit visa or modify your permissions).

The path of least resistance is to figure out a different way to comply with the deadline, though.

If you actually overstay, the penalties range from a slap on the wrist to detention.
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 8:32 pm
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Originally Posted by wwtknoyb
I do actually wonder what happens if someone "overstays" the 144h TWOV or the 15 days visa free because the Airline cancels the originally booked return flight more or less last minute, as it has just - again - happened with CA 435/6 CKG-BUD-CKG.
You'd probably have to go to the local Exit-Entry Administration Bureau and plead your case.
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 9:24 pm
  #240  
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Originally Posted by Palal
You'd probably have to go to the local Exit-Entry Administration Bureau and plead your case.
In Shanghai, at least, you can contact those guys by phone/email/WeChat and there's a good chance that you can avoid a special trip to one of their offices, especially if you only need an extra day or two and/or have a good reason (e.g. Covid positve). At the very least, reaching out to them first will ensure that you show up at the right place at the right time and prepare any supporting documents they request.

The above is absolutely NOT an endorsement of planned overstays. If your airline changes the schedule on you, you should focus your energy on working with them.
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