Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Asia > China
Reload this Page >

FAQ: PRC Visa-Free Transit (AKA Transit Without Visa or "TWOV")

FAQ: PRC Visa-Free Transit (AKA Transit Without Visa or "TWOV")

    Hide Wikipost
Old May 4, 14, 6:19 pm   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: JDiver
Wiki Link
Wikipost instructions: signed in members can minimize or maximize Wikipost by clicking on [-] or [+] box upper right of post and can edit this Wikipost.

TWOV (Transit Without Visa) - UNDER 24 HOURS: Visa required, except for Holders of confirmed onward tickets for a max. transit [[TIRULES/R32]] time of 24 hours. Transit incl. two stops, with a total transit time of 24 hours, within China (People's Rep.) is permitted.

For other China visa information: China Visa / Visas Master Thread (all you need to know)

From IATA / TIMATIC: "CHINA (PEOPLE'S REP.): (under) 72-HOUR VISA-FREE TRANSIT AT BEIJING, SHANGHAI, GUANGZHOU, AND CHENGDU (ONLY)

In order to avail of 72 hour TWOV, persons must remain in one of these 4 regions, and arrive/depart via air. In other words, flying into Beijing and out of Shanghai is fine for <24 hour transits, but is prohibited for 24-72 hour transits. (moondog, 9/10/2013)

CA175/6 (PEK<->PVG<->SYD), CA177/8 (PEK<->PVG<->MEL), CA155/6 (PEK<->PVG<->SDJ), CA153/4 (PEK<->DLC<->HIJ), CA951/2 (PEK<->DLC<->NRT), CA953/4 (PEK<->DLC<->FUK), CA977/8 (PEK<->XMN<->CGK), CA945/6 (PEK<->CTU<->KHI) and CA905/6 (PEK<->KMG<->RGN) are not non-stop international flights from Beijing; therefore passengers taking these flights do not qualify for the 72-hour visa-free policy in Beijing because the point of entry/exit into China is the intermediate stop, not PEK. Transiting China with these flights is OK without a visa as long as you enter and exit China - intermediate stops included - within 24 hours. If your time in China is over 24 hours, a visa is necessary. (kaimanawa, Jan 2014)

Effective from 1 January 2013, nationals of 45 countries transiting through Beijing (PEK) and Shanghai (PVG and SHA) to a third country (includes Hong Kong or Macau SARs) and holding confirmed onward tickets are permitted to enter China (People's Rep.) without a visa, for max. 72 hours. Passengers must arrive in and depart from the same city. This facility is available for nationals of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Rep., Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland (Rep.), Italy, Japan, Korea (Rep.), Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russian Fed., Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, USA, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and holders of British Citizen passports.+ - 28 Jan 2013, c/o drewguy

"Nationals of USA holding confirmed onward tickets for a max. transit time of 72 hours at Beijing (PEK), Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA) or Shanghai Pudong (PVG), provided arriving in and departing from the same city. " (c/o Akiestar)

China Embassy website: "3. Visitors are not allowed to leave Beijing or Shanghai to other cities during the 72-hour visa-free period. They can only depart Beijing from Capital International Airport (PEK) or Pudong International Airport (PVG) as well as Hongqiao International Airport (SHA)." (c/o anacapamalibu) (You are expected to remain generally within the Port of Entry municipality and to depart from the same POE within 72 hours.)

These are merely advisory summaries and not meant to be comprehensive; please read the thread, with TIMATIC: <star alliance link>; skyteam link> (easier to read), etc.

See China visa FAQ post here
and be aware: China visa requirements and procedures are due to change 1 July 2013.


Note that there's a separate and much shorter thread here in the China forum devoted to TWOV at PVG/Shanghai. It has some details of the airport setup for TWOV at PVG, especially the new 72 hour rule.

Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan are considered 3rd countries for the purpose of TWOV.

This is what constitutes "transit" in the eyes of Chinese officials:

1) You must FLY in from one country and out to a different country NONSTOP
*Cruise ship passengers are reportedly going to get TWOV privileges soon
2) The Chinese only care about the segments that touch PRC soil
-this means that it's totally fine to go to China from the US and back as long as you connect in a third country in one direction
3) For 72 hour TWOV you must arrive and depart from the same Chinese city
4) For 24 hour TWOV, you can arrive and depart from anywhere by plane (e.g. into Guangzhou and out from Wulumuqi is fine)

moondog, 2/2/2014

Print Wikipost

Old Dec 1, 08, 1:59 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Slightly to the left of center
Posts: 3,472
FAQ: PRC Visa-Free Transit (AKA Transit Without Visa or "TWOV")

Hello,
Will be traveling through Shanghai-Pudong airport next month. My stay is 36 hours total. According to the China embassy, stays of less than 48 hours through Pudong airport are Visa-free, provided passenger can show proof of onward travel and is a resident of certain countries, such as the U.S.

Considering a Chinese Visa runs well over $100, this ability to stay Visa-free is a real bonus.

Anyone have any experience showing up in China without a Visa under the visa-free travel rule? I was going to print out the documentation from the embassy website for "proof" but realize policies could change at any time...

http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/hzqz/zgqz/t84242.htm
DBCme is offline  
Old Dec 1, 08, 11:54 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Programs: KL Gold, SQ KF Gold, CX Green
Posts: 7,009
Originally Posted by mikensf74 View Post
Anyone have any experience showing up in China without a Visa under the visa-free travel rule? I was going to print out the documentation from the embassy website for "proof" but realize policies could change at any time...

http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/hzqz/zgqz/t84242.htm
I have done it a few times. (Dutch passport) No problems whatsoever. Show your passport and the onward ticket and you will get your stamp.
Sjoerd is online now  
Old Dec 2, 08, 11:42 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Slightly to the left of center
Posts: 3,472
Originally Posted by Sjoerd View Post
I have done it a few times. (Dutch passport) No problems whatsoever. Show your passport and the onward ticket and you will get your stamp.
Sjoerd, thanks for your response. Glad it's been tried and tested - successfully.
DBCme is offline  
Old Feb 15, 10, 3:59 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: AUS
Programs: AA Plat, UA Gold, HH Diamond
Posts: 47
I also have used the Transit Without Visa program in Shanghai several times. This is with a US passport.

The main thing to be aware of is you need a your departure TICKETS. If you are using an electronic ticket, then a copy of the INVOICE is required. The invoice will show the amount paid and payment method. If you bring a copy of just your itinerary, they will need to check with the Airline to ensure you actually have a paid ticket. This will delay you for at least an hour in immigration.


QUESTION FOR THE EXPERTS: If my departing flight is at 17:00 on a Tuesday, and my arriving flight gets in at 15:15 on Sunday; can I just wait until 17:00 to clear immigration in order to qualify for the "stay in Shanghai for less than 48 hours" rule? If possible, I would prefer to do that rather than arrive at 21:40.
nascar9900 is offline  
Old Feb 15, 10, 6:41 pm
  #5  
Moderator: Luxury Hotels and FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Palo Alto, California,USA
Posts: 17,196
There isn't really much of anywhere to wait before immigration the times I've come into Shanghai. They might not let you just loiter in empty halls for that long, you never know.

And I assume everyone is using an electronic ticket these days, at least for an international flight. So that means that you should bring a copy of the invoice.
RichardInSF is offline  
Old Feb 15, 10, 6:55 pm
  #6  
Ambassador: China
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Malibu Inferno Ground Zero
Programs: UA AA CO
Posts: 4,718
Maybe you should call and ask them.

Shanghai International Airport Co., Ltd.

Tel: (86-21)68341000

or

Shanghai Airport Authority

Tel: (86-21)50554618

They were thinking about extending the transit visa to 7 days for World Expo
starting May 1. But no word on if its going to be approved.
anacapamalibu is offline  
Old Feb 15, 10, 8:42 pm
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 31,267
Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
They might not let you just loiter in empty halls for that long, you never know.
Yeah, that seems like a surefire way to get an invite to one of those back rooms.
moondog is offline  
Old Mar 1, 10, 10:57 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Programs: AA Platinum, ex-UA 1P
Posts: 228
I plan to arrive at Hongqiao from Korea, depart Pudong for SFO two days later. The scheduled times are 1pm arrival, 12:45pm departure.

Is this cutting things too close to qualify for the 48hr visa-free transit?
What would happen if my departure were delayed or cancelled?
Also, what fee, if any, is payable on arrival in Shanghai?

Presumably check-in staff in Seoul will want proof of permission to enter China, would they be satisfied with my US passport + PVG-SFO itinerary (on a separate reservation)?

Thanks for any advice - I'm wondering if I should I be safe and bother with the time+$$ to get a visa.
nycflyer is offline  
Old Mar 1, 10, 7:29 pm
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 31,267
Originally Posted by nycflyer View Post
I plan to arrive at Hongqiao from Korea, depart Pudong for SFO two days later. The scheduled times are 1pm arrival, 12:45pm departure.

Is this cutting things too close to qualify for the 48hr visa-free transit?
I don't think so. Even if your arrival was really early, you'd still leave China within 48 hours (i.e. before 12:45 on day 2).

What would happen if my departure were delayed or cancelled?
While I don't know the answer to this question, PRC authorities tend to be much more chill in real life than they are portrayed in the press.

Also, what fee, if any, is payable on arrival in Shanghai?
Zero.

Presumably check-in staff in Seoul will want proof of permission to enter China, would they be satisfied with my US passport + PVG-SFO itinerary (on a separate reservation)?
They'll use the same system you can find on Delta's website (forget the name) which will confirm that you don't need a visa.
moondog is offline  
Old Mar 1, 10, 8:57 pm
  #10  
Moderator: Luxury Hotels and FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Palo Alto, California,USA
Posts: 17,196
Originally Posted by anacapamalibu View Post
Maybe you should call and ask them.

Shanghai International Airport Co., Ltd.

Tel: (86-21)68341000

or

Shanghai Airport Authority

Tel: (86-21)50554618

They were thinking about extending the transit visa to 7 days for World Expo
starting May 1. But no word on if its going to be approved.
Wow, would that be great, leaves plenty of time for a mini-vacation that doesn't have to be in Shanghai! Here's hoping.
RichardInSF is offline  
Old Apr 2, 10, 11:48 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: New York
Programs: Bonvoy Lifetime Titanium, UA Plat 2MM, LHW Leaders Club, IHG Plat, Hilton Diamond, AS MVP Gold 75K
Posts: 1,108
Originally Posted by mikensf74 View Post
Hello,
Will be traveling through Shanghai-Pudong airport next month. My stay is 36 hours total. According to the China embassy, stays of less than 48 hours through Pudong airport are Visa-free, provided passenger can show proof of onward travel and is a resident of certain countries, such as the U.S.

...

Anyone have any experience showing up in China without a Visa under the visa-free travel rule? ...

http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/hzqz/zgqz/t84242.htm
Does this also work if one is going to Shanghai from the US and returning to the US within 48 hours?
Nevsky is offline  
Old Apr 2, 10, 12:14 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: AUS
Programs: AA Plat, UA Gold, HH Diamond
Posts: 47
Interesting question. The rule says you must have a through ticket - i.e. it cannot be a round trip ticket. But it also says "onward country".

ORD to PVG to ORD would certainly not qualify.

ORG to PVG to LAX might qualify. I would guess it would qualify, but I would call the numbers listed earlier in this thread and ask before trying.

I have done the Transit Without Visa at least 3 times. The problem is not convincing the Chinese Immigration people, the problem is convincing the Airline that the rule exists. American Airlines once argued for over an hour before they let me board the flight.

Also, you must have a copy of your booked flights to prove departure. I once mistakenly brought only the itinerary (without the price and payment information) and it took about an hour for them to finally confirm the onward flights and clear me through immigration.
nascar9900 is offline  
Old Apr 2, 10, 1:03 pm
  #13  
Ambassador: China
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Malibu Inferno Ground Zero
Programs: UA AA CO
Posts: 4,718
Originally Posted by Nevsky View Post
Does this also work if one is going to Shanghai from the US and returning to the US within 48 hours?
Originally Posted by nascar9900 View Post
Interesting question. T
I have done the Transit Without Visa at least 3 times. The problem is not convincing the Chinese Immigration people, the problem is convincing the Airline that the rule exists. American Airlines once argued for over an hour before they let me board the flight.
It might be more of an issue with the airline.
For Example Delta says:
Visa required, except for Nationals of U.S.A., provided
arriving at and departing from Shanghai Hongqiao or Pu Dong
airports only, continuing to a third country within 48 hours
and holding confirmed onward tickets and all documents
required for next destination.


I guess it depends on how they define third country.

They go on to say you are gonna pay too.


Warning:
- Passengers not complying with the entry or transit
regulations will be deported by same or returning aircraft.
Fines for the transporting carriers varying between CNY
500.- and CNY 2,000.- will be levied for each passenger
arriving in China (People's Rep.) without proper travel
documents, with an additional fine which varies between CNY
5,000.- and CNY 10,000.-. NOTE: Immigration is now carrying
out stronger document checks.
anacapamalibu is offline  
Old Apr 2, 10, 8:53 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: PVG
Posts: 694
Originally Posted by anacapamalibu View Post
It might be more of an issue with the airline.
For Example Delta says:
Visa required, except for Nationals of U.S.A., provided
arriving at and departing from Shanghai Hongqiao or Pu Dong
airports only, continuing to a third country within 48 hours
and holding confirmed onward tickets and all documents
required for next destination.


I guess it depends on how they define third country.
The easy solution is to route yourself via NRT/ICN/HKG/YVR on the way back.
tauphi is offline  
Old Apr 2, 10, 9:21 pm
  #15  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 31,267
Originally Posted by nascar9900 View Post
Interesting question. The rule says you must have a through ticket - i.e. it cannot be a round trip ticket. But it also says "onward country".

ORD to PVG to ORD would certainly not qualify.

ORG to PVG to LAX might qualify. I would guess it would qualify, but I would call the numbers listed earlier in this thread and ask before trying.

I have done the Transit Without Visa at least 3 times. The problem is not convincing the Chinese Immigration people, the problem is convincing the Airline that the rule exists. American Airlines once argued for over an hour before they let me board the flight.

Also, you must have a copy of your booked flights to prove departure. I once mistakenly brought only the itinerary (without the price and payment information) and it took about an hour for them to finally confirm the onward flights and clear me through immigration.
I assume you meant to write "ORD" in your second case. Since both ORD and LAX are in the same country, I don't think this is any better than the ORD RT example. Connect in NRT or ICN on the return, however, and you won't have any problems.

ETA: I just realize that tauphi posted the same.

Last edited by moondog; Apr 2, 10 at 9:35 pm
moondog is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: