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Do I need a Visa for Int'l-to-Int'l transit in Chinese Airport?

Do I need a Visa for Int'l-to-Int'l transit in Chinese Airport?

Old Apr 10, 07, 8:14 am
  #1  
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Do I need a Visa for Int'l-to-Int'l transit in Chinese Airport?

Title says it all.
I am looking at an award ticket that is available on the routing ICN-PEK-BKK, but am worried I might need a Chinese Visa ($100+) to connect in Beijing, even though I won't be leaving immigration.
Moondog, do you know? You seem to be well-versed in China air travel. Thanks!
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Old Apr 10, 07, 9:54 am
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It really does depend on your country of citizenship.

http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/hzqz/zgqz/t84242.htm

Scroll down to the bottom.
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Old Apr 10, 07, 12:43 pm
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Originally Posted by kyushuman View Post
Moondog, do you know? You seem to be well-versed in China air travel.
The current answer seems to be, "no," but policies change frequently.

Slightly off topic:

-my preferred award routing to SE Asia is actually PEK-ICN-YYY using DL miles on KE
-availability tends to be great and it's nice to have a way to use those DL miles that sat dormant for years when I lived in the US (where even simple routings like SJC-SLC-JAC were a pipedream)
-in spite of the fact that ICN is a bit of a backtrack for me, I wouldn't trade our situations for the life of me because ICN is a nice place to connect, complete with nice showers and breakfast after those redeye returns
-I can only guess that you're using: *A for twice the miles OR CZ all the way with NW
-if so, I suggest you look into the DL option before taking the plunge
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Old Apr 10, 07, 12:49 pm
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Originally Posted by kyushuman View Post
I won't be leaving immigration.
You'll have no choice in this matter because that's the way things work.

Last edited by moondog; Apr 10, 07 at 7:38 pm
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Old Apr 10, 07, 4:44 pm
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It depends on the airport. If it's Shanghai, no. Beijing, yes (don't ask me why!)
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Old Apr 10, 07, 10:20 pm
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Originally Posted by mcg1000 View Post
It depends on the airport. If it's Shanghai, no. Beijing, yes (don't ask me why!)
Well, we helped a guy pull off SFO-PEK-SIN last fall so Beijing certainly can work.

But, as you suggest, Shanghai has been more accomodating in this respect for quite some time. One possible explanation is that its government is more liberal than Beijing's. Another is that MU has been trying hard to establish PVG as an interational hub (especially the Europe-OZ market) and the airport has been supportive, obviously.
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Old Apr 11, 07, 4:02 am
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Well, we helped a guy pull off SFO-PEK-SIN last fall so Beijing certainly can work.

Another is that MU has been trying hard to establish PVG as an interational hub (especially the Europe-OZ market) and the airport has been supportive, obviously.
I think they'll be failing in that regard.
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Old Apr 11, 07, 4:45 am
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Originally Posted by party_boy View Post
It really does depend on your country of citizenship.

http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/hzqz/zgqz/t84242.htm

Scroll down to the bottom.
I also see: "Visas are not required of aliens , who hold final destination tickets and have booked seats on international airliners flying directly through China, and will stay in a transit city for less than 24 hours without leaving the airport."

SmilingBoy.
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Old Apr 11, 07, 6:08 am
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Originally Posted by SmilingBoy View Post
I also see: "Visas are not required of aliens , who hold final destination tickets and have booked seats on international airliners flying directly through China, and will stay in a transit city for less than 24 hours without leaving the airport."

SmilingBoy.
Hmm... you know, I didn't notice that--and since I'd only be there about 3 hours, I think I'd be fine--I just will be sure to bring the print-out from the Embassy web site just in case there are questions. I'd be doing OZ F ICN-BKK to TG F BKK-ICN.
Thanks for all the replies! If anyone has any specific experience/anecdotes, that'd be great to hear about!
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Old Apr 11, 07, 6:19 am
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a couple of years ago a friend used the " it will be as it says on the website advice" when transiting in PEK from ICN to LHR. They sent him back and he ended up returning via ORD with American. Better to be safe as sorry
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Old Apr 11, 07, 2:57 pm
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A few years ago I flew KUL-PVG-YVR. I was told by both my travel agent and the Chinese Embassy in Malaysia that as a Canadian citizen I did not require a visa since I was simply connecting through. When I arrived at PVG I was promptly taken into custody at immigration for not having the right paperwork. They took my luggage, tickets, and passport and put me in a holding cell. Eventually, the police captain came back, returned all my documents and luggage and escorted me out into the landside section of the terminal, and told me to have a nice day. I looked in my passport and they stamped what amounted to a 24 hour pass.

I then went back in to clear security and was detained yet again for entering into China illegally. Fortunately, the same police captain was walking by and sorted everything out, resulting in a policeman escorting me through security, etc all the way to the Star Alliance lounge.

Now, the crux of this is that although I was flying on a single RTW ticket, I was actually on two different airlines (MH to PVG and AC to YVR) so I did not have a boarding pass for the AC flight when I went through immigration.

The lesson I learned is to always make sure you get a visa anyway. And if they tell you you don't need one, ask them to put it in writing on official embassy letterhead.
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Old Apr 11, 07, 9:18 pm
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Originally Posted by ThirtyOne View Post
They took my luggage, tickets, and passport and put me in a holding cell.
My best friend also got stuck in a holding cell there about 1.5 years ago. He was on his way back from Thailand and, miraculously, managed to misplace his HK ID on the airplane. He was hoping that rest of us would pull some 关系 to get him in, but ended up getting a "free" weekend in HK instead. But, the good news is that he, like youself, now has a cool story under his belt.
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Old Jul 14, 07, 11:14 pm
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Now I'm getting nervous! Phoned the Chinese consulate in Toronto and after lots of recorded messages found out how to apply for visa but not if I needed one. (Couldn't find any way to access a live person.) Called China Tourism office in Toronto instead. They said if I am in PEK airport less than 8 hours and don't leave the airport then visa is unnecessary. But based on the stories above I am going to print out any official Chinese govt info on the web I can find!!! (Leaving in 2 days!)
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Old Jul 15, 07, 1:22 pm
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so in all chinese airports especially PEK, PVG can one connect airside or do you have to clear immigration ?
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Old Jul 15, 07, 6:48 pm
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Originally Posted by UA Fan View Post
so in all chinese airports especially PEK, PVG can one connect airside or do you have to clear immigration ?
Until very recently, the answer was "100%, yes", but I saw a new airside xfer desk (that was staffed with humans) in PEK two weeks ago so times may be changing.
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