China without a visa

Old Jun 18, 17, 6:33 pm
  #16  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: LAX
Programs: UA Plat MM, CM Plat, Amex Plat, Hertz CP, Hyatt Globalist, SPG Gold, Vons Club
Posts: 4,759
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Print out the TIMATIC pages for your situation showing that TWOV applies.

ADDED: You should also carry hard copies of your PNRs and ticket receipts (showing ticket number) as well has your hotel reservation confirmation. You will need to show the plane reservations and receipts to Chinese officials at PVG and they might also ask about your hotel arrangements. (You cannot leave the general area of Shanghai during your TWOV stay.)
I remember your posting on another thread about the issues that you had with DL. Your issue helped me allot by reading and understanding what is required..
Flying Machine is offline  
Old Jun 18, 17, 6:39 pm
  #17  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: LAX; AA EXP, MM; HH Gold
Posts: 31,790
Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
When the agent screws up and tries to deny you boarding make sure to politely suggest that they put Japan as the destination and PVG as the transit point into TIMATIC when they look up the rules. That makes a huge difference compared to them putting PVG as the destination and denying you boarding.
Exactly. A+

A couple months ago, a Flyertalker was denied boarding by AA at LAX because the agents were ignorant of the TWOV process. The Flyertalker then purchased thousands of dollars of additional airfare at AA's insistence so they (and their family) could make their trip the next day. What was stunning was how many long-time knowledgeable Flyertalkers said that AA was in the right. Eventually, AA management admitted that the agents were wrong and AA refunded all additional airfare and various consequential and incidental expenses incurred by the Flyertalker.

Lots of people can't seem to process a "transit" that lasts up to 144 hours and instead insist that China is the "destination" because 144 hours is certainly a "stopover" in their mind. China doesn't require visas in certain cases for <144 hour stopovers. China also doesn't care how long (or how short) the transit/stopover in the next city lasts.
FWAAA is offline  
Old Jun 18, 17, 6:40 pm
  #18  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 91,879
Originally Posted by flyerbaby19 View Post
A visa is like $150 for 10 years unlimited entry. Suggest just getting a visa. It's simple, cheap, easy and then if you have flight changes/cancellations etc, you have flexibility.
Plus the big fees for visa service agencies unless you live in a city where's there's a Chinese consulate and you can go in person on two different days, and FedEx back and forth with the visa service agency, photos, etc. BTW, the reciprocity visa fee is $160, not $150.
MSPeconomist is offline  
Old Jun 18, 17, 6:40 pm
  #19  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Programs: UA, Starwood, Priority Club, Hertz, Starbucks Gold Card
Posts: 3,880
Originally Posted by gsalem94122 View Post
Here is the itinerary.

BOS to PVG (14 July -> 15 July, via EWR)
PVG to NRT (17 July)...
This qualifies for TWOV. At this point, there is no point calling UA for reassurance that you won't be denied boarding at the airport. As others have suggested, have a printout of TIMATIC and be prepared to defend the fact that Japan is the the third country in your itinerary. Sad but true, but airport CS agents making their own interpretations of China's TWOV rules is something that you have to plan (i.e budget extra time) for.
sinoflyer is offline  
Old Jun 18, 17, 6:45 pm
  #20  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 91,879
Originally Posted by sinoflyer View Post
This qualifies for TWOV. At this point, there is no point calling UA for reassurance that you won't be denied boarding at the airport. As others have suggested, have a printout of TIMATIC and be prepared to defend the fact that Japan is the the third country in your itinerary. Sad but true, but airport CS agents making their own interpretations of China's TWOV rules is something that you have to plan (i.e budget extra time) for.
Plus there are the wonderful (NOT) airport agents who won't even bother looking at the rules because they "believe" that any USA citizen visiting China requires a visa. Step one is getting them to even check the rules in TIMATIC and step two is getting them to enter China as a transit with something else (like Japan in this example) as the destination. They tend to look at the fare calculation on the ticket and insist that China is the destination unless you've managed to have the ticket written so that China does not appear as the destination. You can sometimes make this work if you stay long enough in Japan, Korea, etc. on your itinerary, or even better (just to make the airline agents happy) stay longer someplace else than in China.

Also, some agents tend to look at the USA Department of State website, which is ridiculous. It's not only not authoritative regarding the entry requirement of other countries for USA citizens, but in the case of China, it's simply wrong.
MSPeconomist is offline  
Old Jun 18, 17, 6:54 pm
  #21  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 14,610
Originally Posted by sinoflyer View Post
This qualifies for TWOV. At this point, there is no point calling UA for reassurance that you won't be denied boarding at the airport. As others have suggested, have a printout of TIMATIC and be prepared to defend the fact that Japan is the the third country in your itinerary. Sad but true, but airport CS agents making their own interpretations of China's TWOV rules is something that you have to plan (i.e budget extra time) for.
Agreed, provided that OP is using a passport from a country valid for the TWOV program. US passports do qualify, but OP doesn't state a nationality.
jsloan is online now  
Old Jun 18, 17, 11:01 pm
  #22  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 575
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Plus the big fees for visa service agencies unless you live in a city where's there's a Chinese consulate and you can go in person on two different days, and FedEx back and forth with the visa service agency, photos, etc. BTW, the reciprocity visa fee is $160, not $150.
I don't think $10 makes a difference in the overall cost of an international trip. I don't think $150 or excuse me $160 makes a difference. I don't know what the fedex or agency fee is, but ok add another $20? I've done both routes before myself...stood in line, and used an agent. Both were relatively painless in the context of reading all the TWOV issue threads. I think the 30 mins you spend in line at the visa office for 10 years and multiple entries is well worth the hassle of what the guy in the AA thread went through.
flyerbaby19 is offline  
Old Jun 19, 17, 12:06 am
  #23  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: LAX/TPE
Programs: CO Platinum 1K, United 1K, SPG LT Platinum, National Executive Elite, Platinum TSA Hater
Posts: 36,095
Originally Posted by flyerbaby19 View Post
I don't think $10 makes a difference in the overall cost of an international trip. I don't think $150 or excuse me $160 makes a difference. I don't know what the fedex or agency fee is, but ok add another $20? I've done both routes before myself...stood in line, and used an agent. Both were relatively painless in the context of reading all the TWOV issue threads. I think the 30 mins you spend in line at the visa office for 10 years and multiple entries is well worth the hassle of what the guy in the AA thread went through.
Why are you suggesting the OP get a visa for a trip where one is not required - it's a huge hassle and unnecessary expense.

To the OP - I've done this before a few times - aside from the good advice already provided regarding print-outs, make sure you budget a minimum of 90 minutes of additional time for no other purpose but to argue this issue at check-in and make sure you are at the boarding gate early, well before boarding and be prepared to argue it yet again.

Do not hesitate about calling a supervisor or manager once you've asked the agent to review Timatic with the proper inputs and they have reviewed your print-outs and they still refuse to check you in or allow you to board. If you feel the agent is not making a sincere effort to resolve their misunderstanding, you need to escalate immediately and be firm and thorough.
bocastephen is online now  
Old Jun 19, 17, 12:22 am
  #24  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 575
Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
Why are you suggesting the OP get a visa for a trip where one is not required - it's a huge hassle and unnecessary expense.

To the OP - I've done this before a few times - aside from the good advice already provided regarding print-outs, make sure you budget a minimum of 90 minutes of additional time for no other purpose but to argue this issue at check-in and make sure you are at the boarding gate early, well before boarding and be prepared to argue it yet again.

Do not hesitate about calling a supervisor or manager once you've asked the agent to review Timatic with the proper inputs and they have reviewed your print-outs and they still refuse to check you in or allow you to board. If you feel the agent is not making a sincere effort to resolve their misunderstanding, you need to escalate immediately and be firm and thorough.
Because there are multiple stories when it's not a straight forward "transit" that agents interpret things differently and you could end up stuck.

I'd recommend the same thing back when you could go to mexico without a passport...get one anyways...it's good for 10 years and you never know what other things you'll use it for (just like a china visa...good for 10 years and you never know when you might come back again).

I give the same recommendations to everyone I know who comes to China. Just go read the AA thread about the guy who got stuck.
flyerbaby19 is offline  
Old Jun 19, 17, 5:14 am
  #25  
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: AVP & PEK
Programs: UA 1K 1.6MM, Hertz PC
Posts: 4,110
Originally Posted by flyerbaby19 View Post
A visa is like $150 for 10 years unlimited entry. Suggest just getting a visa. It's simple, cheap, easy and then if you have flight changes/cancellations etc, you have flexibility.
I actually second this recommendation.
Also to note, the 10-year visa is valid for 10 years even if the current passport expires before the 10 years is up. (You can enter with a new passport and the expired passport containing the visa for the full 10 years.)

~$160 is CHEAP peace-of-mind!
narvik is offline  
Old Jun 19, 17, 7:15 am
  #26  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Silicon wasteland
Programs: UA 1KMM
Posts: 1,211
Originally Posted by narvik View Post
I actually second this recommendation.
Also to note, the 10-year visa is valid for 10 years even if the current passport expires before the 10 years is up. (You can enter with a new passport and the expired passport containing the visa for the full 10 years.)

~$160 is CHEAP peace-of-mind!
FYI -- with a visa processing fee, it turns into ~$220 if you are in the bay area. The only problem for me was finding a week where I was sure not to need the passport!

I suggest going the visa agency since the Chinese consulate is rather picky about getting things right. I believe they caught one correction for my form that would have necessitated a third trip to SFO.

Step 0: Buy your plane tickets and hotel for your trip.
Step 1: Fill out visa form, explicitly ask for 10 year tourist visa (there is no box for it as of January)
Step 2: Go to visa agency and hand over your passport. They will take a picture of you.
Step 3: Wait for 5 days.
Step 4: Go back to visa agency and pay you $$ and wonder why the consulate stuck your visa where they did. Don't try to move it.
Step 5: Enjoy your vacation.
ryman554 is offline  
Old Jun 19, 17, 10:08 am
  #27  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: PVG, FRA, SEA, HEL
Programs: UA Premier Gold
Posts: 4,300
What is not possible is sth. like that.

SEA-NRT-PVG (all on NH)
and then PVG-NRT-SIN (all on NH)

Not allowed, because you arrive from Japan to China and depart back to Japan from China.

What is very problematic is sth. like that:

SFO-PVG (all on UA)
PVG-NRT-SEA (all on NH with an online connection at NRT)

It's problematic is that NRT is not really the destination, the passenger wants to get to by transferring through China.

If you depart from an EU airport and you are denied boarding (for a clear TWOV visa case), you can pocket EUR 600 in EC261/2004 compensation.
warakorn is offline  
Old Jun 19, 17, 10:20 am
  #28  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: JFK/LGA/EWR
Posts: 1,269
Originally Posted by flyerbaby19 View Post
I don't think $10 makes a difference in the overall cost of an international trip. I don't think $150 or excuse me $160 makes a difference. I don't know what the fedex or agency fee is, but ok add another $20?
A visa is $145 and agency fees are on the order of $50-$100 plus delivery fees and that is per person. That's over $800 for a family of 4.
sbjnyc is offline  
Old Jun 19, 17, 12:35 pm
  #29  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 83
Originally Posted by flyerbaby19 View Post
A visa is like $150 for 10 years unlimited entry. Suggest just getting a visa. It's simple, cheap, easy and then if you have flight changes/cancellations etc, you have flexibility.
Yeah... except there are 2 of us and we are in rural cape cod. We'd have to use a service and now we are talking over $400.

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Agreed, provided that OP is using a passport from a country valid for the TWOV program. US passports do qualify, but OP doesn't state a nationality.
Sorry. Yes, we have US Passports.

I was picking up pals in Boston and went a little early to talk to a counter agent. Mixed reviews - they didn't know all the TWOV rules (for instance he said it *had* to be the same ticket). But at least he said they would make it work if it could work.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jun 20, 17 at 11:44 pm Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member -- please use multi-quote
gsalem94122 is offline  
Old Jun 19, 17, 12:41 pm
  #30  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 91,879
Originally Posted by gsalem94122 View Post
Yeah... except there are 2 of us and we are in rural cape cod. We'd have to use a service and now we are talking over $400.
If it's *only* $400 for two Chinese visas, you're getting off cheap. When I checked with visa service agencies, their fees were much higher, although I would have needed some form of expedited service as it can be hard for me to be without a passport for very long.
MSPeconomist is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: