China without a visa

Old Jun 20, 17, 11:52 am
  #46  
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Originally Posted by DiscHandler View Post
You're missing the point. You can harp all you want to the GA about the rules but if they don't let you board, your vacation is @#[email protected]%. Hopefully it all works out, BUT if you don't want to deal with the potential of uninformed GAs, a visa is an option.
Sure, but I would be more worried about United's ability to get you there / from there

I have done three of these trips, which means to / from PEK which went fine, first to / from PVG also fine, last trip not so much ....

All excited as I scored my first and only OpUp (as did a LOT of elites when it turned out that a big tour group was all there with zero no shows), alas a few days before my return trip got an email from UA that PVG-SFO for my return date (and ONLY that date) was cancelled.

Sure enough, you could not buy a ticket for this date, the United cargo site did not show the flight ...

Several phone calls later after at least TWO agents insisted that "yes, there is a flight that day" finally got someone to recognize the fact that NO, there is no flight TO or FROM on that day and got rerouted via KIX, so lost my last day in Shanghai due to early morning departure.

I realize that I am almost certainly an outlier, but that was part of FOUR year run where I lost a day of vacation due to UA mechanicals and cancelled flights every year

TWOV, OTOH, never a problem, especially in Asia where they probably see more of that.
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Old Jun 20, 17, 11:57 am
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
This. Put China as the destination and TIMATIC will correctly say a visa is required.
This begs the question. The entire problem stems from carrier personnel who think in terms of ticketing and IATA routing rules. The other threads point to agents and multiple layers of supervisors unwilling to do exactly what you suggest.

They see this as a USA-China round-trip which happens to connect in Japan on the return. Thus, the destination is China and there is no third country.

Chinese border officials see this with China as the object. They could care less about ticketing rules and stopovers vs. connections. To them, this is an individual coming from the US, spending <144 hours and heading to Japan. Where the individual goes from Japan is not of concern to them.

Needless to say, this would all go away if only China would interact with IATA which maintains TIMATIC in the same way as many other countries do when interpretive issues arise. But, that is not going to happen between now and OP's travel date.

As to OP, he has to make his own decisions. Only he can assess risk vs. hassle & cost. One thing I would not do is to continue to call UA. Sooner or later someone is going to louse up the PNR notes, perhaps in the wrong way and he will then have created exactly the problem he wants to avoid. Bear in mind that if this is handled by UA in the ordinary course, an agent never even looks at TIMATIC and simply checks for a valid passport and OP is off to China.
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Old Jun 20, 17, 2:11 pm
  #48  
 
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Chinese border officials see this with China as the object. They could care less about ticketing rules and stopovers vs. connections. To them, this is an individual coming from the US, spending <144 hours and heading to Japan. Where the individual goes from Japan is not of concern to them.
Begs the question why China then even requires that your departing flight is to a different country than the one you arrived from.
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Old Jun 20, 17, 2:27 pm
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Chinese border officials see this with China as the object. They could care less about ticketing rules and stopovers vs. connections. To them, this is an individual coming from the US, spending <144 hours and heading to Japan. Where the individual goes from Japan is not of concern to them.
But China does care that the passenger goes to Japan or anywhere else other than back to the USA. There are rules from the China side just as from the US side. It is a TRANSIT waiver, not a full waiver of visa requirements for any short visit. It is designed to help the local airlines build connecting traffic volumes and fill the planes (i.e. economically valuable to the companies and the country), not just to let anyone stay and visit.

That many have learned how to use it without giving those same benefits to the local airlines is a feature, not a bug.
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Old Jun 20, 17, 5:52 pm
  #50  
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
But China does care that the passenger goes to Japan or anywhere else other than back to the USA. There are rules from the China side just as from the US side. It is a TRANSIT waiver, not a full waiver of visa requirements for any short visit. It is designed to help the local airlines build connecting traffic volumes and fill the planes (i.e. economically valuable to the companies and the country), not just to let anyone stay and visit.

That many have learned how to use it without giving those same benefits to the local airlines is a feature, not a bug.
That is the whole point. If China wanted to, it could adopt the same view as IATA and treat these tickets back to the US with a connection, not a stopover at NRT, as not complying with its TWOV rules. While China may have created the TWOV for the purposes you suggest, but it is apparently quite happy to permit it for those on RT tickets as well.

If China interpreted these RT tickets as non-compliant with TWOV, this entire debate would end instantly. UA would appropriately deny boarding and people might grumble but they would not have a leg to stand on.

Either way, if China clarified this for IATA (TIMATIC), the problems would end.
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Old Jun 20, 17, 6:01 pm
  #51  
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Originally Posted by gsalem94122 View Post
PVG, sorry. I am spending the Summer close to PVC so it was a slip.
I was figuring it was just a typo but I was having fun with it.
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Old Jun 20, 17, 6:28 pm
  #52  
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
But China does care that the passenger goes to Japan or anywhere else other than back to the USA. There are rules from the China side just as from the US side. It is a TRANSIT waiver, not a full waiver of visa requirements for any short visit. It is designed to help the local airlines build connecting traffic volumes and fill the planes (i.e. economically valuable to the companies and the country), not just to let anyone stay and visit.

That many have learned how to use it without giving those same benefits to the local airlines is a feature, not a bug.
I suspect the reason for this is reciprocity. China wants the visitor spending and increased traffic on Chinese carriers, but they aren't willing to eliminate the visa requirement in general for visitors using passports from countries that don't admit Chinese citizens without visas.
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Old Jun 20, 17, 7:41 pm
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I read in the Shanghai english-language paper today that over 50,000 people have taken advantage of the new 144-hour TWOV program this year. It has encouraged more people to swing through a major Chinese city for a few days.

If you want to take advantage of TWOV, just remember that you have to "arrive from" and "depart to" different countries. For example, if you arrive from ORD, then you can depart to NRT (and then back to ORD).
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Old Jun 21, 17, 1:07 am
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We did this last year, family of three, from DUS to NRT via PVG on ANA. No problems, no hassles. 144-hour visa at PVG. In Germany we would have needed to obtain visas in Frankfurt at the consulate, a huge expensive hassle. Visa on arrival was free.

From Shanghai we went to Nanjing for 4 days, taking the HS rail from Hongqiao station, using the omg-scary-old shuttle bus between PVG and Hongqiao.

We brought a copy of the info off the Chinese embassy website, but it wasn't necessary to show anyone.
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Old Jun 21, 17, 2:41 am
  #55  
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Originally Posted by vanabb View Post
We did this last year, family of three, from DUS to NRT via PVG on ANA. No problems, no hassles. 144-hour visa at PVG...... Visa on arrival was free.
It's not a VOA, but rather a TWOV (transit without visa).

I've used the allowance several times, first was back when it was only 48 hours and more recently at 144, but never with the itin's origin set in the US.

Last time the ticket started in HKG and CX spent a good 15 min ensuring that I could travel, and this at the CX F counter. In the end the only hassle was 15 min less in the CX F lounge. Once on the ground I was through the TWOV immi lines before my better half made it through the regular immi line.
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Old Jun 21, 17, 3:37 am
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Originally Posted by EmailKid View Post
Sure, but I would be more worried about United's ability to get you there / from there

I have done three of these trips, which means to / from PEK which went fine, first to / from PVG also fine, last trip not so much ....

All excited as I scored my first and only OpUp (as did a LOT of elites when it turned out that a big tour group was all there with zero no shows), alas a few days before my return trip got an email from UA that PVG-SFO for my return date (and ONLY that date) was cancelled.

Sure enough, you could not buy a ticket for this date, the United cargo site did not show the flight ...

Several phone calls later after at least TWO agents insisted that "yes, there is a flight that day" finally got someone to recognize the fact that NO, there is no flight TO or FROM on that day and got rerouted via KIX, so lost my last day in Shanghai due to early morning departure.

I realize that I am almost certainly an outlier, but that was part of FOUR year run where I lost a day of vacation due to UA mechanicals and cancelled flights every year

TWOV, OTOH, never a problem, especially in Asia where they probably see more of that.

I've read through the TWOV thread and still am unsure about my situation.

My wife and I live in Hawaii and will be taking a cruise that sails out of Shanghai on 10/17/17. We plan to leave Hawaii on 10/14 and fly through Guam on UA and connect to Shanghai arriving on 10/15. We want to spend 2 nights in Shanghai, then Board the cruise ship on 10/17. Our cruise is for 12 days and ends in Hong Kong on 10/29. We fly from Hong Kong to Guam that day then connect to Honolulu arriving the on he same day.

When I read the rules, it appears that we qualify for the TWOV program, but I wanted to verify this before our cruise. Can anyone offer some help on my interpretation of the rules?

Thanks in advance.
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Old Jun 21, 17, 4:04 am
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Originally Posted by bajong View Post
I've read through the TWOV thread and still am unsure about my situation.

My wife and I live in Hawaii and will be taking a cruise that sails out of Shanghai on 10/17/17. We plan to leave Hawaii on 10/14 and fly through Guam on UA and connect to Shanghai arriving on 10/15. We want to spend 2 nights in Shanghai, then Board the cruise ship on 10/17. Our cruise is for 12 days and ends in Hong Kong on 10/29. We fly from Hong Kong to Guam that day then connect to Honolulu arriving the on he same day.

When I read the rules, it appears that we qualify for the TWOV program, but I wanted to verify this before our cruise. Can anyone offer some help on my interpretation of the rules?

Thanks in advance.
The flight after the cruise is completely irrelevant in your situation since you are departing China by boat. The China TWOV rules *do* allow you to arrive at PVG or SHA, stay for 144 hours and then depart at the cruise terminal. However, they are strict that the boat must not make any stops in China mainland. If it does you are not a TWOV candidate. If the boat does not make a stop in mainland China after departing Shanghai Port then TWOV applies and you will have no issue.

Bottom line...if your boat departs the port and will stop anywhere in mainland China you must have a valid visa to enter China. If the boat is going to depart Shanghai and make the next port of call in another country or SAR (HKG, Macau) then TWOV applies. How long it takes the boat to go from Shanghai to Hong Kong (12 days in this case) doesn't matter. All that matters is where the next port of call is after Shanghai.

If you're on a popular cruise then I imagine the immigration folks know where your boat will stop after Shanghai. So even if HKG is listed as the stopping point, immigration officials may know it stops in another part of the mainland first. If it does, I would not risk trying TWOV upon arrival because they can easily deny you and ship you back to Guam/US. You'll miss the cruise and everything else.

-RM

PS - to the mods, this thread is not specific to UA. I suggest this moved to the China travel section of FT. I'm sure there are a ton of threads already over there on this subject.
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Old Jun 21, 17, 11:28 am
  #58  
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Topic reminder

As this is UA forum, let's focus on UA - TWOV questions / issues, more general discussion China's TWOV program is best done in http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/china...er-thread.html which has an extensive wiki on the subject and responses from multiple SMEs.

WineCountryUA
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jun 21, 17 at 12:03 pm Reason: grammar
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Old Jun 21, 17, 2:37 pm
  #59  
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Originally Posted by RobOnLI View Post
PS - to the mods, this thread is not specific to UA. I suggest this moved to the China travel section of FT. I'm sure there are a ton of threads already over there on this subject.
There's a sticky over there on TWOV. This should be closed with a pointer to that thread.
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Old Jun 21, 17, 2:52 pm
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I'm looking for some assistance, and to be within the quidance to be more UA Specific. What UA routing and Fares make the best sense to take advantage of the TWOV.

LAX-PVG (transit)..

PVG-???-LAX

All routed on UA with the possibilty of inta Asia on NH?

Any and all suggestions would be appreciated..
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