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Old Jun 18, 17, 12:05 pm   #1
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China without a visa

I have us flying to PVG (from the US) and on to Japan. We qualify for the 144 hour PVG "transit with out visa" program. The United sites says we need a visa and the 1k line didn't reassure me that we won't be denied boarding.
I have the program printed. Any other suggestions to be sure we get into China?
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Old Jun 18, 17, 12:14 pm   #2
  
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Can't answer definitively without your actual itinerary.

FYI in the China forum
China 24, 72, and 144 hour Transit Without Visa ("TWOV") rules master thread
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Old Jun 18, 17, 12:16 pm   #3
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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.)

Last edited by MSPeconomist; Jun 18, 17 at 12:28 pm
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Old Jun 18, 17, 12:19 pm   #4
  
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United.com offers TIMATIC access.
https://www.united.com/web/en-US/app...aspx?i=TIMATIC
After entry of US to Japan via China, the following appears:
Quote:
China - Transit Visa

Visa required.

Transiting without a visa is possible for:
...
Nationals of USA holding confirmed onward air, cruise or train tickets to a third country, arriving and departing from any one of the following locations: Hangzhou (HGH), Nanjing Lukou (NKG), Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA) or Shanghai Pudong (PVG) for a maximum of 144 hours, starting from 00:01 on the day following the day of entry.
...
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Old Jun 18, 17, 1:02 pm   #5
  
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I was nearly denied boarding by ANA in Seattle because the agents there didn't know the transit without visa rules. Only after a stressful 90 minute period of showing them the rules on the Chinese embassy website did they reluctantly let me board the flight to NRT. They were still skeptical and made sure I was flagged upon arrival in NRT so I could not continue on my connection to PVG without another document check. Luckily the staff in NRT were much more familiar with the rules and there were no further issues.

The point is, what you are doing is perfectly allowed but agents are not trained properly regarding all of the visa rules and may not look up the rules correctly in the system, may not believe you, etc. I would get to the airport earlier than normal and be prepared to have slow downs any time anyone wants to see an ID and/or visa (particularly at check in and at the gate). By the way, I did call UA in the middle of my ordeal with ANA (ticket booked with MP miles) and the 1K desk was no help either - they also incorrectly asserted that I needed a visa.

I would be sure to have a copy of the Chinese embassy's website handy and also to tell them to keep looking in their system if at first they try to deny you. I think in my case they were looking for the word "stopover" or something similar, when the proper nomenclature was "transit without visa" or something along those lines. The poor English skills of the ANA agents in SEA certainly didn't help.
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Old Jun 18, 17, 2:18 pm   #6
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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.
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Old Jun 18, 17, 3:00 pm   #7
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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.
Helpful post of the week!
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Old Jun 18, 17, 3:58 pm   #8
  
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
Helpful post of the week!
Wow! Its 144 hours now.. I did it when it was 72 and remember it starts at :01am day after arrival (so your arrival day is actually not counted towards the 144 hours.. This has me thinking on another trip
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Old Jun 18, 17, 4:16 pm   #9
  
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There are lots of assumptions in this thread. TWOV eligibility has yet been established without details about the China-Japan flight.
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Old Jun 18, 17, 4:23 pm   #10
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying Machine View Post
Wow! Its 144 hours now.. I did it when it was 72 and remember it starts at :01am day after arrival (so your arrival day is actually not counted towards the 144 hours.. This has me thinking on another trip
Do it. Spending a weekend in Shanghai was absolutely amazing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by gsalem94122 View Post
I have us flying to PVG (from the US) and on to Japan. We qualify for the 144 hour PVG "transit with out visa" program. The United sites says we need a visa and the 1k line didn't reassure me that we won't be denied boarding.
I have the program printed. Any other suggestions to be sure we get into China?
I did this 2 months ago and had no issues whatsoever with United. Other than not being able to have mobile boarding passes with an intl flight, everything was without hassle.
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Old Jun 18, 17, 4:34 pm   #11
  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
(You cannot leave the general area of Shanghai during your TWOV stay.)
It really depends on what you mean by "general area of Shanghai". You are allowed to travel anywhere within the adjoining Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces in addition to Shanghai. But geographically speaking, most Chinese people would lump the three provinces (Shanghai being a provincial level city) together as the general Yangtze delta area.
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Old Jun 18, 17, 4:50 pm   #12
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There are multiple threads on this issue and they all hinge on how the carrier chooses to view the traveller's itinerary. E.g., is this:
1. USA-PVG stop over for <144 hours and then fly onwards to a third
country, e.g. Japan?

or is it:

2. USA-PVG with a return to the USA which happens to include a connection
in Japan, but is therefore not onwards to a third country?

One can argue until one is blue in the face that it is #1 , but there are agents who interpret it as #2 .

TIMATIC does not help because it is the above interpretation which matters and if the agent reads it as #2 , you are sunk because your onwards flight is to the first country, not a third country.

Having printouts of TIMATIC showing the third country as Japan is nonetheless a good idea and it is always a good idea to have hard copy of your e-tickets (not PNR's, but the e-ticket receipts), hotel confirmations and anything else you believe might help (at PVG as well).

No need to volunteer anything unless there is an issue. Just have the paperwork in a handy file which you can pull out of a carry-on if the need arises.

Nobody here can give you an assurance because it is clear that UA will not give an assurance. Until UA clearly instructs its agents or TIMATIC is reworded so as to make clear that whatever airline ticket rules suggest, e.g. that Japan is a connection not a stopover, has nothing to do with immigration policy in China, or the Chinese government issues some form of "ruling" which IATA (TIMATIC) and UA can then take to the bank, there will be people who have problems.
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Old Jun 18, 17, 6:05 pm   #13
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Here is the itinerary.

BOS to PVC (14 July -> 15 July, via EWR)
PVC to NRT (17 July)
NRT to GUM (18 July)
GUM to BOS (July 19, via HNL and SFO).

This meets the letter of the 144 hour transit and we'll be staying 2 nights in a Shanghai hotel. (And then one night in Tokyo and one night in Guam).
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Old Jun 18, 17, 6:23 pm   #14
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsalem94122 View Post
Here is the itinerary.

BOS to PVC (14 July -> 15 July, via EWR)
PVC to NRT (17 July)
NRT to GUM (18 July)
GUM to BOS (July 19, via HNL and SFO).

This meets the letter of the 144 hour transit and we'll be staying 2 nights in a Shanghai hotel. (And then one night in Tokyo and one night in Guam).
Looks good to me as long as PVC is really PVG I flew

LAX-HKG On UA
HKG-PVG on Dragonair via Avios
PVG-LAX On UA

The UA flights were on one ticket and Dragonair on another and had no issues at all. The desk at PVG whom handled the tranaction was fast as well. I did read up about in detail and had all my documents to present as well.. Be prepared!

Last edited by Flying Machine; Jun 18, 17 at 6:30 pm
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Old Jun 18, 17, 6:27 pm   #15
  
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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.
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