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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions Concerning 72-hour Transit Visa Exemption for Foreign Nationals Measure at Airports of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu
(2013/12/04)

1. What requirements foreign nationals have to meet to apply for the 72-hour transit visa exemption?

Answer: There are 3 requirements: 1) Citizens from the 51 countries under the 72-hour Transit Visa Exemption Program; 2) Foreign nationals with valid international traveling documents and air ticket for a through air ticket with confirmed date of flight and seat for a third country (region) traveling within 72 hours; 3) Transit passengers from Capital Airport of Beijing, Pudong or Hongqiao Airport of Shanghai, Baiyun Airport of Guangzhou or Shuangliu Airport of Chengdu for a third country (region).

2. Travelers from what countries may apply for the 72-hour transit visa exemption?

Answer: Travelers from the 51 countries may apply for the 72-hour transit visa exemption, which are: 1) 24 Schengen countries in Europe: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherland, Poland, Portugal, Slovak, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. 2) 13 other European countries: Russia, Great Britain, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania. 3)6 American countries: The United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile. 4) 2 Oceanian countries: Australia and New Zealand. 5) 6 Asian countries: Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

3. How can a foreign national that meets the requirements for the 72-hour transit visa exemption apply for it?

Answer: A foreign national that meets the requirements may submit his/her request to the airline company that carries him/her and the airline company or the passenger him/herself shall make the application to the border control authorities that shall grant a temporary entry of a passenger meeting the requirements for transit visa exemption upon verification.

4. Can a traveler apply for the 72-hour transit visa exemption when no exit air ticket is bought at the time of entry but he or she plans to purchase the air ticket for a third country leaving within 72 hours after entry?

Answer: According to the requirements, a foreign national applying for the 72-hour transit visa exemption must hold the air ticket for a through air ticket with confirmed date of flight and seat, i.e., the exit air ticket is already in place before entry. Therefore, this facilitation measure does not apply to a foreign national that does not have a confirmed air ticket for a through air ticket leaving within 72 hours.

5. Does this measure apply to a foreign national coming to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou or Chengdu from a certain country (region) with a confirmed air ticket for flying back to the same country (region) where he or she comes from within 72 hours with confirmed date of flight and seat?

Answer: According to the requirements, the 72-hour transit visa exemption measure is for a foreign national passing through the allowed transit Airport for a third country or region. Therefore this measure does not apply to a passenger traveling from New York, USA, and stopping over at Beijing on his/her way to Los Angeles, USA.

6. Can a foreign national leave Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou or Chengdu for another Chinese city after getting the 72-hour transit visa exemption? What should be done in case a foreign national who has the 72-hour transit visa exemption cannot leave China within 72 hours due to some special reason after entry?

Answer: A foreign national obtaining the 72-hour transit visa exemption at the airports of Beijing, Shanghai or Chengdu may not leave the administrative precincts of Beijing, Shanghai or Chengdu. A foreign national obtaining the 72-hour transit visa exemption at the airport of Guangzhou may leave the city of Guangzhou but not travel beyond the administrative precincts of Guangdong province. In case of need to leave the precinct for some special reasons, the passenger must apply for a visa to the exit-entry administration department of the municipal public security authorities of Beijing, Shanghai or the province of Guangdong, Sichuan as required by the law.

A foreign national having the 72-hour transit visa exemption should leave China within the permitted time. In case of special need to stay longer than 72 hours, the passenger should apply for the relevant visa to the exit-entry administration department of the municipal public security authorities of Beijing, Shanghai or the province of Guangdong, Sichuan before leaving China as required by the law.

In case a foreign national fails to apply for the required visa, he or she shall be dealt with in accordance with the law for illegal residence in China by the exit-entry administration department of the public security authorities or border control station of the location where such an act is found. The border control authorities are entitled to deny his or her application for the 72-hour transit visa exemption via an airline company the next time because of such a breach.

7. In case a foreign national has entered China with the 72-hour transit visa exemption issued by the Capital Airport of Beijing, can he or she apply to leave China from the airport in Shanghai, Guangzhou or Chengdu?

Answer: A foreign national with the 72-hour transit visa exemption is not allowed to leave the city where the stopover is permitted. Therefore, a foreign national obtaining the 72-hour transit visa exemption at the Capital Airport of Beijing shall leave China from the same airport in Beijing within the permitted time of stay and may not leave China from the airport in Shanghai, Guangzhou or Chengdu.

8. Can a passenger enter China at the Beijing West Train Station and then leave by air within 72 hours?

Answer: This measure is currently available only at the airports of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou or Chengdu, which means the 72-hour transit visa exemption in Beijing is only applicable to a passenger obtaining it at the Beijing Capital Airport.

9. In case I have more questions concerning this measure, how can I ask for an answer?

Answer: You may make an inquiry with the border control authorities of the ports of entry in Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou or leave a message under the column of Asking Questions to the Police on the website of the Ministry of Public Security. Contact phone of the Beijing General Station of Immigration Inspection: 010-56095400; Contact phone of the Shanghai General Station of Immigration Inspection: 021-51105100; Contact phone of the Guangzhou General Station of Immigration Inspection: 020-32090088; Contact phone of the Provincial Border Control Bureau of Sichuan Province: 028-86022116. Website of the Ministry of Public Security: www.mps.gov.cn.

10. Will the 48-hour transit visa exemption by the Shanghai municipality for certain foreign nationals continue to apply?

Answer: The 48-hour transit visa exemption for certain foreign nationals by the Shanghai municipality ceases to apply as from the date of the 72-hour transit visa exemption coming into effect in Shanghai.