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China Shanghai Beijing 72 Hours TWOV 45 Nationalities 14 December 12

Posted by Jonathan V. Phillips in traveler advise, Visa News.
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China’s State Bureau  has recently amended it’s rules for entry. Effective 1 January 2013 travelers from 45 countries, including the USA, Canada and most of the EU, will be permitted to enter China for a 72 hour period with out the prerequisite visa. The new policy applies to travelers both business and tourist, who are enroute to another destination and are merely transiting through China. Travelers should have proof of an onward destination in the form of a plane ticket or visa.

Visa free entry is only available in two cities, Beijing and Shanghai and is restricted to air travelers only. In Shanghai, Hongqiao and Pudong airports will be allowing visitors in Beijing only Beijing Capital International Airport will have the new TWOV policy. Special accommodations like lines and lounge areas are being created at these airports to facilitate the quick processing of qualified travelers. The 72 hour period begins once the passport has been stamped and the traveler is officially admitted into China.

The move is seen to be an economic one. Hoping to stimulate economic zones of Shanghai and Beijing ‘the new rules are attempting to capitalize on tourist revenue that would not ordinarily pass through China or could not leave the airport because of visa issues. Tour operators in China are creating special 72 hour tour packages, including late nigh cinema (most international planes arrive at  night in China) highlight city tours and hotel packages.The current number of foreign visitors to Beijing is 5 million per year. The number is expected to double in three years after the TWOV policy comes into effect.

The new China TWOV rules are not with out restrictions.

  • Must be transit: The policy is for travelers going through China to get to another place. The next destination must not be the one you entered China from.
  • Not for flight crews: Crew personal will still be required a visas to China regardless of the duration of their stay. The new entry rule is effecting transit travel only and flight crews are not considered in transit.
  • Can not leave city: Travelers who enter Beijing or Shanghai under these new visa free rules are not permitted to go out side of  the city limits. Going outside of the city limits will be considered a visa violation and China is warning that violators will be banned from entering China in the future. Travelers must exit the same city from which they entered China from.
  • Police Registration: The rules say individuals should register with the police with in 24 hours of your entry into China. We recommend checking with your hotel or operator as they might have this registration done as part of their service.
  • No Pets: Pets are not permitted into China during the 72 visa free period. Pets brought into China will be kept in quarantine during that period with the exception of utility animals like guide dogs.
  • Don’t Overstay:Travelers who are not able to leave China during their 72 hour period due to illness or other reason, need to visa the Municipal Public Security Bureau and apply for a limited stay visa.

Visas are still required to China for most travelers. Information on obtaining a visa to China prior to departure is available on the G3 forms page. Here is a list of the available types and categories of Chinese visas.

  • F Visa: For travelers who are invited to China for visit, research, lecture, business, scientific-technological and culture exchanges or short-term advanced studies or intern practice for a period of no more than six months.
  • L Visa: For travelers who are coming to China for tourist purposes, family visiting or other personal affairs.
  • Z Visa: For travelers who are to taking up a post or employment in China, and their accompanying family members.
  • X Visa: For travelers who are coming to China for the purpose of study, advanced studies or intern practice for a period of six months or above.
  • C Visa: For crewmembers on international aviation, navigation and land transportation missions and their family members accompanying them.
  • J-1 Visa: For resident journalists.
  • J-2 Visa: For short term journalists.
  • G Visa: For transit
  • D Visa: Residency visas.

We are monitoring the role out of the program and will be providing updates as they develop. If you enter China through this visa free process, we are interested in hearing about your experiences.

Questions about China visas can be addressed to the G3 Country Information Coordinator.

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