72-Hour Transit in China without a Visa
My colleague “Lucky” recently wrote an informative post on dealing with China’s “72-hour transit without a visa” policy. In September 2013, China began allowing certain citizens (including those from the US) to spend up to 72 hours in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu without a Chinese visa if the passenger is transferring through those airports. The policy states that you must actually be in transit, meaning you must be connecting to a third country. This means that if you’re flying from Chicago to Beijing and then 48 hours later heading back to Chicago, you’re not “in transit,” since you’re not continuing to a third country.
Ultimately, you can take advantage with an itinerary that eventually gets you back to the country of origin. That country just can’t be the next airport you fly to. It also doesn’t have to be a logical connection, just one to a third country. I highly recommend reading his tips on what you need to know—including how to deal with uninformed airline workers so they don’t try to prevent you from boarding the plane!
FYI: I used the list of “Sight-seeing spots” above during my time in Shanghai back in 2009. Check out my story to see how many I checked off!
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