Visa requirements for China?

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11. Posted by nzhamsta (Respected Member 110 posts) 41w 1 Star this if you like it!

Hi all,
I have been doing some digging into this for my upcoming trip to China and Japan.
The rules are a bit messy but in essence boil down to:
i. You must be in transit in China and be going to a third country. From country A to China to country C. You cannot go back to where you came from (eg. UK to China to the UK) is not allowed. The UK to China to North Korea is allowed, but check which railway station the train to Pyongyang departs from (if indeed you are taking the train) as only Beijing West is covered.
ii. Hong Kong is treated as a third country for these rules, so Hong Kong to Shanghai to Japan (for example) is fine.
iii. You can only stay in the region you arrived in. Even though Beijing and Shanghai both have 144 hour visa exemptions, you cannot travel arrive in Shanghai and depart from Beijing.
iv. Be careful of the highspeed G train between Hong Kong and Shanghai as it arrives in Hongqiao Railway station which does not appear to be covered. Only Shanghai Railway Station is specifically mentioned (the city centre station).
v. The ports of Shanghai are specifically covered so you can fly into Shanghai, stay up to 144 hours, and then get a cruise ship to Japan.
vi. Check the list of passports that qualify.
vii. You will need confirmed flights / tickets for the third country as you will need to present these to the airline check in counter so that they allow you to fly.

Qokoon, your two routes should be okay as you are flying from Country A to Shanghai (transit) to Hong Kong. Returning is Hong Kong to Beijing (transit) to Country A. Just ensure you do not back track or stop anywhere else in China.

This site gives more information about Shanghai:

http://sh-immigration.gov.cn/listPageEn.aspx?lx=40&id=4414

In all cases, check with your airline (the Chinese airlines seem to know more) or with the local embassy / consulate, although the one here in Auckland was useless.
Glynn

[ Edit: Edited on 05-May-2019, at 04:02 by nzhamsta ]

12. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1438 posts) 41w Star this if you like it!

Quoting nzhamsta

In all cases, check with ... the local embassy / consulate, although the one here in Auckland was useless.

Yep - we found that. Happy to collect your money and to give you a visa but they didn't want to give us any information whatsoever about China. :):)

13. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 1086 posts) 41w Star this if you like it!

Quoting nzhamsta

Hi all,
I have been doing some digging into this for my upcoming trip to China and Japan.
The rules are a bit messy but in essence boil down to:
i. You must be in transit in China and be going to a third country. From country A to China to country C. You cannot go back to where you came from (eg. UK to China to the UK) is not allowed. The UK to China to North Korea is allowed, but check which railway station the train to Pyongyang departs from (if indeed you are taking the train) as only Beijing West is covered.

We are flying to and from Pyongyang so I'm confident that's OK :)

14. Posted by Qokoon (Budding Member 31 posts) 41w Star this if you like it!

Quoting nzhamsta

Hi all,
I have been doing some digging into this for my upcoming trip to China and Japan.
The rules are a bit messy but in essence boil down to:
i. You must be in transit in China and be going to a third country. From country A to China to country C. You cannot go back to where you came from (eg. UK to China to the UK) is not allowed. The UK to China to North Korea is allowed, but check which railway station the train to Pyongyang departs from (if indeed you are taking the train) as only Beijing West is covered.
ii. Hong Kong is treated as a third country for these rules, so Hong Kong to Shanghai to Japan (for example) is fine.
iii. You can only stay in the region you arrived in. Even though Beijing and Shanghai both have 144 hour visa exemptions, you cannot travel arrive in Shanghai and depart from Beijing.
iv. Be careful of the highspeed G train between Hong Kong and Shanghai as it arrives in Hongqiao Railway station which does not appear to be covered. Only Shanghai Railway Station is specifically mentioned (the city centre station).
v. The ports of Shanghai are specifically covered so you can fly into Shanghai, stay up to 144 hours, and then get a cruise ship to Japan.
vi. Check the list of passports that qualify.
vii. You will need confirmed flights / tickets for the third country as you will need to present these to the airline check in counter so that they allow you to fly.

Qokoon, your two routes should be okay as you are flying from Country A to Shanghai (transit) to Hong Kong. Returning is Hong Kong to Beijing (transit) to Country A. Just ensure you do not back track or stop anywhere else in China.

This site gives more information about Shanghai:

http://sh-immigration.gov.cn/listPageEn.aspx?lx=40&id=4414

In all cases, check with your airline (the Chinese airlines seem to know more) or with the local embassy / consulate, although the one here in Auckland was useless.
Glynn

Thank you so much for this information, as well as asking the airline. Though I will try both options of communicating with the Embassy and an Airline to get better input.

Also, are you doing this trip alone? I have friends in Hong Kong, but the Shanghai leg and Beijing I would do alone. Not sure how easy it is to move around or get from the airport to hotel etc, also in Beijing to go to Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall how easy it is to go alone if going solo?

Thanks

15. Posted by nzhamsta (Respected Member 110 posts) 21w 1 Star this if you like it!

Hi all,
Just though I would update this with my experiences.

I completed the online form that pre registers you for Shanghai:

https://gaj.sh.gov.cn/crj/page/kagq/144/jsp/yw/login_144yw.jsp?yw=1

Create an account and enter all the details about your trip (dates, port of entry, port of departure, hotel details and so on).
I printed mine (comes with a QR code) so that I had a hard copy to show the airline staff at check in.
(It is optional to complete this but it gave me something official-looking to show the check in staff.)

At check in they looked for a visa in my passport and I presented them the 144 hour application form. All good and I flew from Auckland to Shanghai with no problems (except the usual problem of not being able to sleep on the plane).
On arrival, all foreigners must give their fingerprints before passport control.
There are special desks for transit passengers. Scanned the QR code but the system could not find my application so had to write out all the details again on a blue form.
The immigration staff used my printout to check everything and they printed a small sticker for my passport that gives all the details (dates, allowable areas and so on).
Done.
It is a quick process if all your paperwork is in order and you are arriving and leaving from the designated ports. The cruise terminals are included so you can arrive at Shanghai airport and depart on a large ship from the main cruise terminal at Wusongkou (or vice versa).

The 144 hours start at 0001 the next morning. For example, we arrived at about 6:00 am on the 14th so my visa actually lasted about 162 hours until midnight on the 20th.

The stamp states the area(s) you are allowed to stay in. Moving between areas is not allowed, even if they both have a 144 hour regime in place. For example, you cannot arrive in Shanghai and depart from Beijing. I suspect the immigration people will get grumpy if they spot this. The Shanghai region includes Shanghai city and the two provinces immediately to the north and south of the city.

Glynn

[ Edit: Edited on 22-Sep-2019, 00:32 GMT by nzhamsta ]

Post 16 was removed by a moderator
17. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 1086 posts) 21w Star this if you like it!

We just got back from our trip transiting twice through Beijing, and had no problems either way. We did find it difficult on arrival to locate the desk for filling in the blue arrival card as it was beyond the immigration desks but once we’d got that it was plain sailing. We didn’t need to have completed any paperwork in advance but they did want to see print-outs of our hotel reservation and onward flight tickets, both of which I had known to take and have handy.

One thing I could usefully have done and didn’t was to pick up spare copies of the blue card so that on our way back we would have had them already completed, to speed up the process - just a tip for anyone else using Beijing (or Shanghai) as a stopover in both directions!

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