Beijing allowing 3 day visa free transits starting January 1, 2013

It’s official, starting January 1, 2013, Beijing will allow transits to a third country to be visa-free for 3 days (72 hours)! This is very similar to what China offers in Shanghai, but in Shanghai it’s 48 hours. You’ll get a stamped 3 day visa upon arrival at immigration and confirmation of your transit.

However, there is a restricted list of 45 countries which you can be a citizen of to be eligible, which is below and obtained from Xinhua. Sorted by region first then country. (Europe, Americas, Asia, Middle East)

— Austria;

— Belgium;

— the Czech Republic;

— Denmark;

— Estonia;

— Finland;

— France;

— Germany;

— Greece;

— Hungary;

— Iceland;

— Italy;

— Latvia;

— the Republic of Lithuania;

— Luxembourg;

— the Republic of Malta;

— the Netherlands;

— Poland;

— Portugal;

— the Republic of Slovakia;

— the Republic of Slovenia;

— Spain;

— Sweden;

— Swiss;

— Russia;

— the United Kingdom of Britain;

— the Republic of Ireland;

— Cyprus;

— Bulgaria;

— Romania;

— Ukraine;

— the United States of America;

— Canada;

— Brazil;

— Mexico

— Argentina;

— Chile;

— Australia;

— New Zealand;

— the Republic of Korea;

— Japan;

— Singapore;

— Brunei;

— the United Arab Emirates;

— Qatar

In case you are unsure, this means you must start and end in a different country and for airline purposes, Hong Kong is treated as a separate country from China, as is Taiwan and Macau. Be sure to bring your PRINTED airline ticket confirmations to show the immigration officials. Make sure your name and airline ticket/confirmation number are visible.

For example:

  • HKG Hong Kong – PEK Beijing – NRT Tokyo or LHR – PEK – HKG is valid.
  • HKG – PEK – HKG is not valid

While not every country is on the list, it certainly includes some of the most populous ones, and I think is a move towards making the Chinese carriers more competitive in the airline industry. Also, with China visas so expensive for many people, it’s a good way to visa China without paying visa fees. Know this, I certainly will try to route myself on Air China now to visit some friends in Beijing (but I’ll wait until Springtime.)


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