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Beijing Airport to allow 72hr transit visa-free?

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Oct 28th, 2012, 07:35 PM
  #1
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Beijing Airport to allow 72hr transit visa-free?

Apparently some things are changing at PEK for the better.

http://www.wanderlust.co.uk/magazine...e-stay-beijing

Anyone out there have any insight into whether or not there's any truth behind this story?

A timeframe is of most interest.

If this is true, this would make our 9 hour layover in December a blessing in disguise if we could go and meet our good friends for dinner that night and then come back to catch our onward flight.
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Oct 28th, 2012, 08:20 PM
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Your 9 hour layover is not an issue regardless.

As for timetable for things to implement, it's "I'll believe it when I see it" for most things in China.
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Oct 28th, 2012, 10:11 PM
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rkkwan, I saw you commented on the 'other' post about this on the boards as well -- and I have to say, I don't quite understand.

The way I understood it is that, currently, you absolutely CANNOT leave the airport without a visa in your passport.

Can you explain further?
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Oct 28th, 2012, 10:43 PM
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Yes, let me explain.

For transits through any Chinese airport (except PVG and SHA in Shanghai, which has its own 48-visa free rules), you can get a 24-hour visa free transit for many nationals, US citizens included. What you need to have is a onward ticket/itinerary for a flight to a 3rd nation within 24 hours. That 3rd nation includes Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

What you need to do is just to go the regular foreigner immigration line to enter China. Show your ticket/itinerary, and they will put a special transit stamp in your passport.

Then YOU ARE IN CHINA, landside. Just like if you have a proper visa.

Now, the official rule says you are NOT allowed to leave the airport. But this is NOT ENFORCED and UNENFORCEABLE. Nobody knows what stamp you have on your passport, and nobody will check. So, do your thing in Beijing or elsewhere in China, as long as you go back to the airport and go through immigration and exit China before your flight departs (within that 24 hour).

Tonnes of people do it everyday. So, what are the risk? Well, if something DO happen to you while you are AWAY from the airport, then you have to consider the consequences. Chances are, nothing will happen. And if something happens, you can of course pretend to NOT know this rule. What follows, I cannot tell you, and it of course depends on circumstances and who you are dealing with.
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Oct 28th, 2012, 11:37 PM
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Thanks for the explanation.

You say nobody knows what stamp you have -- but doesn't the immigration officer know when you check back IN to the airport after having left?

Either way, from your description, is sounds a lot safer if they were to issue a 72hr hour visa.

Aside from the benefit of making money, why would they advertise or offer this service if anyone can just leave -- or is it that leaving is technically possible (just not legally encouraged)?
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Oct 28th, 2012, 11:54 PM
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You are IN CHINA with that stamp. When you're ready to leave, you will go through regular exit immigration, and that stamp is of course 100% valid - since that stamp let you into China. There's no checkpoint from going into and out of the airport perimeter.

NOBODY will know where you are during your 9 hours. Whether in the terminal, at an airport hotel, at the Great Wall or at the Forbidden City. No one will check.
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Nov 16th, 2012, 10:43 AM
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The official rules (the ones in Chinese) say that you can leave the airport. I have only seen this "without leaving the airport" thing on english websites.
When they stamp your passport for your transit (after checking your onward tickets) they use a different stamp. So when you leave, they know you were supposed to be in transit.
This applies to every airport in China, except Shanghai that has an additional 48-hour exemption for certain nationalities.
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Nov 16th, 2012, 04:22 PM
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I don't know about the exact Chinese law, but at least on the CHINESE language page of the Houston consulate, it says the 24-hr visa-free transit is for "not leaving airport"

http://houston.china-consulate.org/c...#introduction4
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Nov 16th, 2012, 07:37 PM
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Besides the actual rules, In the last few years I have never heard of one traveler not being allowed to leave the airport.
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Nov 16th, 2012, 10:09 PM
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I totally agree with you, which is why I have said over and over. Nobody will or can stop one from leaving the airport. Dozens or hundreds do it daily without problem. That is fact, no disagreement.

But I cannot say for sure there is no consequence if one gets into some kind of trouble outside the airport. I cannot say the law says "it's okay to leave airport" and I cannot say "the consulate websites post false stuff" since I am not the Chinese Givernment and I can't prove a negative.
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Nov 17th, 2012, 07:51 AM
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When you leave the airport on a transit your passport gets a different stamp. So you are still ok to check in a hotel.
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Nov 17th, 2012, 08:04 AM
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Actually the confusion comes from the following. When you exit the plane there are some transit counters as you walk along the corridors. You can go to this counter if you are in transit and do not plan to get out of the airport. If it is not the case then you need to go to the area where they have immigration inspection. Usually the are counters for Chinese national, some for foreigners and one for transit. For example, at the Beijing airport terminal 2, it is the last one on the right side.
http://www.bjbj.gov.cn/node_532485.htm#4
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