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USA - HK - China - Thailand - USA 144 hour visa free travel

USA - HK - China - Thailand - USA 144 hour visa free travel

Old Apr 26th, 2024, 07:20 AM
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USA - HK - China - Thailand - USA 144 hour visa free travel

I need some "urgent" help because I am very confused from reading many articles. (Google can be good or bad.. )

If I am flying from the USA to HK and then to China (Shenzhen Bao'an airport) and then from China flying to Thailand. Can I use the 144 hour visa free travel for the business meetings I have in China?


I really appreciate the feedback... I wouldn't be so worried, but I would be nervous to have a problem in China.

Bonus question? Would I be able to take the train from HK toGuangzhou Tianhe Railway Port instead of flying?

Thank you so much.
--David
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Old Apr 26th, 2024, 04:40 PM
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The Chinese government's English-language page explaining the regulations is easily found:

Requirements for foreigners to apply for 72/144-hour visa-free transit in China

This is as of November 2023--anyone reading this in months to come will need to re-check as regulations change without warning. But the state of affairs set out on that page have been the same for several years. The caprices of individual officers/airlines cannot be accounted for, and it would probably be best to have a copy of this page to show the airline when checking-in or you may be denied boarding--they do not always have a clue.

If I am flying from the USA to HK and then to China (Shenzhen Bao'an airport) and then from China flying to Thailand. Can I use the 144 hour visa free travel for the business meetings I have in China?
Yes, if you meet the criteria listed: your nationality is one of those permitted a visa on arrival, your passport is valid for at least three months beyond the date of your visit to China, and you have an onward ticket to a third country. Note that several European countries may currently obtain tourist visas on arrival, so if you're a European, check to see if your nationality is included. At the moment this leniency is supposed to expire in November.

I really appreciate the feedback... I wouldn't be so worried, but I would be nervous to have a problem in China.
To be fair to China, the only thing likely to happen if you were to prove not to be qualified on arrival would be that you were sent back on the next flight. Because of this airlines tend to be very cautious about who they allow to board.

Bonus question? Would I be able to take the train from HK toGuangzhou Tianhe Railway Port instead of flying?
No. That port is not one of the ones listed to which the scheme applies. It is not mentioned that you must emigrate through one of the listed ports, but this seems to be implied, and the scheme as originally conceived limited your travel to the vicinity of the arrival port. If it is now more flexible that is not openly stated, and I would err on the side of caution.

Perhaps someone with personal experience of entering at one point and exiting by another using this scheme may be able to help. But I would assume for now that at best you'd be able to exit through Baiyun Airport in Guangzhou, but not any other Guangzhou departure point. Safest of all would be to exit from Shanghai if that's where you're arriving.

What can be said for sure is that the visa system—and this I do know from personal experience—with its current insistence on evidence of a booked departure, has difficulty conceiving of an exit by any method other than flying, and is likely to reject applications that do not include evidence of the purchase of a flight. (My problem was with plans to exit by rail to Laos. The system seemed entirely incapable of dealing with this idea.) And while the idea of a 'third country' does sometimes include Hong Kong—the only place resembling a third country that you can reach from Guangzhou—I'd avoid ambiguity.


You might be lucky, but it would be best to keep it simple. Fly in to Shanghai, and leave from Shanghai directly to Thailand. Many have done this with the 144-hour on-arrival visa without difficulty.

Last edited by temppeternh; Apr 26th, 2024 at 04:44 PM. Reason: Link not displaying properly
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Old Apr 26th, 2024, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by temppeternh
The Chinese government's English-language page explaining the regulations is easily found:



This is as of November 2023--anyone reading this in months to come will need to re-check as regulations change without warning. But the state of affairs set out on that page have been the same for several years. The caprices of individual officers/airlines cannot be accounted for, and it would probably be best to have a copy of this page to show the airline when checking-in or you may be denied boarding--they do not always have a clue.



Yes, if you meet the criteria listed: your nationality is one of those permitted a visa on arrival, your passport is valid for at least three months beyond the date of your visit to China, and you have an onward ticket to a third country. Note that several European countries may currently obtain tourist visas on arrival, so if you're a European, check to see if your nationality is included. At the moment this leniency is supposed to expire in November.



To be fair to China, the only thing likely to happen if you were to prove not to be qualified on arrival would be that you were sent back on the next flight. Because of this airlines tend to be very cautious about who they allow to board.



No. That port is not one of the ones listed to which the scheme applies. It is not mentioned that you must emigrate through one of the listed ports, but this seems to be implied, and the scheme as originally conceived limited your travel to the vicinity of the arrival port. If it is now more flexible that is not openly stated, and I would err on the side of caution.

Perhaps someone with personal experience of entering at one point and exiting by another using this scheme may be able to help. But I would assume for now that at best you'd be able to exit through Baiyun Airport in Guangzhou, but not any other Guangzhou departure point. Safest of all would be to exit from Shanghai if that's where you're arriving.

What can be said for sure is that the visa system—and this I do know from personal experience—with its current insistence on evidence of a booked departure, has difficulty conceiving of an exit by any method other than flying, and is likely to reject applications that do not include evidence of the purchase of a flight. (My problem was with plans to exit by rail to Laos. The system seemed entirely incapable of dealing with this idea.) And while the idea of a 'third country' does sometimes include Hong Kong—the only place resembling a third country that you can reach from Guangzhou—I'd avoid ambiguity.


You might be lucky, but it would be best to keep it simple. Fly in to Shanghai, and leave from Shanghai directly to Thailand. Many have done this with the 144-hour on-arrival visa without difficulty.

Thank you for the very thorough answer, You mention Shanghai a couple of times, but I would be flying into SZK which I think is (Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport) from HKO, I think I would be okay though...? or do you have doubts?
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Old Apr 27th, 2024, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by davidforman9006
Thank you for the very thorough answer, You mention Shanghai a couple of times, but I would be flying into SZK which I think is (Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport) from HKO, I think I would be okay though...? or do you have doubts?
Apologies. I read in haste.

The link provided clearly sets out the ports at which the on-arrival transit visa is available to certain nationalities. Shenzhen Bao'an is indeed included. Where you fly in from, so long as it is outside China, and you have an onward air ticket to a third country, does not matter.

https://english.www.gov.cn/policies/...f4e8e199f.html

If you're having trouble with the link, simply search for the page title originally given.

I don't know where you mean by HKO. It seems improbable that you could mean Hong Kong, as any flight to Shenzhen would mean going via Manila or similar. If you mean a land crossing to Shenzhen, then no, it won't work because the land border you would need to cross is not listed as part of the scheme.

P.S. Different arrangements apply at the land border, which do include some meant to ease business access, which were offered to me on a recent visit but as I didn't use them I didn't note the details. If you've time to apply in Hong Kong, then consult the Everbright visa agency which has an office at the border for this purpose. They reply to enquiries by text or phone:

http://www.fbt-chinavisa.com.hk


Last edited by temppeternh; Apr 27th, 2024 at 08:38 AM. Reason: Adding afterthought.
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Old May 24th, 2024, 06:42 PM
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I don't get how you are flying from HKG to Shenzhen airport... They are right next to each other.
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Old May 25th, 2024, 08:03 PM
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You can go by land.
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