Beijing 72 Hours Free Visa Transit

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Are you planning your Beijing Layover Tour? You may think whether you need a transit visa in Beijing? This is the question frequently asked by many travelers who are going to transit in Beijing and continue to fly for a third country.

Yes, basically you need a Chinese visa to visit Beijing if you want to exit from Beijing Capital Airport for a few hours’ layover tour or 2 or 3 days’ short stay in Beijing. But currently, 51  countries are entitled to 72 hours free visa transit stay in Beijing. So Visa-free travel to Beijing is possible now!

Which are the 51 countries and what the preconditions for getting the free visa transit stay permit in Beijing? I will answer your questions one by one.

1. Prerequisites for getting the 72 hours transit free visa
1) The Eligible 51 nationalities include 24 Schengen Countries in Europe:
1) 24 Schengen countries in Europe:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovak, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

2) 13 other European countries:
Russia, Great Britain, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania.

3) 6 American countries:
The United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile.

4) 2 Oceanian countries:
Australia and New Zealand.

5) 6 Asian countries:
Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

2) Travelers must have valid passports.

3) Travelers must have confirmed tickets to a third country or regions (Hong Kong and Macau).

Remark
1) The 72 hours transit free visa policy is not applicable to Beijing Railway Stations and Tianjin Cruise Port
2) Passengers who transit in Beijing and fly to Hong Kong or Macau are also entitled to 72 hours transit free visa.
3) Travelers must register with police within 24 hours of arrival ( Your hotel will do this for you.).
4) Travellers would “face punishment” if they left the administrative region of Beijing to other places in China during the 72 hours free-visa stay in Beijing.

2. Where to apply for the 72-hour free-visa?
When you exit your plane at Beijing airport, just follow the throng or the signs directing you to international arrivals, immigration and customs.

Passport Control/Immigration
In the Passport Control/Immigration Area, there are mainly two connected zones ( lanes ): Lanes for Foreign Citizens on the left side and Chinese Citizens on the right side.

Where to find your special lanes for 72-hour visa-free transit passengers?
Some 72-hour transit passengers miss their layover tour in Beijing simply because they cannot locate the special lanes to get the visa-free permit. Yes, it is a bit tricky to find the special counters ( or lanes ) to register and get your visa-free permit to enter Beijing. There are no clear signboards directing you to the special counters.

Passport Control and Immigration

Passport Control and Immigration

Actually the special lanes for 72-hours visa-free transit are located just on the left side of the Lanes for Foreign Citizens as well as on the right side of the Lanes for Chinese Citizens. The Passport control staff are supposed to be on duty there 24 hours a day.

But the problem is sometimes the passport control staff are not there for various reasons. So don’t get nervous or frustrated, just take it easy, patiently wait or turn to a nearby airport staff member for assistance.

Special Lanes for Foreigner

Special Lanes for Foreigner

Note: You need to fill up the entry registration card and get your 72 hours free visa stay permit, a stamp on your passport. The items for filling up the registration to get your 72 free visa stay permit:

Name,Sex, Birth, Passport Number, Nationality, Arrival Date, Arrival Flight, Exit Time, Exit Flight, Contact Phone Number in Beijing, Address in Beijing, Reception Unit or Person, Reception Unit Phone Number.

3. 72 Hours Transit Visa Regulations for Foreigners
1) Eligible foreigners should stay in Beijing and exit from Beijing Capital Airport. If you have to extend your 72-hour stay in Beijing due to force majeure, you should apply for a Chinese visa though Beijing Security Bureau.

2) For overdue-stay foreigners, the frontier inspection station will act according to the regulations on illegal stay of foreigners in China.

Frequently Asked Questions on th 72 Hour Transit Free Visa
Q: You say Foreign airlines must contact Beijing Entry Frontier General Office to apply for the 72 hours free transit visa for their passengers. How should I proceed if I arrive in Beijing with airline company A and leave from Beijing with airline company B, thus another company.

A: You just ask your Company A to arrange your application for the 72 hours free-visa stay in Beijing. or you may also apply for your free-visa upon arrival at Beijing Capital Airport.

Q: Can I purchase my ticket to the third country after my entry Beijing?
A: No, you should have a confirmed air-ticket to the third country when you apply for the 72 hours transit free-visa.

Q: Can I have a 72 hours transit free visa  permit if I enter Beijing through Beijing Railway Stations or Tianjin Cruise Port?

A: No, Beijing Capital Airport is the only Entry & Exit Port for 72 hours free-visa stay passengers.

Q: If I fly to Beijing and return to my home country or starting country, can I enjoy the free-visa policy?

A: No, only those who fly to a third country will be entitled to the 72 hours transit free-visa policy.

Q: After finishing the process for getting the transit free-visa permit in Beijing, can I leave Beijing’s administrative area?

A: No, you are not allowed to leave Beijing’s administrative area. If you have to exit from Beijing’s administrative area due to force
majeure, you should apply for a Chinese visa via Beijing Security Bureau.

Q: If I cannot exit from Beijing within 72 hours due to special reasons, what can I do?

A: You are going to stay in Beijing over 72 hours due to force majeure, you should apply for a Chinese visa through Beijing Security Bureau.

Foreigners Section of the Public Security Bureau in Beijing
Add: 2 Dongdajie, Andingmen,  Dongcheng District,  Beijing

Visa inquires: 0086 10 84020101

Q: After I finishing my procedure of getting 72 hours transit free visa permit, can I apply for exit from Shanghai since the 72 hours transit free visa is also applicable to Shanghai?

A: No, you should exit from Beijing airport and you cannot take a domestic flight for Shanghai.|

Q: If I have further requests, what can I do?

A: If you have any questions on entry and exit, please contact Beijing Exit and Entry Inspection Station: 0086 10 56095400 (24 hours).

Tip:  Hassle-free Guided Beijing Layort Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself layover tour in Beijing and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours during your transit stay in Beijing:

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour
Beijing Layover Night Tour
Tiananmen Square & Forbidden City Layover Tour
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

 

Any questions, just drop a line.

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126 Responses to “Beijing 72 Hours Free Visa Transit”

  1. SP says:

    Hi Daniel,
    Thank you for confirming that we need a Chinese visa. Can you recommend how to apply for visa in Phoenix arizona? Is going through a travel agency like Able Tours (out of LA) that charges $90.00 usd for service fee and $25 for mailing to obtain chinese visa? Any other recommendations?
    Thanks so much for your help.

  2. Daniel says:

    Hi SP,

    It seems not bad for charges $90.00 usd for service fee and $25 for mailing to obtain chinese visa. I myself is not good at the visa application. Below is the link, maybe a kind of alternatives for you. But still I think Able Tours is not a bad choice.

    How to get a Chinese visa in the States
    http://www.tour-beijing.com/united_states_beijing_tour/#q3

    Have a good trip!

  3. Laurentius says:

    Hello,

    I will fly from Lisbon to Rome to Beijing…stay 3 days and then fly to Hong Kong. The return is HK with a 2 hour stopover in Beijing Back to Rome and Lisbon. Do I qualify for a 72 hour transit visa upon arrival?

  4. Daniel says:

    Hi Laurentius,

    If you fly from Hong Kong to Beijing, then fly out from Beijing to Rome, you are eligible for up to 72 hours visa-free stay in Beijing.

  5. Aaron says:

    Good evening, I have a UK passport and I’m landing in Beijing Capital Airport on Sunday 11 Sep at 16:05 and flying out on Wednesday 14 Sep at 19:55. I was told by the airline that the visa starts from midnight of the day you arrive. Is this true? If it isn’t can I wait in the airport until 19:55 and get the 72 visa free transit then?

    Thanks,

    Aaron

  6. Daniel says:

    Hi Aron,

    In your case, I think it is wise to return to Beijing airport earlier. Do you catch what I mean? You don’t have to wait till 19:55 to get the 72 hour free transit. You can come back earlier! Anyhow, you only have 72 hours no matter entering Beijing earlier or later.

    The above is just for your reference! Have a good time in Beijing!

  7. Pelin says:

    Hello there,

    I am planning to do the 72 hr visa free transit on the way to Japan. Who do i need to inform prior to my journey? Airline companies? Chinese authorities? and my second question is I would like to stopover in Shanghai on the way back . it is possible to do another 72 hr visa free stopover within 2 weeks ?

    Many thanks

  8. Daniel says:

    Hi Pelin,

    If you are entiled to the 72 hr visa free transit, you don’t have to inform Airline companies or Chinese authorities. But you must make sure whether you are entitled to 72 hr visa free transit.

  9. Brian says:

    Hello,

    I’m planning on traveling to Beijing just to see the Great Wall of China and some of the sights in the city.

    Is the Great Wall in the “Beijing administrative region?” I was just looking at this.

    4) Travellers would “face punishment” if they left the administrative region of Beijing to other places in China during the 72 hours free-visa stay in Beijing.

    I’ll fly from Seoul to Beijing then on to Munich. Thanks for the help!

  10. Daniel says:

    Hi Brian,

    Not all the Great Wall of China is within Beijing administrative region as you know the Wall snakes and zigzags along the mountains for over 21196 km long!

    But Badaling Great Wall, Mutianyu Great and more are under Beijing administrative region. So basically it is okay for you to visit the sections of the Great Wall within Beijing administrative region.

    Have a good time!

  11. Becky says:

    Hi! I plan on arriving from the US to Shanghi on 10/28. I then fly to Beijing (from Shanghi) on 11/3. I return to the US (from Beijing) on 11/6. Since both of these cities have the 72-free visa policy — do I need a visa or can I use the 72-free visa program?

  12. Daniel says:

    Hi Becky,

    Yes, both Beijing and Shangha have the 72-free visa policy, but both of them require you to fly out for the third country instead of flying for a domestic city. So you are not entitled to the the 72-free visa policy if you fly from the States to Shanghai, then from Shanghai to Beijing, then back to the US.

    You still need to apply for a China visa.

  13. gary says:

    Hi! my wife and I are arriving in Beijing on 11/3 at 1 PM departing on 11/6 at 9 AM basically 4 nights stay in Beijing we are coming from the Philippines to Beijing then from Beijing to Hongkong. Do we need to get a Visa to enter Beijing or can we use the 72 hrs- free visa? We have US passports.

    Thanks

  14. Daniel says:

    Hi Gary,

    In your case, flight from Phillipines to Beijing, then flight out for Hong Kong, as US citisens, you are eligible to 72 hours visa-free stay in Beijing.

  15. gary says:

    Hi Daniel,

    Thank you for your quick response my other question is that since we are staying 4 nights given the time of arrival and departure are we going over the 72 hours limit?

    Thanks for your help.
    Gary

  16. Daniel says:

    Hi Gary,

    Try to limit your stay witin 72 hours.

  17. Tobi says:

    Hi Daniel,

    Im looking to book my flight to Canada. I am currently in Japan and will have a layover in Hong kong, then Beijing and then fly to Canada. Am I eligible for the 72 hour free visa? Also I have a long layover (8 hrs in Hong Kong) and 14 hours in Beijing, should I apply for the free visa in Hong Kong before I arrive Beijing because I will like to tour Hong Kong too. Thanks.

  18. Daniel says:

    Hi Tobi,

    What’s your citizenship? Are you from Canada or the States? Or any of the 51 countries with visas and plane tickets to a third country, then you are allowed to transit through Beijing for a visa-free stay of up to 72 hours.

    1. If yes, you are entitled to staying in Beijing up to 72 hours visa-free ( you will get a permit when you exit at Beijing airport ).

    2. As for Hong Kong, many foreign passport holders can enjoy visa-free stay in Hong Kong, just take some examples:

    The following passport holders are eligible for Visa free period for visit to Hong Kong not exceeding:

    Canada Passport Holders: 90 days
    US Passport holders: 90 days
    UK Passport holders: 180 days
    Japan Passort Holders: 90 days

    Thanks for your inquiry!

  19. Joy says:

    Me and husband are both US citizen. We have 14:30 hrs layover in Beijing Capital on May 11th 2017 at 5:30am and flying to Philippines same day at 8:00pm and we are planning to do a day tour in Beijing,my question is do we still need to get a visa? And how we can get it? Thanks!

  20. Daniel says:

    Hi Joy,

    Happy Holidays!

    If you fly from the States to Beijing, then fly out from Beijing to Philippines on the same day, you don’t need a visa in advance. You are eligible for visa-free stay up to 72 hours in Beijing though you don’t need that long time in Beijing. Though you don’t need a visa, you still need a permit to enter Beijing. So how to get the permit?

    When you exit your plane, just follow the throng or the signs directing you to international arrivals, immigration and customs.

    Passport Control/Immigration
    In the Passport Control/Immigration Area, there are mainly two connected zones ( lanes ): Lanes for Foreign Citizens on the left side and Chinese Citizens on the right side.

    Where to find your special lanes for 72-hour visa-free transit passengers?
    Some 72-hour transit passengers miss their layover tour in Beijing simply because they cannot locate the special lanes to get the visa-free permit. Yes, it is a bit tricky to find the special counters ( or lanes ) to register and get your visa-free permit to enter Beijing. There are no clear signboards directing you to the special counters .

    Actually the special lanes for 72-hours visa-free transit are located just on the left side of the Lanes for Foreign Citizens as well as on the right side of the Lanes for Chinese Citizens. The Passport control staff are supposed to be on duty there 24 hours a day. But the problem is sometimes the passport control staff are not there for various reasons. So don’t get nervous or frustrated, just take it easy, patiently wait or turn to a nearby airport staff member for assistance.

    Note: You need to fill up the entry registration card and get your 72 hours free visa stay permit, a stamp on your passport. The items for filling up the registration to get your 72 free visa stay permit:

    Name,Sex, Birth, Passport Number, Nationality, Arrival Date, Arrival Flight, Exit Time, Exit Flight, Contact Phone Number in Beijing, Address in Beijing, Reception Unit or Person, Reception Unit Phone Number.

    For more travel and tour information, please check out the link: http://www.tour-beijing.com/short-tours/

    Any further requet, please email us at info@tour-beijing.com.

    Have a nice time in Beijing!

  21. Ali says:

    Hi
    I need to ask same Question about my travel in Beijing airport to jinan city
    Just I stay only 3 days after 3 days my travel to Bangkoko can I take transit visa or anther visa.

  22. Daniel says:

    Hi Ali,

    If you want to go from Beijing to Jinan, you need China visa.

  23. Sue says:

    Traveling from Okinawa to Beijing for 69 hours. Will then return to the US via Seoul. Does this qualify for 72 hour visa free transit?

  24. Daniel says:

    Hi Sue,

    You are eligible for the 72 hours visa free stay in Beijing in light of your connected flights.

  25. Reinhard says:

    Hi,
    you write: “Foreign airlines must contact Beijing Entry Frontier General Office to apply for 72 hours free transit visa for their passengers.”
    1) When and how should I inform my Airline about my plan to apply for a 72 hours visa? Is it enough if I inform them at check-in at the Airport?
    2) You say “Foreign airlines…”: I fly by Air China – it this not necessary then as Air China is not foreign?

  26. Daniel says:

    Dear Reinhard,

    1. Sorry for the misleading information about “Foreign airlines must contact Beijing Entry Frontier General Office to apply for 72 hours free transit visa for their passengers”. Now you can just inform them at check-in at the Airport. Actually now there is no neeed for Foreign airlines to contact Beijing Entry Frontier General Office.

    2. This policy applies to all airlines including Air China ( not just foreign airlines ).

    Again sorry for the confusing message. We have just updated the article.

    Thank you!

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