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Thanks to a new law, since January 1st 2013 visitors to Beijing Capital Airport are allowed a free entry 72 hour transit visa. This means you can now enjoy lay-overs in Beijing, take lay-over tours, visit the city center, do some shopping in the Chinese capital and relax before continuing on your journey.

The new policy applies to foreign visitors holding passports from countries listed on the Transit Policy List (this includes UE countries, USA, Canada, Australia, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, New Zealand, Japan and more) who will be stopping in Beijing for 72 hours or less.

Those travelers can apply to the Immigration Authority at the Beijing Capital Airport to receive a 72 Hour Visa on the spot.

To be eligible for a 72 Hour Visa you need to meet the following criteria:

  • You must be a passport holder from one of 45 countries granted this type of visa.
  • You must hold valid international travel documents (passport, air ticket etc)
  • You must have qualified for the entrance requirement of your third destinations – the destination you will be flying to after Beijing.
  • You must have a valid air ticket which has been validated with a 72 hour transit for passing through Beijing Capital International airport to a third country and you must have been reported to the Chinese Immigration Inspection Authority by your airline.

Under certain circumstances you will not be eligible for a 72 Hour Visa:

  • You are not eligible if you don’t already have an air ticket for your out-going journey to a third country.
  • You are not eligible if you arrive by train and plan to leave by air. The Visa is only applicable if you arrive and leave from Beijing Airport.
  • You are not eligible if you are coming from your home country and returning to your home country after 72 hours. You must be going on to a thirds country.
  • The 72 hour visa is only for stays in Beijing and does not include visits outside of Beijing. If you wish to travel to other cities in China you will need to apply for a different visa from the Beijing Public Security Bureau.
  • If you will be staying for longer than 72 hours then you must apply for a different visa from the Beijing Public Security Bureau.

If you are unsure about the policy you can call the 24 hour hotline of the Beijing Immigration Inspection at 56095400 or visit this website: http://www.beijing-airport-transportation.com.

The same 72 hour transit visa is available in Shanghai Pudong International Airport; Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport; Hongqiao International Airport; Guangzhou Baiyun Airport and Chengdu Shuangliu Airport.

However as with Beijing visitors cannot leave the city that they have the transit visa for.

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