In order to facilitate the international visitors' short stay for sightseeing in Beijing and Shanghai, the two cities now adopt a visa-free transit policy, which allows transit passengers with passport of the following 45 countries to stay in Beijing and Shanghai for 72 hours without visa on direct transit from January 1, 2013:
Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.
Note: Confirmed flight ticket and valid visa to the third country are required on entry to Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) or Pudong International Airport (PVG) and Hongqiao International Airport (SHA) in Shanghai. According to presentations by the Exit and Entry Administration of Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB), the 72 hours will be counted from the moment visitors get their transit permits, but not the time when they land at the airport. Visitors are required to register at a police station with their transit permits within 24 hours after entry.
Restrictions of the 72-hour Visa-free Transit:
1. This regulation does not apply to passengers who travel on round trip flights (e.g., Hong Kong - Beijing - Hong Kong; or New York - Shanghai - Los Angels), which means the destination and place of departure can not be the same. That is to say, only those who make transit through Beijing Capital International Airport (or PVG, SHA)to the third country are eligible for this policy.
2. The 72-hour visa-free stay only applies to transit via Capital International Airport(PEK), Shanghai Pudong International Airport(PVG), or Hongqiao International Airport (SHA). Passengers by train or any other vehicles should still apply for a transit visa in advance.
3. Visitors are not allowed to leave Beijing or Shanghai to other cities during the 72-hour visa-free period. They can only depart Beijing from Capital International Airport (PEK) or Pudong International Airport (PVG) as well as Hongqiao International Airport (SHA).
4. If visitors are unable to depart on time due to unavoidable reasons, such as flight cancellation or treatment of sudden disease, they need to apply for a visa from Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB). Otherwise, tourists cannot apply for an extension of stay in Beijing or Shanghai.
Punishment on Violators:
Visitors from said countries should strictly follow the restrictions above. Violators of Chinese law, shall be warned, fined or detained for a few days depending on the circumstances. Cases of gross violation shall be expelled from China and prohibited re-entry.
Currently, the Capital International Airport (PEK), Pudong International Airport (PVG) and Hongqiao International Airport (SHA) have already optimized the transit formalities with the Customs, the Entry-Exit Inspection & Quarantine Bureau and Frontier Inspection Station. There are service centers for transit passengers in the terminals, offering rest places with drinking water and reading materials if they do not want to leave the airport. For visa-free transit passengers, the airport also provides services for currency exchange, mobile phone rental, car rental, left luggage, as well as local souvenir shops. Tour buses are available from the terminals for the convenience of tourists.