Visa-free Transit Travel to Beijing
How to travel to Beijing without a tourist visa.
GENERALSince 28 December 2017 Beijing has offered visa-free transit for nationals of 53 countries (including members of the EU, UK, USA, Australia and some other countries; view the full list here). Valid for 144 hours, you can legally avoid applying for a Chinese visa so long as you meet certain conditions. You’ll save yourself the trouble of completing forms and submitting fingerprints, provided you arrive in and depart from Beijing International Airport by plane and stay within the Beijing Administrative Region. 144 hours – 6 days – are more than enough if you intend to follow our suggested itinerary in China. All the attractions we feature are situated within the Beijing Administrative Area.
Aside from Beijing, there are other areas in China where the same visa-free transit rules apply, such as Shanghai, Chengdu and Xi'an. However, those cities do not feature in our standard programmes and you cannot travel visa-free between those cities and Beijing. So, in these notes we’ll only explain the procedure for travelling to Beijing.
VISA-FREE RULESTo be able to travel visa-free on our Trans-Mongolian packages you must transit through Beijing International Airport, meaning you cannot use train travel between Mongolia and China, but rather you must fly between Ulan-Bator and Beijing.
It does not matter which direction you are travelling (east- or westbound), the most important factor is the international flight between two countries. The flight takes about 2 h 15 min. We appreciate you have already booked a rail journey. However, now we are able to offer you a choice. You can decide what is more important for you: taking a train journey you’d otherwise miss or the convenience of not having to apply for a visa.
ITINERARY CHANGESApart from the flight between Ulan Bator and Beijing, the only other change to the programme will be an additional night which arises because you will be no longer travelling on an overnight train between Ulan Bator and Beijing. If you decide to travel visa-free to Beijing, you would stay an extra night either in Ulan Bator or Beijing. You can decide which you prefer and inform your travel consultant accordingly. Note that if you opt for this visa-free package, you will not be able to extend your stay in China beyond 144 hours or travel to other areas, for example Shanghai or Xian.
FINANCIAL ISSUESUnder normal circumstances there should be no savings or further costs to you, as additional flight costs and the price of one night’s accommodation will be covered by the amount already included in the holiday price for your train ticket and visa fees. In the unlikely event of limited flight tickets, there might be surcharges. Please let us know as soon as possible if you want to travel visa-free to Beijing so we can issue your flight ticket between Ulan Bator and Beijing and secure the best possible price.
PREREQUISITESTo enjoy visa-free transit through Beijing on our Trans-Mongolian tours you must be in possession of the following documents and fulfil the criteria listed below:
- A passport from a qualifying country valid for 3 months after your departure from China.
- An onward flight ticket with a confirmed seat and date of travel.
- You must have arrived in Beijing International Airport by plane, you can use either international airport in Beijing (PEK or PKX).
- The international flights flying in and out should be without a stopover anywhere in mainland China.
- Stay within the Beijing Administrative boundaries for not more than 144 hours (our tours do comply with this regulation).
- You must leave from Beijing International Airport by plane, you can use either international airport in Beijing (PEK or PKX).
- You must be transiting through Beijing, meaning your arrival and destination countries must be different (e.g. if you arrive in Beijing from Ulan Bator by plane and then fly back home to the UK, you are compliant).
- You will not be able to travel to other areas within China.
WHAT TO DO NEXTPlease review and advise your travel consultant how you wish to proceed:
- Confirm if you wish to travel visa-free to Beijing.
- Confirm an additional night either in Ulan Bator or Beijing if applicable.
PRACTICALITIES WHEN ARRIVING IN BEIJINGIf you travel visa-free (transiting through Beijing International Airport), when you disembark, just follow the signs to international arrivals, immigration and customs. At the passport control area you will need to find the special lanes allocated for 144 hour visa-free transit passengers. You will be asked to complete a registration card. The permit for your 144 hour visa-free stay will be stamped in your passport.
OFFICIAL INFORMATIONBeijing Municipal Government - https://english.beijing.gov.cn/travellinginbeijing/144hourvisafreetransit/
Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) - https://en.bcia.com.cn/kgxwxqy/10622/10622_news113783172.html
Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX) - https://daxing-pkx-airport.com/guide/facilities/