Double-stop transit without visa through China
Replies: 10 - Last Post: May 7, 2013 11:59 AM Last Post By: kelllyym
Nov 15, 2012 6:55 AM
Double-stop transit without visa through ChinaI'm a U.S. passport holder living in Japan. I'm planning to go to Thailand for a couple weeks Dec.-Jan., and I got a flight with China Eastern Airlines that goes Osaka KIX - Shanghai PVG - Kunming KMG - Chiang Mai CNX, with the same stops on the flight back. This means that I have a domestic flight in China both directions, and while it looks like I can get "transit without visa" stamp since I'll be in the country for less than 24 hours and won't leave the airport, I'm a little worried about how smoothly this will go in practice. It seems like a fairly uncommon situation. Has anyone else had to do this?
Also, I've heard that China Eastern provides a place to stay for travelers with an overnight layover, but I'm not sure whether this is a hotel within the airport or just a waiting lounge with chairs? The Kunming airport in particular is new and I couldn't find much information about it.
Nov 15, 2012 8:32 AM
1It's actually becoming pretty common, though Kunming sees a bit less of the double-stop than PEK, PVG, and CAN. As long as your scheduled arrival at PVG to your scheduled departure from KMG is within the 24 period, you should be OK. Ditto on the reverse. The likeliest point of trouble is not going to be in China, it will be at KIX. China Eastern staff should know the rules however.
I don't know about the hotel policy for your situation. If the overnight/long layover would be in Kunming, then yes, there is very little about the new airport there. You might try www.gokunming.com
Nov 16, 2012 12:06 AM
2Oh dear. So I called Eastern China, and they weren't aware of this. They said that I would be fine if it weren't overnight, but since it's overnight I'll need to leave the airport, and therefore can't transfer without a visa. Of course when I called the Chinese embassy here in Japan, they confirmed that this flight is fine, but I'm worried now that the staff won't let me board the plane in Osaka (or, worse, in Chiang Mai on the return flight). Is there any way I can show the airline that I've gotten confirmation from the embassy that this is ok? I suppose on the return flight I can just show them my passport from the outbound flight, but I'm still kind of nervous.
Nov 16, 2012 7:22 PM
3China Eastern's person you talked to is wrong. It's the total hours that count (24 limit) not the time of day or night. You might try again and ask for a supervisor. If you can get the Chinese Embassy in Japan to give you the written confirmation that this double stop transit is legal, then do so. But I wouldn't bet they will cooperate. The airline should be able to plug into Timatic, which is sort of the international Bible of who has to get a visa for where and what situation. It explicitly states the truth, that US citizens transiting through China have 24 hours, and can have two stops, and can leave the airport(s). There used to be a user-friendly access point through the Delta Airlines site that clearly spelled this out, but DL recently changed their website and I can't link to it anymore. And so far haven't found a good substitute. Timatic itself is by subscription access only.
Nov 17, 2012 10:05 PM
4Ok. I think I'm going to have my Chinese-speaking friend call immigration in Shanghai and ask them to email me a copy of the policy in Chinese so that I can take it with me when I board the plane.
Dec 16, 2012 4:06 AM
5I am currently in Russia and going home to Australia next week with double-stop transit in China with Southern China on one ticket and staying more then 24 hours, but lees then 48. I cannot get China visa in Russia, as they require original letter from my Australian employer ( no e-mails accepted). What is the worst case scenario if I get on boar? What may happen in China without transit visa. How I may be punished? Or what to do? I was refused with ticket refund.
Dec 16, 2012 10:40 AM
1) China Southern will refuse you boarding in Russia. I give this 75% odds.
2) Boarded, arrive China, Immigration refuses you transit passage, and send you back to your origin (Russia) at China Southern's expense. I give this 20% odds.
3) Boarded, arrive China, Immigration allows special dispensation for passage, and sent on to your next flight. 5% odds.
If you are boarded and do make it to the first Chinese airport (Scenario 2 or 3) , you will almost certainly be restricted to staying in the airport and likely under the watch of security officials and/or airline staff, until you're either sent back or sent on.
Understand that you may be placed in a problematic Russian visa (overstay or lack of) situation if you're not careful and Scenario 1 or 2 happens. And that, IMO, would be worse than being stuck in China facing Chinese Immigration irritation. The only "out" would be if you hold a Russian passport.
You are not in a smart situation and should do whatever you can, whatever it costs, to change your itinerary and get yourself on a confirmed flight out of China before that 24 hours is up. Whether that's onward to OZ or to any third country that doesn't require you to have a visa is up to you. This mess should never have occurred, and you should have made yourself more aware of the regulations before this flight was booked.
Dec 16, 2012 3:21 PM
7Thank you very much jiejie for quick responce. Now I am going to book new oneway ticket with Transit in HongKong.
Mar 17, 2013 5:44 PM
8Thanks for some helpful info. I have a question regarding my upcoming trip.
I am flying Osaka to Kathmandu and back
China Eastern Airlines
1st is for 23hrs 35mins in Qingdao, China (TAO)
2nd is for 17hrs in Kunming, China (KMG)
Return is similar
1st is for 10hrs 10mins in Kunming, China (TAO)
2nd is for 7hrs 40mins in Shanghai, China (PVG)
I keep seeing the magical # of 24hrs being used. Is this a max of 24hrs layover in one city? Or is it 24hrs total for all cities one direction of your flight? More specifically I am wondering if I can leave the airport in Qingdao on a transit visa, and then leave the airport again in Kunming on another transit visa... and thus the same thing on my return flights? If I can only have 24hrs one direction, does anyone know if I can stay in the airport in Qingdao (dont get a transit visa) so that I CAN get a transit visa in Kunming to visit a friend?
Thanks for any advice!
Mar 18, 2013 10:30 AM
Transit Without Visa TWOV is not the same as a "transit visa." The first you get gratis, as long as you have a conforming itinerary. The second you get in advance through application and fee payment, same as a tourist or business visa. They have different restrictions and different legal implications for the foreigner, so don't mix them up.
The 24-hour rule for double-stop TWOV is is not that hard to understand. It's 24 hours from the scheduled arrival at Airport 1 to the scheduled departure from Airport 2. That's all total, including the domestic flight segment. Therefore, your outbound flight is not eligible for TWOV, as it is (23:35 + 17) = 40+ hours. 40 > 24. Your return flight might be OK, assuming (10:10 + flight time + 7:40) < 24 hours.
Passsengers with conforming TWOV itineraries may leave the airport, if their connection time makes it viable. You may leave each airport on a double-stop transit though as a practical matter, usually there is not enough time at one or both airports to do so, if the flight ticketing was properly constructed in the first place.
In summary, you need some sort of Chinese visa in advance if you keep this ticketing, at least for the outbound. If you don't have one, likely you will be refused boarding by China Eastern in Osaka. Since a transit visa costs the same as a tourist visa for most nationalities, you might as well get a regular tourist visa if the application burden isn't any more. If you can only get a single entry visa, then you'll need to use it to board in Osaka and to enter China at Qingdao. You will then be free to travel as a domestic passenger until you are ready to leave Kunming, at which point you'll exit China there. On the return, you should be able to use TWOV. If you can get a double-entry tourist visa, then you can use an entry each way, assuming you'd have no need in the future of the 2nd entry for something else. If you have a USA passport or one of the other nationalities that may be able to get a multiple-entry visa good for a longer period of time, you can do that.
If you are not in your home country and the burden of application for a regular tourist visa is too great, then look into getting a transit visa instead. You should be able to get this just by showing your ticketed itinerary. Usually a transit visa is single-entry and good for 7 days inside China, from the time of your first point of arrival (Qingdao). So that would take care of you on the westbound journey with the eastbound using TWOV.
Your final option is to change the outbound routing to get it within the 24 hours.
May 7, 2013 11:59 AM
10Hello, Can someone who has actually travelled from USA to a 3rd country(Thailand, India, Pakistan, Taiwan, Bangladesh,Nepal etc) with 2 Stop transits in China please share your real experience regarding Chinese Visa.
I will be traveling from USA to India via Shanghai and Kunmig with layover of around 24 hrs(total) in these airports-Can someone please share their experience if they had a 2 stop transit in China and if Chinese visa was needed?
Thanks very much.
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