Transit without visa in Shanghai
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Oct 19, 2012 1:39 PM Last Post By: AlBeamer
Sep 14, 2012 10:50 AM
Transit without visa in ShanghaiI will be transiting through Shanghai on to Cambodia in November. As it is scheduled, my itinerary puts me in Shanghai for 15 minutes less than the 48 hours window for TWOV. My flight into Shanghai is routinely 45 minutes early. Is the TWOV based on scheduled time or actual time? If it is based on actual time, is there a way travelers can kill 45 minutes between the time their flight arrives and the time they proceed through immigration in Shanghai? I appreciate any help or advice anyone can give me.
Sep 14, 2012 11:00 AM
1The 48 hour window is your maximum ‘free’ hours in Shanghai, not dictated by your transit layover.
Sep 14, 2012 11:11 AM
Sep 14, 2012 11:33 AM
3You face a few issues. Not all Passports get the 48 hour Transit Visa, and also, the airline will enforce the Visa requirements prior to boarding.
But, When you arrive in Shanghai, take your time going to Immigration/Passport Control, then you will get to the officer and show him your onward flight, which will now be less than 48 hours from that point, when he looks at the clock. Not sure if thats solid advice, but its a thought.
Curious, what airline flight is from Shanghai to Cambodia?
Sep 14, 2012 11:53 AM
4Thanks for the reply. I travel on a US passport and my partner on a Canadian passport, so I believe that we're eligible for the 48 hours. Are you suggesting that the airline we fly from LA to Shanghai (AA) will check to see if our 48 hour stay is valid and if its flight is scheduled to arrive early we won't be allowed to board? Yikes!
We are flying Shanghai Airlines from PVG to Phnom Penh. I believe that Shanghai Airlines is now a subsidiary of China Eastern but I'm still keeping my fingers crossed.
Sep 14, 2012 12:00 PM
5It is the airlines that enforce the Visa requirements, if you were flying to Shanghai for 3 days, you would need a China Visa, and the Airline needs to make sure you have a Visa, before issuing border passes. If you bought the Shanghai to PP Cambodia ticket separately, then you need to provide that for both proof of onward travel (Again, Airline enforces these requirements), and also proof you are only 48 hours or less. So, call American Airlines.
Sep 14, 2012 10:31 PM
6It's the SCHEDULED arrival into and departure from Shanghai that determines the 24 or 48 hours. Not when you are stamped in, not real-time changes due to early arrivals, unforeseen delays, etc. American and Canadian passport holders are on the list to receive 48 hours of Transit Without Visa at Shanghai. In short, you have no worries from the Chinese immigration side. Just have a printout of your full confirmed itinerary handy. If on two separate tickets, have both itineraries printed out.
Your originating airline should be knowledgeable about the 48-hour TWOV, but AA has been known in the past to be a problem. In case you get a clueless check-in agent demanding a visa, have a printout of the applicable rules from Timatic (the database used by most airlines to determine visa needs for passengers). And ask for a supervisor if necessary, and stand your ground. If you have to invoke heavy artillery and threaten an IDB (Involuntary Denied Boarding Claim, which involves compensation), then do so. Allow some extra time at airport check-in, just in case you run into obstinancy and particularly if you are on two separate tickets rather than a single through ticket. For the most user-friendly version of Timatic, check out the following on the Delta website, filling in the blanks to get the popup with applicable rules for you (and separately, your partner): http://www.delta.com/planning_reservations/plan_flight/international_travel_information/visa_passport_information/index.jsp
Sep 15, 2012 11:00 AM
Oct 18, 2012 9:56 AM
8I had a change in my plans which required that I get a visa. Getting the visa was interesting in that the Chinese visa officer insisted that I needed a multiple entry visa for my trip despite the fact that my second entry was simply to transit via Shanghai in far less than the 48 hours given. According to the officer, I could not transit without a visa if I entered the country initially on a tourist visa. I was baffled as this totally went against the advice I was given by others who had transited through Shanghai. I was in no position to push the issue and she didn't seem willing to budge.
For those of us holding American passports, this is not really an issue in that there is no additional cost (the $140 fee covers both single and multiple entry tourist visas) or paperwork needed and my understanding is that most American passport holders are issued multiple entry visas . However, for those foreign citizens domiciled in the US, in addition to the slightly increased paperwork, there is an additional charge for the multiple entry visa.
Oct 18, 2012 10:15 AM
9I suspect she was just doing you a favour, since there's no extra cost for Americans getting a multiple-entry visa. This way, you don't have to worry about complications if the flight schedule changes or if you're late for your flight or whatever. And it'll be easier heading right through immigration with a visa in hand than getting a stopover pass. Why on earth wouldn't you ask for a multiple-entry visa in your circumstances?
Oct 18, 2012 10:29 AM
I appreciate and am thankful that she did me this favor. However, I'm traveling with someone who is a Canadian citizen living in the US. Canadians(and various other nationalities) have the same TWOV privilege in Shanghai but have different visa requirements and charges when getting a Chinese visa in the US than an American citizen. He had to provide additional paperwork and pay an additional fee; like me, his second entry is simply to transit. Had he followed the advice of others and went on our trip without getting a multiple entry visa, he may have had issues. Or he may not have. There seems to be a difference in experiences. I wrote only to let folks know what happened in our case. Knowledge is power.
Oct 18, 2012 10:49 AM
11I agree with #9, I think the officer was doing you a favor and maybe not explaining it well. You would not have needed a valid visa for the second (transit-only) stop. But I question your response (excuse?) to #9. For a US citizen who needs to pay anyway to get a visa, it's plain stupid not to get the multiple-entry for the same price. Regardless of friends with different passports who may need to travel under more restrictive visa terms. If a problem ever was to crop up, it's better to have only one person facing issues rather than two.
And per the situation presented in post #10, he would also have been OK to transit the second time without a visa (therefore not requiring a double-entry or multiple-entry visa). However, only some nationals get the 48 hour grace period, most others are still limited to 24 hours. His passport would have been the determinant of transit time allowed: 24 vs 48 hours, and his domicile in the US would have had no bearing on the matter as far as Chinese Immigration is concerned, though of course the airline checking him in would want to see the proof of right to enter the US via visa, green card, etc. And that the flight connection schedule and transit duration worked for his passport. As his was a Canadian passport, he has the same 48 hour allowance as you the US passport holder.
If you had travelled with a Peruvian for instance, you'd get 48 hours and he'd get 24 hours. But in a case like this, you'd want to make the FLIGHT arrangements fit the most restrictive situation (his). NOT the VISA arrangements allowed.
General rule with Chinese visas: MAX out on the best visa you can get for your passport at the time you get it. The Chinese change the rules enough that the next bite at the apple you get may not be so favorable.
Oct 18, 2012 11:05 AM
12Also, if your new schedule still has a very tight 47h45m layover, that may have well influenced the visa clerk to be a bit obstructionist.
It's not unusual for Chinese bureaucrats to simply make up some explanation for what they want to do and then stand pat, no matter how illogical the explanation might seem. So I'm not inclined to worry too much about the "rule" announced by the clerk.
Oct 18, 2012 11:54 AM
13The poster was in the Chicago Consulate, and they are usually polite and gracious, and are always willing to help and not make a fuss. My wife who is from Bejing has been in there for a replacement Chinese Passport and was surprised by the attitudes in there. When she got me a 2 Year L Visa with 90 day entry/exit, they just glanced at the marriage license, and it was ready 2 days later. They also have a great Visa office, a few years ago they separated the Visa services from the main consulate building, and its a well humming and pleasant atmosphere to visit.
When JU visited here when he had a state visit to DC, Mayor Daley met his plane on the tarmac on a cold windy spring day with hie entire family, grandchildren and all, as well as giving him a school tour of the magnet grade schools teaching Mandarin. It was a very positive visit for the Chinese.
Oct 19, 2012 1:39 PM
… I suspect she was just doing you a favour, since there's no extra cost for Americans getting a multiple-entry visa.
… make up some explanation for what they want to do and then stand pat, no matter how illogical the explanation ...
… change the rules enough that the next bite at the apple you get may not be so favorable...
The airlines’ checking of visa is to protect themselves. Years ago a friend convinced an airlines that she could obtain visa-on-arrival, and the airlines allowed her to board the flight. After landed in China, she was refused entry. The airlines had to fly her back to the departing country at the airlines’ cost.
The airlines couldn’t care less if the passenger is qualified for temporary stopover or not, so long as the transit rules are applied and the airlines is off the hook for any potential damages.
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