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144 hour Visa Exemption Transit Policy

Gerrards Cross...
Level Contributor
9 posts
126 reviews
144 hour Visa Exemption Transit Policy

Hi Shanghai Travellers, just to let you know that from January 30 there is a new visa exemption transit policy in place for visitors to Shanghai. I have just come back from a trip to Shanghai using this new rule. The main conditions are: a) you have a valid passport, b) your onward travel is to a different country from the one you arrived from in Shanghai (e.g. arrive from the UK but don't return straight back to the UK, go to a 3rd country first. For this purpose Hong Kong and Macau are classified as different countries), c) Tell your airline at check-in that you are going to Shanghai under the visa exemption rule, they will inform the Shanghai authorities in advance of you arriving. Then when you arrive in Shanghai just follow the signs for the "144 hour visa exemption desk" and I was lucky because I was the only passenger on my plane to enter this way: so I had no queue at all whereas others were stadning in a long queue. You can use this rule to enter China for pleasure but also for business travel. The rules and details are here on this website of the Shanghai Immigration website: www.sh-immigration.gov.cn/listPageEn.aspx… . Any questions just let me know. Enjoy your travels. Before I forget, this 144 hour rule currently only applies to Shanghai/Jiangsu & Zhejiang. The rules for other places such as Beijing are unaffected, they still have the 77 hour rule but are likely to follow Shanghai's lead at some stage.

881 replies to this topic
Sherbrooke, Canada
Level Contributor
45,691 posts
824 reviews
1. Re: 144 hour Visa Exemption Transit Policy

Yes this was announnced some time ago nd there is a thread on it: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g30827…

But more importantly, there is a travelers article (found under Top Questions right next to the post) with all the details: https:/…Visa.Free.Transits.html

By the way, Beijing offers TWOV for 72 hours, not 77.

Leicestershire...
Level Contributor
14 posts
14 reviews
2. Re: 144 hour Visa Exemption Transit Policy

Hi there,

Thanks for your post.

Just wondered if you could provide some advice.

When I contacted the Chinese visa centre earlier this week they informed me that I still needed a Chinese visa but I'm not sure the person I spoke to understood my travel arrangements so I'm still a bit confused.

Are you able to confirm that if one arrives in Shanghai by aircraft and leaves 2.5 days later on a cruise ship that visits 2 other countries and departs from Japan then the 144 hour visa exemption transit policy would apply?

It would be great to get clarification .

Thanks

Sherbrooke, Canada
Level Contributor
45,691 posts
824 reviews
3. Re: 144 hour Visa Exemption Transit Policy

Based on what you are saying here, you seem ok. Here are the official rules: www.sh-immigration.gov.cn/listPageEn.aspx…

The problem might be to convince the airline. Airlines are familiar with air-to-air transits but there has been no report of someone pulling this off for an air-to-sea transit. The challenge for the airline is to determine that your cruise will leave china for a third country and not stop in China. Get a detailed itinerary from your cruise company and get in touch with airline ahead of time. Your challenge will be to find someone at the airline who cares and will bother to air-to-sea transits.

Please report back in any case.

Leicestershire...
Level Contributor
14 posts
14 reviews
4. Re: 144 hour Visa Exemption Transit Policy

Thank you for your prompt reply

We are not due to travel to China until the autumn but when we know either way will post accordingly

Thanks

Leeds, United...
Level Contributor
251 posts
38 reviews
5. Re: 144 hour Visa Exemption Transit Policy

We arrive in Shanghai on 3rd October stay 4 nights then board Mariner of the seas sailing to Japan. Reading about the scheme we don't need to spend the £380 for 2 visas, however RCL are still saying we need one, I would urge everyone in a similar position as mine to contact their cruise line as they don't seem too bothered and direct you to the visa centre who when I phoned them said ' There is a lot of confusion about visas, you are safer to apply for one' Well they are going to say that aren't they, that's how they make their money. I have been writing to cruise lines/agents and the Chinese embassy on this. I find it totally disgraceful that the cruise line simply takes your money and doesn't keep up to date with visa changes, it's very poor customer service by them. the travel agents tell me they can't issue my tickets until I give them my visa numbers ( a requirement of Royal Caribbean International. I would rather we spent £380 on holiday, not on a visa we don't need and RCL need to get their act together!!!

Leeds, United...
Level Contributor
251 posts
38 reviews
6. Re: 144 hour Visa Exemption Transit Policy

The problem isn't the airline, I contacted Emirates who we fly with. They are aware of the new scheme, the girl pulled it up on her computer and read out what I already know. It's the cruise lines who aren't up to speed on this, in my case it's Royal Caribbean International,( see me post below). I have written to the Chinese Embassy in London asking for a letter which I will copy/send to RCL. My point is somebody at RCL should take their finger out and do their job, not wait for their customers to bring this to their attention.

Leeds, United...
Level Contributor
251 posts
38 reviews
7. Re: 144 hour Visa Exemption Transit Policy

They told me the same, however if you think about this. This is where they make their money. Some people will need visas, others who are staying for 144 hours or less coming in then leaving china don't need one, hence they will issue less visas and make less money. The Chinese government introduced this to boost tourism. Google (144 hour visa free transit)

Sherbrooke, Canada
Level Contributor
45,691 posts
824 reviews
8. Re: 144 hour Visa Exemption Transit Policy

I don't know who you are talking about when saying "this is where they make their money".

Several cruise companies have already advised their clients that no visa is required for qualified transits Yours may get around to it eventually.

when you contacted Emirates, did you explain that you were taking a cruise after? They are quite aware of the air-to-air transit as this is part of TIMATIC (the database used by airlines). But TIMATIC is silent on air-to-sea transits. Emirates website mentions the 144-hour exemption but they say that it is limited to departure from airports: emirates.com/english/plan_book/essential_inf…

Better ask for something in writing in case to hear a different story when you are trying to board as what they told you does not match their website.

Leicestershire...
Level Contributor
14 posts
14 reviews
9. Re: 144 hour Visa Exemption Transit Policy

Thanks for your reply I agree the cruise companies are sitting back and expecting their passengers to pay the fee which I believe has now gone up to about £151.00 ?its almost twice the amount we paid the last time we visited China which was a few years ago -before the transit visas.

Have you had any communication with Royal Caribbean? We are with Celebrity which is part of the same company.

Our travel company mentioned the transit visa but apparently is our responsibility to check.

If you have any news please post

Thanks

Dublin, California
Level Contributor
23,853 posts
47 reviews
10. Re: 144 hour Visa Exemption Transit Policy

It does not matter what the cruise line thinks. You are not arriving China via cruise. By the time you board the ship you are leaving China. So the real issue is whether your airline will let you board with this scheme. So that's where I would make absolutely certain that your airline knows about this new 144 hr scheme, leaving China via cruise ship.

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