Flying into Shanghai-how does visa work? What do I need to do?

Discussion in 'Asia' started by THREEA4ME, Mar 29, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. THREEA4ME
    • Original Member

    THREEA4ME Silver Member

    Flying In on April 30, does anyone have up-to-date visa requirements?
  2. MSPeconomist
    • Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Look at the consulate/embassy website in your country of citizenship or residence. In the US, the only strange requirement IME is that the documents must be delivered in person, not by mail or a courier service. This means that if there isn't a Chinese consulate in your city, either you must travel to one (perhaps twice, to deliver and fetch your documents) or you must use a visa service agency. In this case, get a recommendation. Do not blindly find one on the web or upon recommendation of your airline.

    If you're continuing your travel to a third country, even with a long stopover in China of up to seven (!) days, you might qualify for the relatively new visa-free transit program, but read the rules very carefully.

    For US citizens, Chinese visas are expensive and involve some hassle (nothing like Russia), but it generally is easy to get a one-year multi-entry tourist visa for the asking.

    Start early. Remember that the visa service agency routine eats up a day or two on each side. At times, China does not offer expedited visas and they close for a variety of holidays.
  3. ThatJohn
    • Original Member

    ThatJohn Silver Member

  4. MyMiles&Points
    • Original Member

    MyMiles&Points Milepoint Guide

    It also depends on how long you'll be in PVG. I think if you're there for under 24 or 48 hours, you might not need a visa (but that's not the rule for all Chinese cities).
  5. THREEA4ME
    • Original Member

    THREEA4ME Silver Member

    I'm leaving from LAX -- where I live -- I'll be there 49 hours -- looks like I need to spend $140 for a tourist visa good for up to 24 months. Ugh. Please let me know if I've got my facts wrong.
  6. TRAVELSIG
    • Original Member

    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

    Get the Visa- although technically it is supposed to be possible without- I know more than a few people who have been denied boarding the aircraft without the visa.
  7. MSPeconomist
    • Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    This is only if you will be transiting to some third country. It does not mean that you can enter for a short visit without a visa.
  8. MyMiles&Points
    • Original Member

    MyMiles&Points Milepoint Guide

    Thanks for clearing this up. I've never tried this personally (I paid for the visa on my last visit) but I had seen conversations surrounding it a while ago when AA had the fares to PVG and people were discussing how to do a MR with the visa issue.
  9. anabolism
    • Original Member

    anabolism Gold Member

    Some people say they buy a refundable ticket from PVG to some third country, so they can show this to gain entry. Personally, I wouldn't do this; I'd get a visa.

    I did fly HKG-PVG-ORD recently, which required being admitted into China in order to turn around and leave.
  10. TRAVELSIG
    • Original Member

    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

    And then how do you exit china?
  11. MSPeconomist
    • Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Maybe I'm overly cautious, but I personally would never deliberately risk a violation of visa rules. I'd be nervous and upset. The possibility of legal trouble far from home doesn't seem worth it to me.
  12. infoworks
    • Original Member

    infoworks Silver Member

    My understanding is no visa - no entry. For those who travel for work and have a member country passport, an APEC Card means you don't require a visa. But, it's not a fast process.
  13. anabolism
    • Original Member

    anabolism Gold Member

    According to Visa-free entry & Transit (G) Visa
    My reading of this is that you can visit Shanghai without a visa if you stay less than 48 hours, and are transiting. I don't know if the transit clause means you must be going to a third country, but this seems very likely.
  14. IMGone
    • Original Member

    IMGone Silver Member

    Keep in mind that even if you are technically okay based on the countrys entry requirements that the airline is not always up on the nuances. If they say you need to show a visa and you don't have one (even though you don't need one), they can refuse to fly you. The airline gets dinged for bringing in anyone without the right documentation, so it is easier to say no then figure out that its okay here but not there, etc
  15. anabolism
    • Original Member

    anabolism Gold Member

    Indeed. I believe that, in general, the airline is responsible for flying you back if you're refused entry, so they don't want to let you fly out if it doesn't look like you'll be admitted.
  16. ThatJohn
    • Original Member

    ThatJohn Silver Member

    Hey, THREEA4ME, you've seen the recent Chinese crackdown on everything from Ai Weiwei to the new gay bar on the Bund, right? I'm pretty sure this is not the time to go tickling any sleeping dragons.
  17. Canadi>n
    • Original Member

    Canadi>n Silver Member

    Has anyone any experience with AC's accepting this Transit Visa rule? I have such a transit coming up later this month and not much turn around to get a normal China visa if AC is sticky on this point. Same goes for TG ex-MEL who I will be flying back to PVG and then later in the day onward on AC back to Canada.
  18. MSPeconomist
    • Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    I don't know and don't have any specific experience with this, but I would imagine that international airlines would be familiar with the idea of transit passengers not needing to clear immigration and customs if they don't leave the airport. I would think that a transit time of several or even a bit more but all on the same day would be pretty easy for an airline to accept, but anything involving an overnight or more would make them very nervous. It would help for have a hard copy of the visa-free transit rules. Also, can you ask the airlines in advance to put a comment in your record that no Chinese visa is needed for this itinerary?
  19. Aktchi
    • Original Member

    Aktchi Silver Member

    Would I need a visa to enter PEK or PVG if I am continuing onwards to HKG? I know HKG is in China now, but HKG's own immigration rules seem to have life of their own. Thanks.
  20. IMGone
    • Original Member

    IMGone Silver Member

    It depends on how long you're in PEK/PVG (and assuming we're talking US pp, no clue if not)
  21. anabolism
    • Original Member

    anabolism Gold Member

    My understanding is that if you are a citizen of one of the countries listed (such as the U.S.), and you fly from the U.S. to China with an onward ticket to a third country, including Hong Kong, then you do not need a visa provided one of the following is true:
    1. You are transiting in Shanghai (PVG) for no more than 48 hours
    2. You are transiting in Beijing (PEK) for no more than 24 hours and you do not leave the airport
    Note that Beijing is much more restrictive, as you can't even overnight at a groundside hotel.
  22. MSPeconomist
    • Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    I don't understand your last statement. An airside hotel, if there is one at PEK, would mean not leaving the airport. Wouldn't the problem be a landside hotel, even if located at the airport?
  23. anabolism
    • Original Member

    anabolism Gold Member

    My apologies; in my sleep-deprived state I accidently typed "airside" when of course I meant "groundside" as otherwise the statement makes no sense. Sorry about that. I've corrected it.

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