China to introduce 72-hour Beijing visa-free stay

6 Dec 2012 by BusinessTraveller

Good news for readers planning to route via Beijing. In a bid to make life easier for transit passengers, the Chinese government will soon allow these travellers to break their journey in Beijing for a maximum of 72 hours without needing to apply for a visa in advance.

According to the official Chinese news website yesterday and todayresidents of 45 countries will be allowed the new visa-free facility which takes effect from January 1, 2013.

Passengers must be in possession of a confirmed ticket for onward travel and must not leave the city itself during the transit period.

“Foreign visitors must be reminded that they are not permitted to leave Beijing to other Chinese cities during the 72 hours. They have to depart from Beijing,” says Ji Lixia, assistant director of the Beijing General Station of Exit and Entry Frontier Inspection.

The transit visa will be granted on arrival but Ji Lixia says that foreign visitors must register at a police station with their visa within 24 hours.

China is relaxing its visa rules in order to boost its tourism and aviation businesses.

The Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development says that it expects the current five million tourist arrivals to double within three years.

It is believed the visa-free policy is intended for use by for tourists. But it would be convenient for all travellers flying via China to another destination elsewhere and who wish to experience some of the city’s famous attractions.

The list of 45 countries includes: UK and most European countries, Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, the UAE and Qatar.

Report by Alex McWhirter

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