Do I need a visa to travel to Beijing?
Normally, a Chinese Visa is required when you will visit Beijing or together with other cities in mainland China. If your purpose is for travel, then you need a China Tourist Visa (L Visa) to travel to Beijing. However, China also offers some Visa Free Policy for certain foreigners, and once you meet one of the special cases, you can visit China without a visa.
Do I need a visa if I have a layover in Beijing?
Once China Transit Visa (G Visa) is needed when aliens transit through China. But currently, TWOV (Transit Without Visa) is getting more and more popular among international travelers, and China adopted different kinds of Visa-free Transit Policy in different cities for such situation.
Beijing belongs to one part of the Jing-Jin-Ji (Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei 京津冀地区) Metropolitan Region which enjoys 144-Hour Visa-free Transit Rule. Thus, you may apply for 144-Hour Visa-free Transit to enter and visit Beijing & specified area for not exceeding 6 days, if you have a layover in Beijing and are eligible for all the requirements.
Since April 15th, 2015, China carried out the 24 Hour Visa Free Transit in Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing for all foreigners, who hold connecting flight tickets to a third country/region. It allows passengers stay within the airport for less than 24 hours, without going through any immigration or customs. If you want to leave airport (transit within 24 hours), you shall apply for Temporary Entry Permit from the immigration office at Beijing Capital International Airport.
This is really a huge convenience if your waiting time for next flight in Beijing Airport is very short, just a few hours (within 24 hours). You don’t have to prepare documents, apply for a Chinese Visa prior to arrival for the transit, which saves lots of your time and money.
Tip: There is no limitation of applicants’ nationality, but has restriction of your movement and duration of stay.
From January 1st, 2013, Beijing began 72-Hour Transit Visa Exemption Policy for citizens of 45 countries with valid visa & connecting flight tickets to a third country/region. It permits qualified transit passengers enter & exit visa Beijing Capital International Airport, and visit Beijing and enjoy a short-term travel, business trip and family visit.
Say your layover in Beijing is above 24 hours and within 3 days, then no-visa policy gives a surprising opportunity to leave the airport, get a first impression tour of Beijing.
For more details about 72-Hour Visa-free Transit Cities, Valid Countries, Application and Guide in China, please visit China 72 Hour Visa Free Transit >>.
Since December 28th, 2017, Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region has implemented the long-awaited 144-Hour Visa-free Transit to visitors from 53 countries with valid travel document & connecting (flight, ship, trains) tickets to a third country/region. The new policy gives travelers more choices of entry & exit ports, longer visa-free visiting for tourism or business, and larger range of movement to Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Provinces. (Check detailed introduction below ↓)
In China, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Xiamen and more major tourist cities also provide 144-Hour Visa Free Transit. You can get more related information in our China 144-Hour Visa-free Transit >>.
Though we mentioned 3 kinds of Transit Visa Exemption in Beijing, now beijing only owns two Visa-free Transit Policies, 24 Hour and 144 Hour. And the 144-Hour Visa-free Transit Policy is the latest, the most useful and favored option. If you intend to take advantage of Beijing 144 Hour TWOV, make sure you meet all requirements as authority stated.
1. Transit Passengers must be Citizens of Specified 53 Countries
53 Countries Qualified for Beijing 144 Hour Visa Free Transit (Enlarge to See Full List)
2. Transit Passengers must Hold Valid International Travel Document
The passport or international travel document should be valid at least for 3 months. The document presents the nationality whether qualifies for the visa-free layover or not. A valid visa for a third country is needed if requires.
3. Transit Passengers must Hold Connecting Tickets to A Third Country (Region)
Only certain transit routes apply to the 144-Hour Visa-free Transit Policy in Beijing. You need to guarantee Beijing is your intermediate transit point, your departure and onward destination are different. (Note: Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan are considered third regions from mainland China.)
1. US > Beijing > Hong Kong or Macau
2. Australia > Beijing > Tianjin > Hong Kong or Macau
3. US > Beijing > Japan > US
4. New York > Beijing > Kuala Lumpur
5. London > Beijing > Hong Kong
4. Transit Passengers must Enter via Designated Ports
At present, Beijing has opened 3 ports of entry under this policy, including Beijing Capital International Airport and Beijing West Railway Station and the new Beijing Daxing International Airport. You may enter into Beijing through one of the two ports directly, or transfer to Beijing from nearby Tianjin or Hebei Province.
Warm Tips: 1.) The official date of visa-free transit starts from the 00:00 on the next day after arrival. 2.) Visitors who want to stay longer, exit form other ports, or travel to other cities outside Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei have to apply for a China Visa for legal stay. How to Apply for a Chinese Visa>> .
①. Inform the air company that you will use the 144-Hour Visa-free Transit Policy when boarding.
②. Go to waiting area and fill in an Arrival Card (blue version).
③. Submit completed Arrival Card at the 144-Hour Visa-free Counter.
④. Obtain a Temporary Entry Permit stamped on your passport. (Don’t forget to tell the officer you don’t want to use the China Visa you already got.)
⑤. Claim your luggage and go through customs and immigration inspections.
⑥. Leave Beijing Capital International Airport or Beijing West Railway Station to start your exploration in Beijing.
Beijing Capital International Airport (北京首都国际机场，IATA: PEK, ICAO: ZBAA) is the most important international airport serving Beijing. Known as China’s most busiest airport and one of the top busiest aviation hubs in the world, the airport is connected with more than 160 cities in China, as well as 130 foreign destinations. With the implement of 24-Hour and 144-Hour Visa-free Transit Policy, lots of travelers have a stopover tour in Beijing via Beijing Capital International Airport. Check the following guide for worry-free transit in Beijing.
◆ Location: West Airport Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China (北京市朝阳区机场西路), about 32km (20 miles) northeast of the city center.
◆ Transportation: the airport is accessible by taxi, rail (Beijing Airport Express), airport shuttle bus (more than 10 lines), private car and intercity bus.
◆Get to Major Attractions from Beijing Capital Airport: about 55km (34 miles)/1.5 hours’ driving to Mutianyu Great Wall; about 80km (50 miles)/1.5 hours’ driving to Badaling Great Wall; about 130km (81 miles)/2 hours’ driving to Chengde Jinshanling Great Wall (Hebei); about 30km (19 miles)/1 hour’s driving to Forbidden City; about 40 minutes ~ 1 hour to Tian'anmen Square.
◆ Beijing Airport Transit Hotels: There are only hourly charged lounges inside the Beijing Capital Airport, which can be found in Terminal 1, 2 and 3. For travelers who can not leave airport (under 24-Hour Visa-free Transit), it's good choice to pay to have a good rest in the lounges. Others who can leave airport, it's free to book any hotels in downtown or near the airport. If your flight arrives too late or too early, better get an hourly paid room to have a good rest first.
◆ Useful Visa-free Services: Upon arrival, visitors can easily find specialized 144-Hour Visa-free counters in Terminal 2 and Terminal 3, where have international or regional flights. Besides, the airport also provides free luggage storage service for qualified visitors. Presenting the Temporary Entry Permit on passport, passengers can leave big baggage in the specified counters for up to 6 days, without any charges.
Getting Transit Visa Exemption in Beijing not only brings real convenience for transiting passengers, but also afford a visa-free travel to Beijing, which ultimately enriches your long flight journey. Once successfully issued, you will have 1 to 6 days to arrange a Beijing tour, covering sightseeing, great wall hiking, food tasting and shopping.
From downtown to suburb area, Beijing posses different kinds of scenic spots, cultural or historic, or natural, for your exploration. Beijing Mutianyu Great Wall, Forbidden City (Palace Museum), Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Dadaling Great Wall are top recommended sites.
Top Recommended Attractions: Mutianyu Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tian’anmen Square
Looking for most popular things to do in Beijing in one day (24 hours)? Great Walls and Forbidden City are the best ideas if it’s your first trip to Beijing. Both are world-known landmarks and must-visit sites you must heard before. Since your time is limited, visiting each attractions needs at least half a day, you’d better choose one only. A warm tip: you can visit Tian’anmen Square - world’s top largest city square and watch flag-raising ceremony in the early morning, and then visit Forbidden City next to the square.
If you prefer to travel in downtown area, it’s suitable to visit Forbidden City and the nearby Temple of Heaven together. You may contact us to know more choices and interesting sites, activities and experience in Beijing.
Top Recommended Attractions: Mutianyu Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tian’anmen Square, Summer Palace, Lama Temple (Yonghegong), Beijing Hutongs, Olympic Park.
3 days (72 hours) is enough for a brief tour of Beijing. The short-term layover allows you to witness mixed look of Beijing in ancient and modern styles, when having a Great Wall Hiking Tour, viewing marvellous ancient royal palace - Forbidden City, and physically see the giant architecture in Olympic Park. When in Beijing, do as Beijingers do. Try the Beijing Roast Duck, walking in the local Hutongs are good way to experience local life.
Just 30 minutes’ high speed (intercity) train travel, Tianjin is easily accessed from Beijing. As a famous port city, Tianjin is the seat of Huangyaguan Great Wall and has preserved many Europe-style buildings. You can exit from China from Tianjin directly via Tianjin Binhai International Airport or Tianjin International Cruise Home Port, or return to Beijing for leaving.
Most Popualr Beijing Visa-free Tours:
Top Recommended Attractions: Mutianyu Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tian’anmen Square, Summer Palace, Lama Temple (Yonghegong), Beijing Hutongs, Olympic Park, Jiankou Great Wall, Simatai Great Wall, 798 Art Zone.
As long as you successfully get transit visa exempted for 144 hours, you can enjoy an in-depth Beijing tour to fully experience the glamour of Beijing. Making a Great Wall Hiking is always the most thrilling priority. During the long layover, it’s perfect to have an in-depth tour of Great Walls in China, such as a photography tour, a wild Great Wall Hiking, etc. Besides, you can visit royal-featured traditional architectures, like Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, experience local food, life style in Beijing Hutongs, parks, restaurants, spend exciting nightlight in bustling downtown, or have side trips to Tianjin and Hebei.
Most Popualr Beijing Visa-free Tours:
Q1: Can I leave the airport during a layover?
A1: If you satisfy all required conditions of Beijing 24 Hour/144 Hour Visa-free Transit Policy, you can apply for entry permit of Beijing, and leave Beijing Airport. Otherwise, you have to submit application for China Transit Visa (G Visa) prior to arrival, for walking out the airport.
Q2: Can I get a visa on arrival in Beijing?
A2: Beijing does NOT offer any Visa on Arrival policy for regular tourists, except group tour organized by authorized Chinese travel agencies, and do offers some visa waiver service for certain citizens, such as Singapore, Brunei and Japanese can travel to Beijing and other cities in China without visa for 15 days; holders of China’s Permanent Residence Card and Residence Permit can visit Beijing within the passport validity, etc. (Beijing Visa on Arrival is only valid for special emergency entry and group tour to China.)
Note that the issued 24 Hour/ 144 Hour Transit Visa Exemption is Temporary Entry Permit stamped on passport, not official Chinese Visa stuck on visa page.
Q3: Can I go to Shanghai from Beijing under the 144 Hour Visa Policy?
A3: No, you can’t. You can only visit Beijing-Tianjin-Heibei areas, a extra Chinese Visa is required if you will travel to other city beyond the region, or stay longer than the permitted time, or exit from ports not applicable to the rule.
China Discovery is a professional and experienced travel companion who offers high-value and worry-free tours for you. We not only design ideal itinerary covering sightseeing, dining, transfer and hotel, but also can provide any support & help you need to travel to China. Except Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Xiamen, Kunming, Wuhan, Nanjing, Qingdao are also 144-Hour Visa-free Transit cities. If you have a layover in Guilin, Harbin, Changsha, 72-Hour Visa-free Transit is available. Without visa, you can fulfill your dream tour to China, visiting the great cultural, historical, natural landscape. If you are interested in China visa-free tour, we could also customize a China Visa-free Tour in more destinations if you meet relevant visa requirements.
Most Popular China Visa-free Tours:
Top 3 tours chosen by most customers to explore in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once enquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.Customize a Trip
Following are latest questions and answers from our webusers and customers. You can learn many useful information from the discussion and cases. You can also join in the discussions or ask your own question. Our experts will help you ASAP.
[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >