Home China Guide Beijing Tour Planning Beijing 72-Hour Visa-Free Transit Policy

Beijing 72-Hour Visa-Free Transit: Requirements and Procedures

72-hour visa-free travel in Beijing began on January 1st, 2013. You may be able to stay for up to 72 hours in Beijing without a visa.

Beijing 72-Hour Visa-Free TravelPassengers from 51 countries enjoy 72-hour visa-free transit in Beijing.

The Requirements

If you want to enjoy the 72-hour visa-free transit policy, you will need to meet these criteria:

1. The 72-hour Visa-free Transit Policy is valid for passport holders of the following nationalities:

  • Americans (of 6 countries): the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and the Republic of Chile.
  • European Citizens (of 37 countries): Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Albania.
  • Oceanians (of 2 countries): Australia and New Zealand.
  • Asians (of 6 countries): South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

2. You must be in transit in Beijing and take a connecting flight to a third country/region (Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are counted as separate regions for transit visa purposes).
For example, New York – Beijing – Hong Kong would qualify; but New York – Beijing – New York does not qualify.

3. Your departing flight must make no further stops in China, even if your flight only stops on a runway and you are not required to change planes. For example, New York – Beijing – Nanjing – Seoul doesn't qualify.

4. You must enter and depart Beijing from the same airport: Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK).

5. Your stay in Beijing must not exceed 72 hours, calculated from 00:00 following the day of entry.

6. You can only travel within Beijing Municipality. You can go to most of the popular Great Wall sections, but may not cross into neighboring Tianjin Municipality or Hebei Province.

passportA valid passport is needed.

The Procedures

1. When booking/checking in, inform the airline your intent to apply for 72-hour visa-free transit, and acquire a printout of the required onward flight ticket(s).

2. On the flight, fill in an Arrival Card, obtainable from the flight service team.

3. After disembarking, locate the dedicated counter for 72-hour visa-free transit passengers, and provide the immigration officer with your documents:

  • A valid passport issued by one of the above 51 countries
  • A printout showing details of an onward airline ticket for a third country/region with confirmed date and seat
  • An Arrival Card (completely filled in)
  • A visa for the third region or country, if required

4. Claim your luggage, go through the customs, and leave the airport, as you would with a visa.

Some Tips for You — Good to Know

1. If you already have a valid visa for China, remember to ask the officer at the 72-hour visa-free transit counter for a visa-free stay permit on your passport. Then you can retain your visa unused.

2. The inbound and outbound flights can be with different airlines. They can also be on different tickets.

3. Plan ahead for your visa-free stay, and allow enough time to get from and to the airport.

4. If you cannot depart within 72 hours due to unavoidable reasons, you need to apply for a visa from the Municipal Public Security Bureau.

The Great Wall at MutianyuThe Great Wall at Mutianyu

How to Spend Your 72 Hours in Beijing

The Highlights You Shouldn't Miss:

  • Tianan'men Square: As a landmark of Beijing, it is the largest famous world square.
  • The Forbidden City: The world’s largest and best-preserved imperial palace was constructed in 1420.
  • The Great Wall at Mutianyu: A restored Great Wall section with fewer crowds, the most impressive scenery, and convenient cable car service.

A Sample 72-Hour Itinerary for Your Reference
We suggest arranging your flights to land in Beijing in the afternoon and leave in the morning three days later, to optimize your visa-free enjoyment of Beijing:

  • Day 1: Afternoon arrival.
  • Day 2: Visit Tian'anmen Square and the Forbidden City.
  • Day 3: Visit the Great Wall at Mutianyu, and go shopping in the afternoon.
  • Day 4: Morning departure.

Taking a Visa-Free Tour with China Highlights

As your transit time is very limited, you are recommended to book a private tour in which you can make the most of your time and enjoy hassle-free convenience.

We are glad to help tailor-make a Beijing tour for you. Here are two recommended itineraries that can be customized to your visa-free needs: