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The 24/72/144-hour visa-free transit is increasingly used by travelers who have a layover in China. Many applicants, however, get denied and are unable to understand the reason for their refusal.
The success rate of visa-free transit approval depends on many factors. Sometimes, simple mistakes can get your application denied even though you are eligible, meet the requirements, and have provided the necessary documentation.
You should be aware that traveling visa-free through China is a risk and there is no guarantee that you will be allowed to leave the transit area.
Here are the top 7 reasons why a 24/72/144-hour visa-free transit application may be denied. We hope you avoid these commonly made mistakes so that you don't have any delays experiencing the joys of China.
One of the most common reasons for rejection appears to be too short a layover time (8 hours or less) where immigration officials may feel you have insufficient time to ensure you will make your connecting flight if you leave the airport.
In recent times, immigration officials at the airports have increasingly refused permission to leave the airport for short transits. We have seen transits as long as 12–18 hours being refused. This has even happened to passengers who booked tours during their layovers.
It is more secure to make sure that your layover is at least 24 hours.
You might be rejected after an immigration official looks through your passport and sees some stamps on the pages.
Here are some situations that may incur a higher visa refusal rate:
(1) If you have a record of staying in a sensitive area, such as Turkey, it can seriously hurt your chances of visa approval.
(2) If you have a record of a China visa refusal or visa refusals from any country, your visa application will likely be denied.
(3) If you have a record of overstaying in certain countries, it will be much harder for you to convince an immigration officer to trust you.
Even though 24- and 72-hour visa-free transit policies apply to passengers traveling by air, train, or boat, it is more secure to show that you will be entering and leaving China by air.
It is hard for immigration officials to verify train/boat tickets but it is easy to verify flight tickets, if necessary.
A reason for visa-free transit to be refused could be due to presenting an inadequate travel plan.
Such cases include:
Why do you want to travel to Beijing/Shanghai? It is a frequently asked question when applying for visa-free transit.
If you are unable to give a clear or justified purpose for your trip, your application will be denied.
Are you traveling for sightseeing purposes? Will you be attending a seminar or conference? Whatever your reason is, it has to be clear and honest.
For sightseeing, your itinerary must be realistic. If you only have 10 hours but say you will see six attractions, which usuallytakes2 days to accomplish, you will have a problem.
We are even aware of an instance when a passenger said he would like to have dinner in the city and was denied by the official who replied, "You can have dinner in the airport".
You might be rejected if your passport does not have a valid remaining period, such as only 3 months left, or does not possess two different blank visa pages.
An additional factor that might lead to your 24/72/144-hour visa-free transit application being refused is that your passport is not in good condition, such as having a damaged passport cover or some pages are either coming off or missing.
Sometimes, you are just rejected and don’t know what is going on even though you have adequately prepared for your application.
It is always up to the discretion of the immigration officer whether you will be allowed entry into China.
Two more tips might be helpful to raise the success rate of your application:
1. When you show your boarding ticket, tell your airline about your intention to use the visa-free transit policy and leave the airport, and they will write notes in their system.
2. Be respectful to the immigration officer, and express your humbleness and courtesy toward him/her.
Not sure whether you are eligible to us the visa-free transit policy, contact us to check.
If you are not eligible to use the visa-free transit policy or don't want to take the risk of being denied, you can consider applying for a port visa in Beijing or Shanghai.
As one of a few companies that have been approved by the Ministry of Public Security to arrange Beijing/Shanghai port visas, we can provide you with a convenient port visa service. Contact us to have a hassle-free China layover tour.
Here are our popular layover tours for your reference: