IMPORTANT UPDATE: As of Aug 27, 2017 it is now almost IMPOSSIBLE to transit in China without a visa. I was personally told that day by airport and immigration officials at Guangzhou Airport that Chinese immigration has become significantly stricter with their 24-hour visa-free policy since a week prior to Aug 27, 2017. This also means that without a valid visa, you will NOT be entitled to the free accommodations and transfers your airline provides for long stopovers. Therefore, avoid booking flights with long stopovers in China or if inevitable, get a visa from the embassy beforehand.
Also check out my other useful posts about visas as a Philippine passport holder!
How I Entered China Without a Visa
FACT: Only a handful of passports can enter China without a visa, such as Japan or Singapore.
FACT: In general, Philippine passports can only enter a total of 61 countries or less without a visa, and China is not one of them.
FACT: Some (first world) passports which, although typically need a visa to enter China, can enter without one if they are only transiting (strictly traveling to a third country through China) for up to 72 hours in major airports (144 hours for Shanghai.) This link has the most comprehensive guide available for this visa free transit program.
FACT: As a Philippine passport holder, as I recently found out when I was at Beijing Capital Airport, you can enter China without a visa if you have an onward flight (transiting) to a third country within 24 hours (based on your flight schedule) and I have the passport stamps to prove it! See below:
|Landed on April 27, 2016 and permitted to stay until the next day, based on my flight schedule. 🙂|
It shouldn’t be too difficult to understand why this is allowed. After all, if you’re boarding a full service airline, like I did with Air China (a Star Alliance member airline), and have a connection time of over 6 hours or so, you have to leave the airport since you are entitled to FREE hotel accommodations and transfers! Simply call the airline after booking your flight in order to place a reservation.
How to enter China without a visa:
After landing at Beijing Airport in China, I proceeded to immigration but I did not have to fall in line at the lane for “Foreigners.” Instead, I was told to proceed to the special lane designated lane for “APEC card holders/pregnant/senior citizens/etc” Simply show them your 1) passport, 2) onward boarding pass, and 3) arrival card (given by the airline on board) where you write down details of your onward flight found on your boarding pass. The officer scans everything, stamps your passport and writes down the date you’re permitted to stay until, then you’re FREE TO GO EXPLORE (or rest in your free hotel, hopefully if you get one)! 🙂
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