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visa needed?

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Waterbury, Vermont
posts: 3
reviews: 1
visa needed?

I have a 12 hr overnight stopover in Chengdu. I know I am OK with no visa if I don't leave the airport. Hopefully the airport is open all night. If I want to find an overnight hotel can I do so without a visa? Are there only Airport Hotels at which I can do this? Getting a visa is US $130 plus - about the cost of the hotel room. I would like to avoid that cost. According to the Chinese visa website I need a visa BUT I have heard otherwise from various sources including the airline.

I am 64 years old and travelling by myself and would love to lie down! Thanks for you help -

Miami Beach, Florida
Destination Expert
for Shanghai Region
posts: 6,421
reviews: 93
1. Re: visa needed?

The Chinese Embassy website for your country rules. All other info is unsubstantiated rumor.

(The airline is in the business of selling tickets, not granting visas.)

True story: My traveling companion checked with the airline three times on different days and was told a transit through Hong Kong, considering his country's passport, was OK. It was not and had to buy a last-minute full-price ticket to avoid the HK transit. Your airline is not admitting you to Chengdu, China. The People's Republic of China is. Unless you see it in writing from the PRC Embassy in the U.S., then I would never begin the trip without a visa.

(I am not sure why you are transiting from one country to another through the PRC at Chengdu. What is your routing and why not change it to avoid the visa fee?)

Waterbury, Vermont
posts: 3
reviews: 1
2. Re: visa needed?

I have to get to Kathmandu for a wedding at the beginning of October and am traveling on Award Miles. There wasn't much choice when I made the reservations. The routing is Chicago to HKG (for 3 days) then to Chengdu and Kathmandu. Changing the routing would be $150 and I might try that. The problem flight is from Bangkok to Kathmandu - no seats avail for award miles - its high season in Nepal. In the meantime thank you for your confirmation of what I thought would be the end result ... needing that visa for mainland China!

Magog, Canada
posts: 27,322
reviews: 493
3. Re: visa needed?

What you wish to do requires a visa.

Beijing, China
Destination Expert
for Beijing
posts: 5,000
reviews: 82
4. Re: visa needed?

The general rule is you get up to 24hrs visa-free transit provided you don't leave the airport. So if you want to go to a hotel that's immediately out-the-window: you'd need to enter China, pass immigration, customs etc. = visa needed. Maybe the airport has a lounge you could use (?).

Toronto
Destination Expert
for Tokyo
posts: 17,921
reviews: 26
5. Re: visa needed?

In practice in most cases you can. Although most Chinese embassy websites say "without leaving the airport", Chinese LAW says you CAN:

ebeijing.gov.cn/feature_2/…t1034962.htm

china.org.cn/english/LivinginChina/184914.htm

…china-embassy.org/eng/lsqw/lsfg/t146145.htm

"Article 8 Aliens may be exempt from going through the procedures for obtaining a transit visa if they hold a through ticket and have booked seats on international airliners flying directly through China, and will stay in a transit city for less than 24 hours without leaving the airport; aliens who wish to leave the airport shall apply to the border inspection office for permission to stay."

But as you know, laws are not always properly enforced. They are many travelers on transit without a visa for under 24 hrs, left the airport and came back and flew out.

My suggestion: if you must stay in a hotel overnight, get a visa before you leave. If on the other hand you can survive staying inside the airport if the stars don't align(and Chinese law not properly enforced), save the visa fee and try your luck.

Edited: 4:29 pm, July 13, 2011
Toronto
Destination Expert
for Tokyo
posts: 17,921
reviews: 26
6. Re: visa needed?

Timatic (KLM or Delta visa requirement page) - used by most airlines worldwide:

for a max. transit TIRULES/R32 time of 24 hours.

- All transiting passengers are subject to passport control.

Passengers in transit are required to hold travel documents accepted for entry into China (People's Rep.). For more details on document requirements, please enter China (People's Rep.) as a destination.

- Leaving the airport transit area is allowed. Overnight facilities are available outside the airport.

Edited: 4:45 pm, July 13, 2011
Magog, Canada
posts: 27,322
reviews: 493
7. Re: visa needed?

Bibimbob - what it says in their airline system may mean that the airline will let you board the plane but I don't think that the immigration officers at the airport in Chengdu care about the content of the airline system.

I have never seen any report on TA of people transiting through Chengdu and going to town without a visa. not saying it cannot be done but maybe the OP can try and let us know what happens.

Edited: 5:20 pm, July 13, 2011
Toronto
Destination Expert
for Tokyo
posts: 17,921
reviews: 26
8. Re: visa needed?

It's not news that officials don't follow the laws of the land, which I posted above.

The Timatic database is not compiled out of thin air. TA is also not the only travel forum out there, and most people don't come back to post as it's mostly a newbie forum.

San Francisco...
posts: 2
9. Re: visa needed?

Hi jwl75

have you been able to resolve the visa issue. I am in a similar situation. Just wondering if I can stay at the airport.

Thanks,

angalya

San Francisco...
posts: 12
reviews: 1
10. Re: visa needed?

The reviews for the airport hotel are nightmarish. I am doing the same thing the second week in January with a 12 hour overnight layover. Am VERY interested in hearing anyone else's personal experience of either venturing out or staying at the airport.