Visit Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and now Chengdu for 72 hours without a visa
China may top the list of appealing destinations for many tourists, but the country’s strict (and pricey) visa policy makes it inconvenient to schedule a quick visit. If you’re planning to travel to one of just four cities, however, and can meet new requirements, it’s possible to arrange a 72-hour stopover in China. The program began last year with Beijing (PEK), and now includes Shanghai (PVG and SHA), Guangzhou (CAN) and Chengdu (CTU) airports. Sarah and I are testing this policy with a three-day trip to Shanghai (departing from Taipei and returning to Honolulu) next month.
To take advantage, book a flight connecting in one of the airports listed above with a maximum stopover of 72 hours. You need to be arriving and departing from different countries, so this can’t be a roundtrip. In other words, arriving in China from the US and departing to Japan (or even Hong Kong to Macau) would be acceptable, but leaving from New York and returning to San Francisco would not (be sure to print your itinerary before heading to the airport). Additionally, you’re restricted from traveling beyond the city that you enter through, and you must register with the police (or a hotel) within 24 hours of arrival. Curiously, this policy only applies to a handful of airports, and cruise ports and land crossings (such as the notoriously US-unfriendly Hong Kong to Shenzhen) are excluded.
Additionally, you’ll need to have a passport from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Rep., Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, USA, Ukraine, UAE or the UK to enter China without a visa.