Many Chinese cities today allow visa free transit of up to 72 hours as long as you are embarking to a third country.
The visa free transit used to be 24 hours at handful of airports, but this suddenly expanded to more than 10 cities over the past two years.
I was on my way from Hong Kong back to Europe last week and decided to spend three nights in Beijing along the way.
My flight from Hong Kong was on Dragonair that landed at 3:15PM on Friday and the flight out on Monday was on BA at 11:15AM.
The Dragonair gate agent was confused because she couldn’t find a Chinese visa and asked if I have APEC card that allows visa free travel. I just told her that I was using the 72 hour free transit visa facility and was soon on my way.
The regular immigration line at the Beijing airport was rather long, but only two couples on the 72-hour hour visa free transit passenger line.
I did have to fill the regular landing card and indicate the flight out of Beijing. The immigration agent also asked me to show her the itinerary that I pulled up on my smartphone. The exit immigration was using the regular line.
I had taken advantage of this visa free transit previously, but not for the past couple of years. The process was very smooth at the Beijing airport. Three days is a bit short. I wish that they would extend this to a week.