The planned adjustment to up the number of days you can transit without a visa in the Chinese cities of Shanghai,Nanjing and Hangzhou to six days has now been officially announced by the authorities.
Beginning this coming Saturday, January 30th 2016, the new system will come into effect allowing certain foreign visitors to stay in these cities and their surroundings for almost an entire week.
We wrote about the announcement of this enhanced Transit Without Visa (TWOV) scheme a months ago (access here) and there was quite an interesting discussion in the comment section because it appears that there are still plenty of grey area or uncertain cases as far as the travelers are concerned.
Considering it’s only been four weeks since the initial announcement until inception one has to be surprised how efficient and quick such regulations can be put into place in China. I can think of plenty of countries where things like this would take months or years until an amendment concerning immigration passes through the halls of government and parliamentary approval systems.
From this Saturday onward, foreigners arriving through Shanghai’s Pudong and Hongqiao airports, Hangzhou’s Xiaoshan International Airport and Nanjing’s Lukou International Airport will be allowed entry into the country for 144 hours sans visas, previously only 72-hour visa free transits were offered.
They will then be free to travel all across the Yangtze River Delta.
That last part is interesting but I wasn’t able to find further info on it. It suggests one can actually leave the city of arrival to travel into the outer regions, something which was explicitly forbidden beforehand.
This is a great step and I will certainly make use of it even though I prefer to travel to Beijing more than Shanghai. I might be able to change that though if it means to avoid having to get Chinese Visa all the time.
Before you actually plan to venture out of the city while using this program I’d wait a bit and see if more information is forthcoming in terms of where you are actually allowed to go. The stamps I received so far all mentioned ‘Allowed to stay in SHANGHAI for x amount of days’.