Transit through China is an issue that often raises questions among travellers, whether tourists or professionals. As China is a key country for many itineraries, it is not uncommon to have to transit through the country on your way to other destinations in Asia or elsewhere in the world. However, the country has strict visa rules, so it's important to find out about transit conditions to avoid any nasty surprises. With this in mind, this article aims to answer the question: Do I need a visa to travel through China?
Is a visa required for a simple transit or stopover in China?
If you are British and planning to transit through China, it is important to be aware of the general rules that apply to transit travellers. First of all, it is important to note that British nationals need a visa to enter China, whether for a short stay or a transit. However, for transits of less than 24 hours, it is possible to benefit from a visa exemption, as long as you remain in the transit zone of the airport.
However, if you are in transit for more than 24 hours, or if you wish to leave the airport transit zone to visit the city, you will need to apply for a Chinese visa. It is important to check the formalities with the relevant Chinese authorities before your departure to avoid any complications on arrival. In addition, the Chinese authorities may require you to present a valid ticket for the country of destination, as well as a visa for the country of destination, where applicable.
When do I need a visa for a stopover or transit in China?
The formalities for transit or stopovers in China depend on a number of factors, such as the place of departure, the duration of transit and the final destination. For travellers in transit or stopping over in China, it is important to know the specific rules to avoid any problems.
- If your transit time is less than 24 hours, you should not need a transit visa. However, if you plan to leave the airport during your transit, a visa will be required.
- If your transit time is more than 24 hours, you will need to obtain a Chinese transit visa. However, certain conditions apply, such as the fact that you must have an onward ticket and proof of reservation for hotel accommodation in China.
If you require a transit visa, you will need to submit a visa application to the relevant Chinese embassy or consulate. It is important to note that visa requirements may vary depending on the place of departure and the nationality of the traveller, so it is important to check the specific conditions with the relevant Chinese embassy or consulate.
It is also important to note that transit and stopover regulations in China may be subject to regular changes and updates, so it is advisable to consult the latest information before you travel.
Where and how can I obtain a stopover or transit visa for China?
There are different types of visa for China, including tourist visas, business visas, student visas, work visas and transit visas. For travellers in transit through China, the transit visa is generally the most appropriate.
The transit visa allows you to stay in China for up to 72 hours without needing a tourist visa. However, it is important to note that this visa is only available to travellers who do not leave the airport or spend the night outside the airport.
It is also important to note that the conditions for obtaining a transit visa vary depending on the place of departure, the airline, the duration of transit and the nationality of the traveller. It is therefore strongly recommended that you check with the relevant Chinese embassy or consulate and the airline before travelling.
In addition, it is now possible to obtain a Chinese transit visa online via a service provider website. Applicants must complete an online form and provide information about their travel itinerary, flight booking, passport and visa for the destination country. Applicants can then submit their application online and receive a reply by e-mail within 2 to 3 working days.
Our advice for a worry-free transit or stopover in China:
Here are a few tips and tricks to help you successfully transit to China from the UK:
- Check the conditions for entering and leaving China: It is important to find out about the formalities for entering and leaving China, particularly with regard to visas and any restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Allowing enough time for transit: Depending on the length of the transit and the formalities to be completed, it is advisable to allow enough time to avoid rushing and unnecessary stress.
- Organising your travel documents: It's important to check that all the necessary travel documents (passport, plane ticket, visa, etc.) are in order and easily accessible. It is also advisable to make copies of these documents and keep them separate.
- Find out about airport services: Before you leave, it's a good idea to find out about the services available at the transit airport, such as lounges, restaurants, shops, etc.
- Providing entertainment: To pass the time while you're in transit, it's a good idea to bring along some entertainment, such as a book, tablet or card games.
- Being vigilant about food and water: It's important to pay attention to what you eat and drink during transit, especially if you're sensitive to changes in food or water.
- Beware of scams: As in all airports, you should be on your guard against potential scams (fake taxis, fake police officers, etc.). It is advisable not to accept offers from strangers and to trust the official airport services.
As a web writer and globetrotter with a passion for travel and tourism, I have acquired in-depth knowledge of the procedures that are essential for travellers. I help travellers to complete all the formalities required for a successful trip, particularly when it comes to obtaining a visa online. With several years' experience in this field, I'd like to offer you some valuable advice to help you discover the world with complete peace of mind.