I (European citizen, valid Chinese visa) am planning to fly to China from Almaty (Kazakhstan) to Dunhuang in China. Dunhuang is not offically an international airport. The journey would be in two steps, but with one booking / ticket:

  1. Almaty to Ürümqi (international)
  2. Ürümqi to Dunhuang

Where would the entry into the country happen? Do I enter the country in Ürümqi or in Dunhuang? Is it possible in Dunhuang?

Bonus question: Will my luggage be checked through?

Note: Both flights would be done with China Southern.

  • 3
    Since Dunhuang Airport is not international, you can't clear customs there anyways.
    – xuq01
    Jul 28, 2018 at 14:43

2 Answers 2


CZ flies from T3 in URC, so you'll do everything in the same terminal. However, China inspects travellers coming to China right on arrival. When you get off your flight from Almaty, you'll be directed to immigration counters. Then you'll have to pick up your bag(s) and go through Customs. After that, you'll have to go up again and check-in for your domestic flight, in a separate section of T3.

  • 2
    A very rare instance when one edits the editor :)
    – Giorgio
    Jul 28, 2018 at 19:30
  • Immigration happened in Ürümqi and we needed to claim the bagagge. Immigration took 1 hour just for the relativley small airplane coming from Almaty in the middle of the night. On the airport there are no folding knives with fixable blade allowed, even not in the luggage. Aug 6, 2018 at 15:12

You always do entrance formalities at your first point of entry to a country, in this case Urumqi. Not all passengers on the flight from Urumqi to Dunhuang will be coming from abroad, so it wouldn't make sense to do immigration controls in Dunhuang.

I don't know about the exact procedures in Urumqi but generally when you enter a country you collect your bag, go through customs with your bag, and then recheck your bag for your connecting flight. Signs at the airport should make it clear how to do this.

  • 4
    "generally when you enter a country you collect your bag, go through customs with your bag, and then recheck your bag" -- Do you have any evidence for your claim that this is generally like that, except that that's how it's handled in the US?
    – npl
    Jul 28, 2018 at 15:04
  • 5
    I've done plenty of international to domestic connections where passport control was done at the first point of landing, but the bags were transferred without needing my picking then up and checking them in again... Customs agents at the final destination were the ones doing the inspection (if they could be bothered).
    – user67108
    Jul 28, 2018 at 15:35
  • 3
    @npl I can confirm that this is how it works in China. Jul 28, 2018 at 21:56
  • @jpatokal I never doubted that.
    – npl
    Jul 28, 2018 at 22:02
  • 1
    As to the first paragraph, in some countries/airports you can directly transfer to the domestic flight at the first point of entry and complete all immigration/passport control and customs formalities at the final destination, with the bags checked through (might not be applicable here, but still)
    – GoodDeeds
    Jul 29, 2018 at 0:30

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