I will be traveling to Beijing, China in January for 3 days. I did verify here that I qualify for the 72/144 hour visa free entry into China as a US Citizen.

Do I need to do anything before I leave for China? I'm reading mixed information from various forums and sites. Some say I need to contact the Chinese Embassy and to contact the airline.

This article for example:

To obtain a transit visa exemption, travelers should review eligibility requirements, and confirm their eligibility with their local Chinese embassy. After confirmation, travelers must communicate their intention to obtain a transit visa exemption to their airline prior to travel. The airline will liaise with border control officials, who grant transit visa exemptions to travelers that meet requirements after verification.

So, does this mean I really need to contact the embassy and the airline?

My ticket is a one way ticket from DFW to PEK (American Airlines). I have another ticket (booked through Chinese Eastern Airlines) to CNX (Chiang Mai) from Beijing.

So, I'm a bit confused on the process and if I even need to do anything, or if I can just show up, go through a queue and be on my merry way.

  • 1
    That kind of website is not very reliable, but unfortunately the US China embassy site does not seem to show the 144 hour exemption. The Cyprus one does. Looks to me like you can just show up with the proper documentation (note they require a confirmed seat as well as flight) but that and $3 might get you a coffee. Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 19:35
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    @SpehroPefhany Yeah, looks like I can probably just show up and be fine. I do have a confirmed ongoing seat. I'll make sure to get that $3 coffee :) Thanks mate Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 19:48
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    @TravelLikeBeaker any updates? Maybe an answer you can provide?
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 20:53
  • 2
    @MarkMayoSupportsMonica I have not found anything. I will be there on Dec 28th, so I'm probably going to wing it and once I get back, I will provide an answer that gives my experience Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 13:31

1 Answer 1


Ok, here is my actual experience:

When checking in for departure I informed the agent (in the US) that I will be using the 144 hour transit visa. He then requested my onward ticket confirmation to leave China. Make sure it has the flight number, dates, and everything.

He entered in all my information and I was set.

Now, when I arrived in Beijing, make sure you fill out the immigration yellow form on the plane before you get off (will save you some time). You can leave the visa number section blank.

Before you get to immigration, look for the fingerprint stations on the left as you’re walking towards immigration. You will want to do this because they verify your identity at the officer station after you get your transit visa.

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After your fingerprints keep going and follow this sign:

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After a short ways look for this area on the right:

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Make sure you fill out the blue form. Also, it’s important to know you will need the boarding pass you used to come to China, so if you printed it, keep it.

You will also need to show your outbound ticket information (the same info you showed the agent back home). They will ask how long you are staying and take your picture.

After they take your picture and put in the temp visa, head over to the immigration line (no pictures were allowed here), give all your paperwork to the officer, scan your fingerprints again and enjoy China!

  • 2
    Thanks for returning to share your experience! Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 4:58
  • @lambshaanxy you’re very welcome, I hope it helps someone in the future! Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 5:56
  • For US citizens this is a pretty easy process, not sure why I did not see this before to giver an answer, the most important part os to check that you qualify with the passport you have and that you are flying to a airport in China that offers this VISA not all of them do. Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 10:59
  • When I (US citizen) landed at PEK, I was given a document and stamp that apparently allowed me to wander around Beijing, which I did for a bit, slept in the airport, went out again the following morning, and flew on to TPE that afternoon. NO pictures or fingerprints taken, and no suggestion that anyone did anything wrong. But that was in 2018.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 3:12

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