Would the visa free rule apply when transiting China via multiple Chinese cities/airports (not just a single airport)? In this case it would be UK -> Beijing Capital (PEK) -> Dalian (DLC) -> Japan. With the purpose of staying in Beijing overnight to do sightseeing but the whole duration time of being in China will not exceed approximately 23 hours (unless planes get delayed). This will be the same itinerary on the return part when going back.

Both travellers are EU citizens (I believe we qualify for 24, 72 and 144 hour transit visa-free policies). If more specificity is beneficial, let's say we are British citizens (but I assume this applies to most if not all EU nationalities).

So, the itinerary with transiting via China seems 100% possible when Beijing is the only transit point but I got very confused as to what happens when I'm transiting via 2 Chinese cities/airports.

For example, TravelChinaGuide claims

Generally speaking, the 24-hour visa-free transit allows aliens to have multiple stops in China as long as they leave the country within 24 hours, therefore the route USA - Beijing - Shanghai - South Korea also counts as eligible.

for the 24 hour TWOV but it seems that's also the case for 144 hours as well. I'm not sure when they say "stop" they simply mean staying within the boundary of the airport or also being able to leave it to enter the city, but I would assume any multiple stop itinerary within the same country would imply having to go through the immigration control at the first airport as the following flight would probably be domestic (and having went through immigration probably allows the passenger to leave the airport to enjoy the city).

However, for example, Telegraph is saying in their recent article that

For instance, travellers could start in London, fly to Xi’an for a six-day trip, then continue to Tokyo. But multiple hops between ports aren’t allowed – you couldn’t go from Xi’an to Beijing, for example.

Therefore, it seems that some places are saying it's possible and others are saying it is not. Unless, both Telegraph and TravelChinaGuide are right in their statements and I'm just not reading it correctly.

  • 2
    That's a single transit with a domestic flight, not two transits (which implies entering and exiting China twice). Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 12:46
  • What is your nationality?
    – JoErNanO
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 15:04

1 Answer 1


Yes, it does.


TWOV (Transit Without Visa):

Passengers with a confirmed onward air, cruise or train ticket to a third country within 24 hours can obtain an entry permit on arrival. They must have documents required for the next destination.

When passengers have obtained an entry permit, they can have multiple transit stops within China (People's Rep.).

  • This TWOV facility does not apply when passengers arrive on a direct flight from USA, Guam or Northern Mariana Isl. AND depart on a direct flight to USA, Guam or Northern Mariana Isl. (e.g. JFK - PVG - GUM).
  • This TWOV facility does not apply at Shenzhen (SZX) when passengers are traveling to Hong Kong (SAR China) or Macao (SAR China).
  • This TWOV facility does not apply at Fuzhou (FOC), Huangshan (TXN), Mudanjiang (MDG), Urumqi (URC) and Yanji (YNJ).

Chinese Embassy in Estonia:

Under the 24-hour visa-free transit rule, no visa is required for international flight, ship, or train passengers who transit directly through mainland China and will stay for less than 24 hours. Passengers should hold tickets to a third country or region and have a confirmed seat.

Those who transfer in more than one city of China within 24 hours can also enjoy this policy. For instance, if one's trip is Moscow – Lanzhou – Guangzhou – Bangkok and the total time in China is less than 24 hours, the passenger can still enjoy the 24-hour direct transit. But the passenger needs to apply for the temporary entry permit upon his arrival.


The 24-hour transit rule allows multiple stops within Mainland China for most airports, as long as the traveler has a flight, cruise or train segment leaving Mainland China in 24 hours, so it is possible to enter through a port of entry in China, take multiple segments of domestic flights within China, and depart from a different port of entry in less than 24 hours.

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