I am planning a trip to China and will be flying to my final destination via Beijing (PEK). At what point do I go through passport control: at Beijing (i.e. before boarding my second, domestic flight) or at my final destination? I want to make sure there is enough time in my layover for a long passport line.

  • Is there anywhere in the world where you wouldn't go through passport control after disembarking an international flight and before embarking on a domestic flight? Imagine if you didn't: how would they make sure you went through passport control when you got off the domestic flight, which you will share with many domestic flyers who never left China and thus don't need to go through passport control? In summary: you will definitely go through passport control in PEK! – jbg Jan 24 at 9:16

Ooh, I was literally there last night...well, yesterday their time!

I arrived from Tokyo, Japan. All passengers disembark at the same time, and then around the corner there are two lines - international transit, and other. If you're flying domestic, this is the point at which you enter China, as anyone who wasn't joining me for more international flying was going through that line on the right.

After that it was chaos at security, bag checks, they confiscated my big phone charger for not having power labels on it, go figure, but it took me about 30 min in transit, so I'd add on a bit. They did seem to have a lot more passport officers for the line you'd go through than they did for us transit people - although we still got checked, for some reason.

For more information, Beijing Airport has a page on the steps of the process from international to domestic transfer.

  • Thanks - so did you have to retrieve your checked luggage from your international flight and re-check for your domestic (in-China) flight? – Jason Jun 26 '14 at 22:50
  • No no, as I said, I was doing more international flying. I saw the line for domestic immigration, is all, so I can tell you that you'd immigrate at that point. Luggage-wise, I don't know as I didn't see past that point - mine was checked through for more international (I'm in Vancouver now) – Mark Mayo Supports Monica Jun 26 '14 at 22:52
  • Have added a link from their site, hope that helps – Mark Mayo Supports Monica Jun 26 '14 at 22:53

I did this once - a few years ago. I arrived in Beijing on Emirates Airways and was transferring to a domestic flight on China Airlines. The three legs (London to Dubai to Beijing to Dalian) were on the same ticket/reservation.

If I remember correctly, I did have to go through the passport and visa checks in Beijing airport. I also had to get and recheck my luggage onto the domestic flight - but this was done similarly to how you get/recheck your luggage if you are transferring in the USA (i.e. separate location).

All of this was in the middle of a night (flight arriving in Beijing about midnight with the flight to Dalian leaving around 6 am) - yet, I remember there being quite a few passport officers. The whole process (walking from the gate, passport checks, luggage reclaim/recheck) took about 45 minutes.

This was about 7 or 8 years ago though, so I don't know whether anything has changed since then. I also don't know whether it matters that the internal flight was on a different airline; although this part would have no impact on the passport/visa control.

  • There is a new international terminal now at PEK, there is a shortcut back to the domestic side via a short passport line if you do not have any luggage to claim and recheck – Calchas Jun 17 '15 at 19:53
  • @Calchas good point. However you still need to go through the passport control - right? And, if I do have luggage, would I have to still re-check it? – Aleks G Jun 17 '15 at 19:54

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