My situation is at follows:

I plan to visit Beijing for 3 days, then go to Japan and then go back to Europe. The thing is, on my trip from Japan back to Europe, I have to do a transfer in Beijing again.

I just want to be sure this won't be a problem. I'm asking because I read that when using the 72 hours visa, you cannot use it to go from Beijing to a place outside China and then back to China...

  • Where are you travelling from? Precisely what kind of visa do you have? Oct 12, 2014 at 10:34
  • Travelling from Rome -> Beijing (stay here less than 72 hours) -> Osaka -> Paris (with a transfer in Beijing). I have a Belgian passport. I don't have any visa for China. I can receive the 72h visa in Beijing airport if I understand correctly.
    – MmM
    Oct 12, 2014 at 10:44
  • It is 100% ok to do exactly this. I've done it. When you LEAVE to go to Tokyo, that's the END of that visit. The fact that you are later doing "another, different" 72 hour visit, is cool.
    – Fattie
    Oct 12, 2014 at 13:49
  • Well my second time in Beijing is just for a transfer (included in the ticket osaka -> paris) so for that i don't need any visa apparently, which is even better.
    – MmM
    Oct 12, 2014 at 13:55

1 Answer 1


The 72 Hour Transit Visa is applicable when you fly from country A to country B via one of the authorized airports in China and wish to stop over. To the best of my knowledge there are no restrictions prohibiting doing it again on the return journey.

There are restrictions if you have separate tickets, ie: London to Beijing and then a separate Beijing to Tokyo ticket.

There are also restrictions on flying to the same country as you originated, ie: you couldn't fly from Chicago to Beijing stay for 72 hours and then fly to New York, using the transit visa.

But it sounds like you are just transiting on the way back (staying in the airport and simply changing planes), in which case you don't enter China so no visas are necessary.

  • 1
    "There are restrictions if you have separate tickets" I have never found that to be the case, Tom. "There are also restrictions on flying to the same country as you originated" I don't get that one. The 72 hrs visa can be used for tourism right? i.e., you live in SF and happen to want to go to get drunk in shanghai all saturday. Right?
    – Fattie
    Oct 12, 2014 at 13:51
  • 2
    No the 72 hours visa is ONLY available when traveling from country A to country B. If you want to fly from SFO to Shanghai to drink for the weekend and then back to SFO you need a standard tourist visa.
    – user13044
    Oct 13, 2014 at 2:28
  • If you have two tickets, fly from London to Beijing on the first ticket, then spend two days, then use the next ticket to fly Beijing to Tokyo, you will need a tourist visa.
    – user13044
    Oct 13, 2014 at 2:30
  • Tom - thanks a million for that explanation. News to me!! Come to think of it, I've only ever "gone through" rather than "there and back". Makes sense. Thanks again!
    – Fattie
    Oct 13, 2014 at 8:08
  • As far as I know there are no restrictions (but possibly practical hurdles) with separate tickets, see travel.stackexchange.com/questions/60630/… and flyertalk.com/forum/china/…
    – mts
    Feb 1, 2016 at 13:29

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