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As a follow up of my rather costly mistake, I'd like to ask before I make another one. Under the following conditions, will I be able to use the 72 hour visa free exemption in China as a polish passport holder:

  1. Arrive in Beijing via plane from Osaka on the 17th, with only carry on.
  2. Leave Airport, pick up actual luggage from former apartament
  3. Fly to Europe from Beijing via plane on the 18th with carry on & luggage.

The tickets (Osaka-Beijing, Beijing-Europe) are entirely separate.

  • Call the Chinese Embassy and ask. With two tickets you are not officially transiting, you are flying to China, then a day later flying to Europe. – user13044 Dec 30 '15 at 13:28
  • @Tom According to FlyerTalk this is acceptable. flyertalk.com/forum/china/… "Different airlines for inbound/outbound are permitted, even on separate tickets (example: arrive Cathay Pacific, depart Lufthansa is ok). You do not need to be traveling on Chinese carriers for any part of your itinerary." – Robus Dec 30 '15 at 13:54
  • Well then sounds like you found your answer.... – user13044 Dec 30 '15 at 14:04
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In principle yes, but under some conditions, that in practice could mean no. And don't take my word for it, it's your own risk.

I found this and this link very helpful as they provide more detail than you would usually find when the 72h visa-free transit is explained. (See also this own answer to a question of mine.)

So if step 3 of your journey is actually confirmed and you have a seat on the plane by the time you arrive at Chinese immigration, they should let you in (at their disclosure) and you are fine. The problem is that when you board your first flight (Osaka to Beijing or whatever the first leg of that journey is), they airline should and will check if you have a visa for China. If your booking for the Beijing to Europe leg is on another ticket they might have no means of verifying your outbound flight and deny you boarding. A good way to ship around this problem is to have both the Osaka -> Beijing and the Beijing -> Europe leg on one and the same ticket/booking, i.e. a stopover, even better if with the same airline. In the best case you might already be issued your boarding pass for the second flight in Osaka. Be prepared to tell whoever checks you in in Osaka that you will use the 72h visa-free transit and show proof of your onward flight.

The same holds at immigration in Beijing, have a boarding pass for the second flight ready or at least a printout of your booking. I hear they have a special booth for 72h visa-free transit in Peking airport.

It might be a good idea to get this booking from an actual travel agent instead of a website to make sure.

  • Regrettably, I cannot get this on one ticket, as the Beijing-Europe flight is a return flight. I currently reside in China on a valid visa with only one entry. Hopefully the staff in Osaka won't come up with their own interpretations. – Robus Dec 30 '15 at 14:07
  • You could try to get it as an open jaw with three legs: Osaka -> Beijing -> Europe -> Beijing. As said, you might want to talk to a travel agent. As of the link you posted it seems even different airlines are no problem, but I have no experience with that. – mts Dec 30 '15 at 14:10

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