My husband and I would like to undertake a month long trip through Asia. The main idea is to visit many parts of China, but we would like to visit other parts of Asia as well. We decided on entering China twice, once in the east and once in the west, to reduce travel time and possibly costs.

We have been looking at possible itineraries, but many involve transits in China. Can we transit in China without using any of the entries on a double entry visa?

My husband is a British citizen and I am a Dutch citizen. I have been to China before on a single entry visa, he has not.

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    This is an interesting question. When I transited China, I went through a separate transit-only immigration point where they stamped my boarding pass but not my passport. I do not have any Chinese visa, however, so I don't know if they would've attempted to stamp thr visa had I had one. Dec 14, 2016 at 17:38
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    We have an answer somewhere here that indicates that if you have a visa, that is used and not the 72h/144h visa-free transit. I am not at all sure about whether that would be the case for an airside transit, even though I assume you'd be fine I am not confident enough to post as an answer. reddit.com/r/Chinavisa might have some info.
    – mts
    Dec 14, 2016 at 20:20
  • Do you want to exit the airport during those transits? Or do you just want to take connecting flights?
    – JonathanReez
    Dec 16, 2016 at 10:27
  • @JonathanReez I don't mind, I just don't want any trouble
    – Belle
    Dec 16, 2016 at 13:12
  • sh-immigration.gov.cn/listPageEn.aspx?lx=40&id=4212 and reddit.com/r/Chinavisa/comments/5ekxpy/… have some insight. Step 3 of "procedure" in travelchinaguide.com/embassy/visa/free-72hour also suggests you can.
    – mts
    Dec 17, 2016 at 10:31

1 Answer 1


First would be how are you "transiting". If you are simply changing aircraft, hanging out in the airport for a few hours, you do not need any visa, you can stay airside, simply showing your boarding pass for the next flight. If your transit involves staying overnight and you want to leave the airport to stay at a hotel, then the transit versus tourist visa headache will show itself.

If you have to leave the airport, I think you will find the visa issue to be one of those "up to the Immigration officer" scenarios. You have a tourist visa, whereas the transit visa is intended for folks without a China visa, allowing them to transit through the country.

You can go to the transit visa counter upon landing and request a transit visa and perhaps the Immigration official will allow it, based on your itinerary. You can't hide the fact that you have a visa, because the transit visa is stamped into your passport as a "Temporary Entry Permit", so the official will flip through your pages and see your visas.

But the official is also allowed to count that entry, as one of your tourist visa allowed entries. From a border crossing point of view, a stay of 24 hours is the same as a stay of 24 days .... 1 entry.

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    Thanks. What is your source for this? Laws? Personal experience? Internet reference?
    – Belle
    Dec 20, 2016 at 9:44
  • Primarily personal experience.
    – user13044
    Dec 20, 2016 at 10:14
  • Does China really allows plane change without leaving airside for foreigners? I would take that for granted, but USA doesn't allow this as an exception.
    – alamar
    Dec 21, 2016 at 14:36
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    @alamar - Yes China allows plane changes without entering the country. You go via an "immigration" desk, but they simply rubber stamp you into the departure area.
    – user13044
    Dec 22, 2016 at 1:55

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