Do I need a visa travelling to mainland China

Do I need a visa to visit mainland China?

Foreign nationals (including those with Chinese origin) must bear valid visa before entering China (except for those who are eligible for Visa Waiver Program). For Chinese visa obtained in the past, the validity of the visa needs to be checked. If the visa is already expired or the entries are all used up, the visa holder should apply for a new visa.

 

How to identify if an issued Chinese Visa on my passport is still valid?

Please check carefully if the validity, number of entries and duration of stay on the obtained visa could still meet the need for the trip.

1. Validity (enter before) of a visa is the length of period that the visa is good for, namely from the issuing date to the deadline of entering China for the bearer of the visa. Given the number of entries are sufficient, the bearer is able to enter China at anytime before 12:00am on the expiring date.

A visa becomes void once its period of validity expires regardless of whether its entries are used up or not. The visa holder should apply for a new visa if he or she intends to visit China again.

2. Entries is the number permitted to enter China during the validity of a visa. A visa becomes invalid if there is no more valid number of entries left. To use such a visa will lead to decline of entry.

3. Duration of each stay refers to the longest period of time the bearer of a visa is permitted to stay in China from the date of entry into China on each visit.

Under Chinese law, a foreign national who overstays his or her visa in China is subject to fine and other penalties. If it's necessary to stay in China longer than the duration of stay on the visa, approval must be obtained from a local public security authority above county level 30 days before the duration of stay is running out. The bearer is permitted to stay in China once the application is approved.

 

Under what circumstance a visa to China is exempted?

1. Direct transit

Those who are transiting China by international flight is exempted from applying for a visa provided that he or she is remained in the airport not exceeding 24 hours and has valid air ticket to connect flight with confirmed seating.

As of September 2013, some foreign nationals including Estonian citizens, transiting by Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu within 72 hours, are not required to obtain a visa. Foreign passengers need to show the onward confirmed flight ticket to the third country and valid visa by the third country to the border control in the airport in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu. Foreign passengers are only allowed to stay in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu area within 72 hours, Travel to areas outside these four cities are not allowed.

2. Visiting the Pearl River Delta region

Estonian nationals are exempted from applying for a visa if he or she joins tourist group at Hong Kong and Macao organized by registered travel agencies in Hong Kong and Macao to visit the Pearl River Delta region (Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Zhaoqing, Huizhou Municipalities) for tourism and stay up to 6 days.

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