1. Which countries' travelers can apply for 144-Hour visa-free transit?
Citizens of 53 countries can apply for the 144-hour visa-free transit, namely
39 European Schengen countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Monaco, Belarus.
6 American countries: USA, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile.
2 Oceania countries: Australia, New Zealand
6 Asian countries: South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Qatar.
2. If I apply for a 144-hour visa-free transit in Beijing, where does the visa-free stay area cover?
The visa-free area includes Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province. Foreign visitors can enter or depart from any of the following 6 ports of entry: Beijing Capital International Airport, Beijing West Railway Station, Tianjin Binhai International Airport, Tianjin International Cruise Home Port, Shijiazhuang International Airport, and Qinhuangdao Port.
3. What is the process of applying for a 144-hour visa-free transit entry?
Take Beijing as an example, Beijing border control authorities have set up special inspection channels for 144-hour visa-free transit at Beijing Capital International Airport, Beijing West Railway Station and other ports, and passengers need to submit the following documents to the border police.
1. Valid personal documents (e.g. passport)
2. A joint ticket to a third country (region, including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) with a confirmed date and seat within 144 hours
3. Already completed entry and exit card for foreigners
It can be obtained after being questioned by the police and reviewed for accuracy.
4. Can I leave the airport to visit Beijing during my connection?
Yes, you can. If you have a connection time of about 9 hours or longer, you will have the opportunity to visit the Great Wall, Tian’anmen Square, the Forbidden City, etc. Even a short stopover in Beijing can turn into an experience of a lifetime. Of course, you will need to have the correct visa to get through customs.
5. Do I need a visa for a Beijing layover tour?
Visas are obtained for different lengths of stay. There are currently three transit visa options for foreign travelers in transit in China. These transit visas allow eligible foreign travelers to obtain a visa-free visit for 24, 72, or 144 hours. While each transit visa has different requirements, each transit visa provides that foreign travelers are only eligible if they are traveling through China between two different countries(regions). In addition, departure for a third destination must occur within 24, 72, or 144 hours of arrival.
24-Hour Transit Visa
Foreign travelers who travel through China to another country (region) within 24 hours will be eligible for a 24-hour transit visa. This visa is available to all foreigners, as well as to most ports of entry in China.
72-Hour Transit Visa
Foreign travelers who travel through China to another country (region) within 72 hours will be eligible for a 72-hour transit visa. This visa is only available to citizens of participating countries traveling through China's ports of entry. To obtain this visa, foreign travelers must have a valid passport from one of the 53 countries specified.
144-Hour Transit Visa
Foreign travelers who travel through China to another country (region) within 144 hours will be eligible for a 144-hour transit visa. This visa is available to citizens of countries that qualify for a 72-hour transit visa; however, the number of participating cities is more limited. To obtain this visa, foreign travelers must also hold a valid passport from one of the 53 countries specified.
6. How is my Beijing transit visa time calculated?
The 144-hour starts at 00:00 AM the day after you enter the country. For example, if you enter Shanghai at 6:00 AM on May 1, your 144-hour will start at 00:00 on May 2 and you can stay until 23:59 on May 7.
So, if you can find the right transportation, you may have more than 144 hours. Kindly note that some airports have their own special rules on how to calculate these hours: from the time the plane lands, or from the time they issue the visa-free travel permit at the airport. So, it is better to find out the airport's specific rules in advance. If you cannot leave on time due to unavoidable reasons, such as flight cancellation, you must apply for a visa from the Municipal Public Security Bureau.
7. How long does it take to get out of the airport from the plane landing? What is the process?
If you have a longer layover (requiring approximately 9 hours of layover time) and qualify for one of these transit visa exemptions, you can plan to leave the airport and enjoy a Beijing layover tour. The time it takes to get through immigration and customs is usually from 1.5 hours to 3 hours. Here are the 6 steps to leave the airport.
Step 1: Pass the health/quarantine inspection. In the rare event of a major international epidemic or special period, you will be asked to submit a health declaration form upon entry/exit.
Step 2: Pass through the immigration. Have your passport, visa (if required), and departure/arrival card. Before you fly to China, print out the confirmation for your onward flight out of China.
Step 3: Submit an application to the immigration inspection authority. This is a card called the "Arrival Card for Temporary Entry Foreigners".
Step 4: Collect your baggage.
Step 5: Go through Chinese customs and declare your goods. If you have items to declare, go through the red channel and fill out the form; if not, go through the green channel.
Step 6: You can leave the airport and start your Beijing layover tour!
Kindly note that if you have booked a Beijing layover tour and are having trouble getting a transit visa, you can call your local guide. Your guide will be waiting for you at the arrival hall as soon as your flight lands. Your guide is always ready to assist you in any way possible over the phone.
8. We don't want to take the time to leave our luggage at the airport. Is it safe to leave my luggage in the car during my Beijing layover tour?
It can indeed take a lot of time to store your luggage at the airport. Your carry-on luggage is safe to leave in the car during your tour. Your driver will be on or near the car during your tour to keep an eye on your luggage.
9. Do I need to change some RMB during my layover in Beijing?
We recommend that you can change some RMB at the currency exchange offices or ATMs at the airport. There are currency exchange offices and ATMs in every terminal at the Beijing airport. This will allow you to buy food, drinks or souvenirs during your visit.
10. How far is the Great Wall from Beijing Capital International Airport?
The Great Wall of China is divided into different sections. The Great Wall located in Beijing includes Badaling Great Wall, Mutianyu Great Wall, Juyongguan Great Wall, Simatai Great Wall, Huanghuacheng Great Wall, etc. There are three sections of the Great Walls that are relatively close to Beijing Capital International Airport. Juyongguan Great Wall is the closest, with 55 kilometers, which takes about 50 minutes by car. Mutianyu Great Wall is about 60 kilometers away from Beijing Capital International Airport and takes about 70 minutes. Badaling is a bit further away, about 75 km from Beijing Capital International Airport, and takes about 1 hour by car.
11. Where can I store my luggage at Beijing Capital International Airport?
Beijing Capital International Airport has three terminals, T1 for domestic flights and T2 and T3 for international and domestic flights.
The luggage storage counters in each of the three terminals are located at:
Terminal 1: The luggage storage counter is at the east side of the concourse on the second floor;
Terminal 2: The luggage storage counter is on the second floor next to Gate 10 of the departure hall;
Terminal 3: The luggage storage counters are on the east side and west side of the public area of the arrival hall on the second floor of T3-C.
Beijing Capital International Airport provides 24-hour luggage storage and baggage packing services for passengers, including hourly and daily storage. Hourly storage uses electronic password lockers for safe access to small items; daily storage uses shelf lockers to ensure that your large luggage can be stored comfortably. For international travelers, you can store your luggage at the airport if you don't want to take your large luggage with you. Normal-sized luggage costs $4-$10 for 24 hours of storage. For larger luggage, it will cost about $15 for 24 hours.
12. Where can I take a cab from Beijing Capital International Airport to downtown Beijing if I want to travel from the airport by myself?
Beijing Capital International Airport provides cab parking locations for you to take a cab to and from the airport. At Terminal 2, you could take a cab on the first floor outside of Gates 5-9. If taking a cab from Terminal 3, please refer to the locations shown on the signs inside the terminal.
You will be responsible for the toll and bridge fees during the cab ride.
Please ask the driver for an invoice when you get off, and take your belongings with you.
13. Can I take the airport bus from Beijing Capital International Airport to visit the city?
Yes, you can take the airport bus to downtown Beijing. Visitors can take the airport bus between Beijing Capital International Airport and Beijing South Railway Station, Beijing Station, Beijing West Railway Station, and Wangfujing area. Depending on different stations, the fares are divided into four categories: RMB 20, RMB 25, RMB 30, and RMB 50. Passengers from neighboring cities can also take the intercity bus between the airport and Tianjin, Qinhuangdao, Langfang, Baoding, Tangshan, Cangzhou, Zhangjiakou, and Chifeng.
At Terminal 2, you can take the airport bus from outside Gate 11 on Floor 1. At Terminal 3, you can take the airport bus from outside Gate 7 on Floor 1.
14. Is there a subway from Beijing Capital International Airport to downtown Beijing?
Yes, you can take the subway to downtown Beijing, and you can take Airport Express at both Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. Airport Express has 4 stops: Dongzhimen Station, Sanyuanqiao Station, Terminal 3, and Terminal 2. At Terminal 2, you can take the subway at the second basement level. At Terminal 3, the subway is located on the second floor of the parking structure. The earliest departure time is around 6:30 am and the latest is around 23:00 am. The interval between departures is 10 minutes. The fare for the Airport Express is 25 RMB per person for a one-way trip. The Airport Express has 2 interchange stations, Sanyuanqiao Station and Dongzhimen Station. You can choose the interchange station according to your destination.
15. What are the recommended attractions during my layover in Beijing?
1. Tian'anmen Square
When you are in Beijing, you can't miss Tian'anmen Square. Tian'anmen Square is surrounded by many historical monuments: The Great Hall of the People, the Monument to the People's Heroes, and the Memorial Hall of Chairman Mao. During major festivals, Tian'anmen Square is also elaborately and grandly decorated.
Distance from Beijing Capital International Airport: 35 km / 45 minutes
Distance from Beijing Daxing International Airport: 58 km / 1 hour
2. The Forbidden City
The largest imperial palace in the world requires time and physical strength for the most in-depth exploration. However, even a quick visit is better than not having been there at all. The Forbidden City is breathtaking, with countless historical buildings and artifacts to admire. You can also hear many interesting stories about what happened in the Forbidden City.
Distance from Beijing Capital International Airport: 35 km / 45 minutes
Distance from Beijing Daxing International Airport: 58 km / 1 hour
3. Mutianyu Great Wall
If you have enough time, you should visit the famous Great Wall of China. When you think of China, the Great Wall should be the first thing that comes to your mind. Here you can enjoy the mysterious atmosphere, explore the ancient architecture and take the most incredible photos from the surrounding landscape. In addition, you can also experience a toboggan from the Great Wall to the bottom, which is definitely an unforgettable and exciting experience.
Distance from Beijing Capital International Airport: 60 km / 1.2 hours
Distance from Beijing Daxing International Airport: 145 km / 2.2 hours
4. Temple of Heaven
The Temple of Heaven is one of the most unique monuments in Beijing and attracts a large number of visitors. All the history and traditions of ancient China are represented here. Besides viewing the exquisite architecture of the halls, you can also get in touch with the Beijing locals. They will be happy to teach you how to play Tai Chi, do Chinese dances, etc.
Distance from Beijing Capital International Airport: 38 km / 45 minutes
Distance from Beijing Daxing International Airport: 55 km / 1 hour
5. Summer Palace
The Summer Palace is a masterpiece of Chinese architecture and horticulture. This well-preserved huge garden is a place where the royal family has been relaxing and spending summertime since ancient times. If you want to enjoy the Summer Palace to the fullest, you will need at least half a day. But even a short visit is totally worth it. Kunming Lake, Wanshou Mountain, and the Long Corridor should be added to your "to-do list" for your Summer Palace tour.
Distance from Beijing Capital International Airport: 37 km / 42 minutes
Distance from Beijing Daxing International Airport: 70 km / 1.2 hours
6. Lama Temple
Lama Temple is the largest lamasery in China. It is the ideal way to get to know the local religious and spiritual culture. Here you can not only admire the architectural masterpieces and the most exquisite works of art but also explore the largest sandalwood Buddha in the world and even enjoy the chanting of the monks. If interested, you can also take a stick of incense and pray for yourself and your family.
Distance from Beijing Capital International Airport: 25 km / 30 minutes
Distance from Beijing Daxing International Airport: 62 km / 1.2 hours
7. Qianmen Street
Qianmen Street is perfect for strolling! Stroll through this ancient street where you can shop, take pictures, or have a cup of coffee. Besides, Qianmen Street has many old restaurants, such as Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant. If you are a food lover, don't miss it.
Distance from Beijing Capital International Airport: 34 km / 42 minutes
Distance from Beijing Daxing International Airport: 55 km / 1 hour
8. 798 Art District
798 Art District is a collection of galleries, art centers, studios, design companies, restaurants and bars, etc. 798 Art District is one of Beijing's cultural landmarks. It is now known as one of the top three attractions in Beijing, along with the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. You can take a lot of creative photos here.
Distance from Beijing Capital International Airport: 18 km / 22 minutes
Distance from Beijing Daxing International Airport: 70 km / 1.2 hour
16. What can I do during my layover at Beijing airport?
If you feel tired from the long flight, you can go to one of the lounges in the airport and get a good sleep. Each terminal has a hotel-style resting place for passengers with single rooms, standard rooms, and other services. You can watch TV and movies during your rest. In addition to providing a room-style pay lounge, there are also small meeting rooms, multimedia and reading area, coffee bar, foot massage, health care services, and beauty salon services.
You can also check out the duty-free stores at the airport if you have time. There are duty-free stores in both terminals 2 and 3, and there is a lot to buy at Beijing airport. You can find products such as beauty, alcohol and tobacco, electronics, fashion, and designer boutiques.
17. What performances are there to see during my layover in Beijing?
During your layover in Beijing, besides visiting the classic attractions, you can also enjoy a traditional Chinese performance in the evening.
The Liyuan Theater is a theater with the characteristics of old Beijing. It has a long history and an elegant environment, which attracts many tourists from home and abroad to enjoy the "Beijing Opera Nightlife".
Chaoyang Theater is the most popular acrobatic theater in Beijing. Here you can enjoy high-quality acrobatic performances. The Chaoyang Theater was built in 1984 and was named one of the best cultural centers in China in 2001. The wonderful acrobatic performances are sure to make you clap your hands.
If you are interested in Chinese kung fu, you can go to the Red Theater to see the Kung Fu Legend show. The show showcases the essence of traditional Chinese martial arts and various styles of boxing.
If you want to experience an old-fashioned Beijing teahouse, Lao She Teahouse must be your first choice. The exquisite wooden stage provides an ancient environment. It is also a good place to taste the unique Chinese culture- tea culture. At this teahouse, you can watch exciting performances while enjoying famous teas, refreshments, and traditional Beijing snacks.
Besides, you can also go to the theater to listen to opera, watch plays, and listen to concerts.
Here are some theater addresses for your reference:
1. The National Grand Theatre: West of Tiananmen Square, Beijing
2. Mei Lanfang Grand Theatre: 32 Pinganlixi Street, Xicheng district, Beijing
3. Red Theatre: 44 Xingfu Street, Chongwen District, Beijing
4. Chaoyang Theatre: No.36, Dongsanhuan Beilu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
5. Lao She Teahouse: 3 Qianmen west street, Xuanwu District, Beijing
6. Liyuan Theatre: 1/F Qianmen Jianguo Hotel, 175 Yongan Road, Xuanwu District, Beijing
18. What shopping malls can I visit during my layover in Beijing?
1. Wangfujing Street
Wangfujing Street is one of the oldest and most famous shopping streets in Beijing. There are many large shopping centers here, such as Wangfujing Department Store, Wangfu Central, APM, and Oriental Plaza. There are also bookstores, coffee shops, children's amusement parks, and Beijing snack stores. There are also many time-honored stores on Wangfujing Street. Some specialty stores selling traditional Chinese goods are popular not only with locals but also with foreign visitors, such as Ruifuxiang Silk Store. Wangfujing Street is also famous for its authentic Beijing snacks and foods, such as Tanghulu（sugarcoated haws on a stick） and Pea Flour Cake.
2. Xidan Commercial Street
Xidan Commercial Street has been one of the commercial centers in Beijing since the Ming and Qing dynasties and was once known as one of the three traditional commercial districts along with Wangfujing and Dazhalan. Nowadays, Xidan's business focuses on youthful and fashionable elements, thus attracting more local young people to go for leisure and shopping, and it has the reputation of "young people's shopping paradise". In addition, Xidan commercial street is also a destination for many tourists to visit and shop in Beijing. Xidan Department Store is a long-established mall with nearly 70 years of history. It is divided into two areas, the north, and the south. The south building deals with some domestic brand-name products and middle-aged and old-aged clothes, while the north building highlights the theme of youth and leisure and introduces many international fashion brands. In Xidan Department Store, if you are tired of shopping, you can have a cup of coffee or taste the food here!
3. The Place
The Place is one of the more famous shopping destinations in Beijing, with its European-style architecture and elegant environment. Nothing is more famous here than the world's third-largest LED canopy, designed by Hollywood stage master Jeremy Railton. When you come to the Place, you can have your picture projected onto the canopy for all the people to look up to your story. Just take out your cell phone and scan the QR code on the canopy, upload your photo and text, and it will appear on the display. It is a great way to propose. The Place is a collection of brand stores with fashionable characteristics from all over the world, which is loved by fashionable young people. Many international fashion brands choose the first store in Beijing to be located here.
4. Silk Market
Silk Market is adjacent to the Beijing CBD business district, with a prominent location and convenient transportation, and is the most influential international tourist shopping market in China with the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. Silk Market mainly deals with clothing, silk products, and tourist souvenirs with Chinese cultural characteristics. After more than ten years of development, Silk Market has now become one of the more famous commercial streets in Beijing. Here, you can buy not only traditional Chinese silk products and exquisite handicrafts but also a variety of foreign brand-name goods. Silk Market not only attracts many domestic customers but also a large number of foreign visitors. Now, Silk Market enjoys a high reputation at home and abroad. Foreign visitors call it the "Little Hong Kong" and "Little Paris" of Beijing.
5. Panjiayuan Flea Market
Panjiayuan Flea Market is the largest antique art, crafts, and used goods market in China. Here you can buy antique furniture, literary treasures, antique calligraphy and painting, old books and magazines, onyx and jade, ceramics, Chinese and foreign coins, bamboo and wood carvings, Buddhist relics, national costumes, and clothing, etc. Panjiayuan Flea Market is a popular market that is open all year round. On weekends, many collectors come here to enjoy leisure time. They may not buy anything in a day, but mentally and psychologically can get a kind of satisfaction and relaxation.
6. Taikoo Li Sanlitun
Taikoo Li Sanlitun is now one of Beijing's fashion landmarks. It is home to a wide range of creative young brands and flagship stores of internationally renowned fashion brands. Diverse and international Taikoo Li Sanlitun offers an edgy and enjoyable shopping experience for visitors from around the world while leading a stylish and modern lifestyle. Taikoo Li Sanlitun is divided into two areas, South and North. The South Zone is home to a variety of branded boutiques. There are also many cafes and restaurants in the south area, and Page One bookstore and Moleskine stationery store are popular among the young people. The north area is more of high-end brands and luxury brands and is connected to the best boutique hotel in Beijing.