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Visas and border crossings forum

Chinese transit visa? connecting international flights through Shanghai Pudong Airport (PVG)

Posted by sashanyc28 on 31/12/2009 at 15:09

I will be flying on United Airlines from Chicago (ORD) to Shanghai (PVG) on Friday with a connecting flight on Shanghai Airlines to Ho Chi Minh City (SGN), Vietnam.

I will have a 6 1/2 hour layover at Shanghai Pudong airport.

I hold a US passport.

I understand that I do NOT need a Chinese transit visa if I am transiting through the airport for less than 48 hours in Shanghai (24 hours in any other international Chinese airport).

I am a bit confused as I have read conflicting posts all over the internet.

I understand I have to collect my luggage and go through Chinese Customs & Immigration on my international arrival and then turn back around and go through security, Customs & Immigration, etc to check back in for my connecting international flight... In this case I would not need a transit vias as a US passport holder? Is this the correct procedure?


A 6 1/2 hour layover at the airport can be extremely boreing and tiring especially after a 14 1/2 hour flight! It would be great to get some fresh air, take the Maglev train into the city and do a little sightseeing for a few hours before returning to the airport to catch my onward international flight...
Can I do this?

Or do I need a transit visa to leave the airport (even though my connecting international flight is departing within the same day) ?

and Finally.. I suppose it is not possible to do a "transit" visa on arrival to leave the airport, if I will be returning back on the same day?

Can anyone clarify and answer for me?

Many Thanks!

#1 sashanyc28 has been a member since 20/12/2009. Posts: 6

Posted by DLuek on 1/1/2010 at 01:17 TF writer

Correct on the whole "checking out" and then "checking back in" scenario. I've never done it in China but if it's anything like in Japan it's not such a big deal - just means you have to go through an extra security checkpoint when going from the arrival to departure gates - you'll already have your onward ticket to HCMC (they'll give that to you in Chicago), so when you go through the arrival checkpoint you'll then just need to find the gate for your next flight.

You will not be able to leave the airport without a visa of some kind. Not sure but I doubt you can get a transit visa on arrival. Better bring a good book.

Have fun

#2 DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,298
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Posted by bmccull on 16/10/2011 at 05:34

Sorry my reply is too late for you but I will add this for anyone else with the same question. As with many things Chinese, the policy and actual situation can vary.

You will need proof of your onward journey such as a printout of your itinerary.
The immigration officer will likely not understand English but you have to make it very clear that you want to leave the airport during your transit. If they don't understand, you will probably be escorted through the terminal to the check-in area. I have stayed a night in SH on a transit but it took a fair bit of argument to convince them that I could.

#3 bmccull has been a member since 16/10/2011. Posts: 4

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