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Miaminice

Shanghai/China 144 hour visa free transit explained

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3 hours ago, mom says said:

Yes, our last port before arriving in Shanghai was Hong Kong. And their first stop after leaving Shanghai was Hong Kong, where they had to connect to their London flight. So they didn't meet the ABC (3 Different countries) requirement. 

 

👍 as mentioned I didn’t read that part in between all the posts with the question if Honk Kong was an exclusion in general - which it is not.

 

However, if the flight connection was known all along, it was clear that the transit rule would not apply. Personally I would not blame it on the travel agent then.

 

At the end of the day he or she will not be having the problem and be the one standing in front of an immigration official. In these matters I would never rely on a TA but get all the information I can beforehand until I am either certain about not requiring a visa or, in case of uncertainty, I would apply for a visa.

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Trip report 144hr TWOV. 
Here is my report on successful twov at Pudong Airport and Baoshan cruise port. 
I could not find a report of our particular circumstances, hence this posting.  I also read all the other relevant postings on TripAdvisor  and Cruise Critic and the official Shanghai immigration website. I accessed the IATA Timatic database via Emirates and BA  websites. I kept copies. 
We are UK residents and passport holders. Our passports met all the published requirements At the beginning of February 2019 we were flying Emirates into Pudong from Manchester via Dubai, staying at a pre booked hotel in Shanghai for 2 nights then leaving on a Celebrity cruise, first port Hong-Kong. Other members of our party were travelling BA Newcastle via Heathrow. In England to get a Chinese visa everyone must attend Manchester or London in person and the visa is valid for 2 years so TWOV is very attractive. 
We had all been pre registered on the Shanghai police.sh.cn website. I contracted Emirates but they had no facility for pre approval. We had printed copies of flight bookings, cruise itinerary, and hotel reservations. At Manchester check-in the person had not heard of 144hr TWOV but made a phone call to a supervisor who asked for our length of stay and first port and approved us for boarding. They didn't check any documents over this. At Newcastle check-in the BA employee knew of the system and asked to see proof of the cruise. All boarding passes were issued and we had no further checks for visas until arrival at Pudong. 
We were given a yellow immigration card on the aircraft but it is not needed although filling it in is practice over the information needed later. Pudong Airport is well organised. There were big signs and officials directing all Foreigners to the fingerprint machines which took prints from all fingers and thumbs and issued a receipt. Everyone then passed through a temperature scanning machine before joining the appropriate immigration queue. Although there are big signs for foreigners the ones to look out for are smaller and have 24/144 on them. They directed us to the far left of the hall. Here they have tables and and chairs to sit to fill in the blue immigration form for transit without visa. We arrived at 9pm and there was only one desk open but only 2 travellers ahead of us. The two automatic card printing machines were just beyond the hand written card tables. Both machines recognised our scanned passports and displayed our previously stored details but seemed to have run out of paper as nothing was printed out at the end. The machines have a pull-out keyboard to manually fill in your details but I don't know if you can edit a stored form. Some of our party members got in earlier and one of the machines had paper and worked well from a scanned passport but didn't seem to recognise the smartphone stored QR code.Teething problems I think. We went back to the pen and paper tables and filled the cards in manually. Make sure you have reading glasses if needed, the spaces are small to get all the information in. You need your flight details, hotel address and phone number and port of exit details. The officials check your passport, your card and your cruise and hotel documentation, take a photo and only one hand fingerprints this time. I guess you can't skip the first fingerprint machine. Although I had printed off 2 copies of all our documents it was unnecessary as the official organising the queue kept couples together and they went through the same channel and saw the same officer. Compared to some immigration officers I have met in my travelling they were friendly and understanding over languages differences. As there were only 6 passengers on our flight using Twov and it was late we were through quickly. Another flight arrived after us and so a small queue formed behind us, they then opened another desk. 
On exit at Baoshan it was busier but the wait was not excessive, again lots of staff to keep you right. One member of our party had to show his flight in details again, so keep hold of them. We don't know why this was. 
On the cruise the 144 hr TWOV was a common dinner conversation topic, lots of people from many countries had used it successfully but there was talk of someone who had got as far as the cruise port but had been stopped from boarding as they had flown to Shanghai from Hong Kong, an ineligible journey, I don't know the outcome. 
I hope this is of help and gives reassurence to anyone like me who meets all the criteria for TWOV but nevertheless is apprehensive. 
Chris 

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7 minutes ago, chrisgoates said:

I hope this is of help and gives reassurence to anyone like me who meets all the criteria for TWOV but nevertheless is apprehensive. 
Chris 

 

Thanks Chris for posting your experience with the TWOV.  We are using it on March 1st flying from Toronto directly to Shanghai and hope to have smooth sailing.  My biggest concern is whether the check-in agent for Air Canada has even heard of this.  I hope so since they fly their almost daily.

 

We too are pre-registered and I hope there is paper in the machine and it recognizes our QR codes.  🙂  My husband was born in Hong Kong and speaks and reads Chinese so I hope we don't have any issues.

 

What did you mean about the issue at Baoshan?  Did you take the Maglev & subway there?  What hotel were you staying at?

 

I'm surprised by the folks not allowed on the ship that flew thru Hong Kong as it is documented on their 144 hr TWOV website as being considered a 3rd country.  We decided to fly Air Canada direct versus Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong and I am glad now if this is going to be an issue.

 

Thanks again for the post!

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Dear Betty, 

Hong Kong was only a problem for that passenger because it was also the first cruise port so cannot be where you fly in from. 

Didn't use the Maglev as our package included airport transfers. 

Chris 

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3 minutes ago, chrisgoates said:

Dear Betty, 

Hong Kong was only a problem for that passenger because it was also the first cruise port so cannot be where you fly in from. 

Didn't use the Maglev as our package included airport transfers. 

Chris 

 

OK that makes total sense.  HK - Shanghai - HK is not allowed on the TWOV.

 

Did you fly in the night before and stay at a hotel near the port?  Just curious.

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On 8/17/2018 at 10:15 PM, Miaminice said:

Hi,

 

since this is a confusing topic I thought I´d try to explain the visa exemption rules in simple terms.

Please note that this is no legal advice but rather the information I collected before travelling to Shanghai myself under the 144 hour visa exemption rule. Please doublecheck if you are citizen of a country to which the rule applies.

 

In simple terms the 144 hour visa exemption can be called the three country rule.

You need to travel from country A to country B (China) and leave to country C within the 144 hours.

 

Applied to cruises this translates as following:

The stop before China has to be another country than China. On many cruises that would be South Korea or Japan.

The country you are leaving to has to be a third country and can not be China or the country you arrived from. You need to leave on a direct flight or a flight with no stops within China. Hong Kong in this case is not considered China and would be OK.

 

Example:

Jeju, South Korea sailing to Shanghai, leave within 144 hours to the US or the UK = OK

 

The documents you need are copies of you cruise itinerary, hotel reservations and flight tickets as prove that you are leaving within the 144 hours.

 

Here is some further explanation of the procedure on the cruise. This is how it is done on Celebrity.

However, since this procedure fulfills the immigration requirements it should be of interest for passengers of other cruise lines as well.

 

Before the end of the cruise you will receive a blue transit immigration card. On Celebrity Millennium it came with the shown letter explaining which documents you need to present during immigration. The documents were already checked by Celebrity during embarkation.

 

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Here´s also a link to a website giving understandable information:

https://www.traveltothemagic.net/visa-free-travel-shanghai-disney-resort/

 

Yes, it is not an official website. However, it puts into simple terms what can be found on official websites of Chinese immigration departments, Shanghai customs etc. like this one:

http://www.sh-immigration.gov.cn/listPageEn.aspx?lx=40&id=4414

 

BTW: we arrived in China/Shanghai two times - one time without visa, one time with a visa (because we had more stops in China).

Both times it took the same time to pass immigration, there were no shorter or longer lines.

Thank you for providing the information, most helpful, I really appreciate it

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We sailed the Westerdam out of Shanghai using the 144 hr TWOV.  Here are a couple of thoughts:

 

1.  I knew to go to the counters at the far left.  Some people lined up for a LONG TIME at the Foreigners line only to be told to line up again in the proper place.

 

2.  Registering ahead of time didn't work.  The kiosk acknowledged our application but there was no paper so we ended up filling in the blue immigration card.

 

3.  Westerdam boarding was on March 3 but not sailing until 6pm on March 4th.  Our agent only gave us a 24hr sticker.  When we complained they said it was no issue as once we were on the ship we "couldn't get off".   Umm, no that is wrong.  We had to escalate to a supervisor who got into a loud argument with the agent in charge in one of the booths.  This supervisor finally got the OK from his "leader" (in a back office) to change our stickers.  He did this for us and another couple waiting and for everyone else who followed us.  Curious what happened with the folks before us that only had 24 hrs too.  Did they even look at the sticker when they boarded?  We were given a photocopy of our passports stamped by China immigration to use when going ashore.

 

Would I do it this way again to save the big dollars and hassle of getting a China Visa.  ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!

 

 

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On 3/26/2019 at 9:36 AM, Betty in Cozumel said:

We sailed the Westerdam out of Shanghai using the 144 hr TWOV.  Here are a couple of thoughts:

 

1.  I knew to go to the counters at the far left.  Some people lined up for a LONG TIME at the Foreigners line only to be told to line up again in the proper place.

 

2.  Registering ahead of time didn't work.  The kiosk acknowledged our application but there was no paper so we ended up filling in the blue immigration card.

 

3.  Westerdam boarding was on March 3 but not sailing until 6pm on March 4th.  Our agent only gave us a 24hr sticker.  When we complained they said it was no issue as once we were on the ship we "couldn't get off".   Umm, no that is wrong.  We had to escalate to a supervisor who got into a loud argument with the agent in charge in one of the booths.  This supervisor finally got the OK from his "leader" (in a back office) to change our stickers.  He did this for us and another couple waiting and for everyone else who followed us.  Curious what happened with the folks before us that only had 24 hrs too.  Did they even look at the sticker when they boarded?  We were given a photocopy of our passports stamped by China immigration to use when going ashore.

 

Would I do it this way again to save the big dollars and hassle of getting a China Visa.  ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!

 

 

Happy to hear it worked out for you too. It worked great for us last year in Tiajin giving us a nice chunk of money we could use for tours. 

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  • My 14 days cruise with Celebrity Millennium on November 23, 2019 will start from Yokohama then sail to Shimizu, Kobe, Kochi, Kagoshima (Japan) then Shanghai from 6am-8pm. After Shanghai it goes to Cheju ( South Korea), Taiwan and Hongkong.
  • According to what I have read on this forum, I don’t need a China Visa for this stop. I have US passport
  • Can anybody with past experience on this issue help to confirm so I don’t have to go apply for a China Visa just for this stop.
  • Thank you.

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20 minutes ago, Christina2019 said:
  • My 14 days cruise with Celebrity Millennium on November 23, 2019 will start from Yokohama then sail to Shimizu, Kobe, Kochi, Kagoshima (Japan) then Shanghai from 6am-8pm. After Shanghai it goes to Cheju ( South Korea), Taiwan and Hongkong.
  • According to what I have read on this forum, I don’t need a China Visa for this stop. I have US passport
  • Can anybody with past experience on this issue help to confirm so I don’t have to go apply for a China Visa just for this stop.
  • Thank you.

If you are entering Shanghai from a different country (Japan) and departing Shanghai to a different country (So Korea) you will be fine without a China visa. You can get a visa waver. 

The ship should help you with that. The rule for qualifying for a waver (at this time) is that you enter from a different country than China and depart to a different country than China and country you depart to cannot be same country from which you arrived. And you stay in Shanghai no longer than 144 hours. 

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Hi, can I just get some help with confirming whether we are eligible for the 144hr visa? I am pretty confident, but just want some reassurance or to know if others have done something similar.

 

We are both Australian nationals, so we are from one of the eligible countries on the list. We are sailing on the Spectrum of the Seas in July from Shanghai which has multiple ports in Japan before returning back to Shanghai.

 

So our itinerary is as follows:

Our first "transit"

(A) Australia -> flight to -> (B) Shanghai -> cruise to -> (C) Japan (multiple cruise ports)

then our second "transit"

(C)Japan (final cruise port) -> cruise to -> (B) Shanghai -> flight to -> (A) Australia

 

Has anyone successfully applied for two 144hr visas back-to-back like this before? We are mostly concerned with how Shanghai immigration will consider the cruise as it is technically a round trip from Shanghai and that might be confusing, but we will be stopping in Japan. 

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4 hours ago, targaryenfyre said:

Hi, can I just get some help with confirming whether we are eligible for the 144hr visa? I am pretty confident, but just want some reassurance or to know if others have done something similar.

 

We are both Australian nationals, so we are from one of the eligible countries on the list. We are sailing on the Spectrum of the Seas in July from Shanghai which has multiple ports in Japan before returning back to Shanghai.

 

So our itinerary is as follows:

Our first "transit"

(A) Australia -> flight to -> (B) Shanghai -> cruise to -> (C) Japan (multiple cruise ports)

then our second "transit"

(C)Japan (final cruise port) -> cruise to -> (B) Shanghai -> flight to -> (A) Australia

 

Has anyone successfully applied for two 144hr visas back-to-back like this before? We are mostly concerned with how Shanghai immigration will consider the cruise as it is technically a round trip from Shanghai and that might be confusing, but we will be stopping in Japan. 

That will be fine as long as you have clear physical copies of your cruise guest booklet and airline tickets (they can be in English) which may be surrendered to immigration and the address of your hotel in Shanghai. This is the same thing I did with my Quantum trip last year. Immigration in both Shanghai airports and the cruise port are well aware of the transit rule but make sure your airline is aware in advance of this as they sometimes don’t know much about the visa-free transit and may attempt to stop you from boarding the flight to China without a visa. Also, if you are flying out of Shanghai the day of disembarkation, I would recommend just using the 24-hour visa-free transit as it is less paperwork for you to fill out at immigration.

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On 4/13/2019 at 9:46 AM, PDXgranny said:

If you are entering Shanghai from a different country (Japan) and departing Shanghai to a different country (So Korea) you will be fine without a China visa. You can get a visa waver. 

The ship should help you with that. The rule for qualifying for a waver (at this time) is that you enter from a different country than China and depart to a different country than China and country you depart to cannot be same country from which you arrived. And you stay in Shanghai no longer than 144 hours. 

I wish someone from Celebrity would read this. I have asked three different times and have been told twice that Celebrity can't (or won't) answer my question if we qualify for the visa waver. The third time was told that if we booked a ship's tour we didn't need a visa, If we were an "independent traveler" we would need a visa.

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On 4/14/2019 at 1:18 AM, Christina2019 said:
  • My 14 days cruise with Celebrity Millennium on November 23, 2019 will start from Yokohama then sail to Shimizu, Kobe, Kochi, Kagoshima (Japan) then Shanghai from 6am-8pm. After Shanghai it goes to Cheju ( South Korea), Taiwan and Hongkong.
  • According to what I have read on this forum, I don’t need a China Visa for this stop. I have US passport
  • Can anybody with past experience on this issue help to confirm so I don’t have to go apply for a China Visa just for this stop.
  • Thank you.

 

You are correct. The countries you are entering from and leaving to are different and your stay is within the time limit. Provide the necessary copies and you are fine.

 

if you are planning to do an excursion, talk to Chinahighlights.com. They can help with the process and since they are certified, provide a different kind of visa which might get you through the lines faster.

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4 hours ago, Miaminice said:

 

You are correct. The countries you are entering from and leaving to are different and your stay is within the time limit. Provide the necessary copies and you are fine.

 

if you are planning to do an excursion, talk to Chinahighlights.com. They can help with the process and since they are certified, provide a different kind of visa which might get you through the lines faster.

You can just avail the 24-hour visa waiver as you are in Mainland China for less than 24 hours. You just need to show your cruise documents to immigration and will need your physical passport as they put the visa waiver sticker in it.

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On 4/18/2019 at 5:21 PM, bubbachief said:

I wish someone from Celebrity would read this. I have asked three different times and have been told twice that Celebrity can't (or won't) answer my question if we qualify for the visa waver. The third time was told that if we booked a ship's tour we didn't need a visa, If we were an "independent traveler" we would need a visa.

 

Celebrity will not answer your question for very good reasons. They cannot take responsibility for your travel plans outside of the actual cruise. They have  no idea what your pre and/or post cruise plans are. They do not know where your flight originates or has stops/layovers, or your final destination following the cruise.  They do not know your nationality. All of these things can impact your qualification for the waiver or need for a visa. They also cannot predict if there will be a last minute change in the ships itinerary or missed ports due to weather (which could also impact the visa waiver).

Simply put, its your responsibility to determine if you qualify.

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12 minutes ago, sippican said:

 

Celebrity will not answer your question for very good reasons. They cannot take responsibility for your travel plans outside of the actual cruise. They have  no idea what your pre and/or post cruise plans are. They do not know where your flight originates or has stops/layovers, or your final destination following the cruise.  They do not know your nationality. All of these things can impact your qualification for the waiver or need for a visa. They also cannot predict if there will be a last minute change in the ships itinerary or missed ports due to weather (which could also impact the visa waiver).

Simply put, its your responsibility to determine if you qualify.

My travel plans are quite simply. They know we are on the Celebrity Millennium that leaves Japan, stops one day in Shanghai ,then goes to South Korea. Country A-Country B-Country C. We stay on the ship until it arrives in Hong Kong. They know we are USA citizens because I told them. I can't be that hard to provide us the information as to the procedure on board the ship.

As someone posted earlier:

"Before the end of the cruise you will receive a blue transit immigration card. On Celebrity Millennium it came with the shown letter explaining which documents you need to present during immigration. The documents were already checked by Celebrity during embarkation."

 

 

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16 hours ago, bubbachief said:

My travel plans are quite simply. They know we are on the Celebrity Millennium that leaves Japan, stops one day in Shanghai ,then goes to South Korea. Country A-Country B-Country C. We stay on the ship until it arrives in Hong Kong. They know we are USA citizens because I told them. I can't be that hard to provide us the information as to the procedure on board the ship.

As someone posted earlier:

"Before the end of the cruise you will receive a blue transit immigration card. On Celebrity Millennium it came with the shown letter explaining which documents you need to present during immigration. The documents were already checked by Celebrity during embarkation."

 

 

 

So are you asking if you qualify (I stand by my answer), or what the procedure wull be onboard if you decide you will choose the visa-free transit route?

These are two entriely different questions,

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2 hours ago, sippican said:

 

So are you asking if you qualify (I stand by my answer), or what the procedure wull be onboard if you decide you will choose the visa-free transit route?

These are two entriely different questions,

My point was and is that Celebrity should be able to provide information on what the requirements are for the visa waiver and what the procedure is on THEIR ships for handling the immigration process. They did neither.

 

I have my answers thanks to multiple other sources and enought said.

 

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Hi, 

 

I have another question. I 'm pretty sure I can use the 144-hour visa because I travel from Belgium to Shanghai and my first port of call is in Japan. 

I will stay 2 nights pre-cruise in Shanghai, then I will embark. The ship isn't leaving until the next day in the evening. Can I take an excursion on the second day? I'm not sure I can use the same visa again... 

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2 hours ago, Reismicrobe said:

Hi, 

 

I have another question. I 'm pretty sure I can use the 144-hour visa because I travel from Belgium to Shanghai and my first port of call is in Japan. 

I will stay 2 nights pre-cruise in Shanghai, then I will embark. The ship isn't leaving until the next day in the evening. Can I take an excursion on the second day? I'm not sure I can use the same visa again... 

 

We did the same thing.  Our only problem was that the immigration agent only gave us a 24hr transit sticker because our ship documents said the cruise started on March 3rd even though we were not sailing until 6pm on the 4th.  We finally got it changed but we lost 45 minutes getting it straightened out.  The first agent said it would be no problem as once we got on the ship; we couldn't get off.  Duh!!!!  Thank goodness my husband speaks Chinese.  We did get it fixed for all the other couples who followed us.

 

We went into town on sail day as they had a free bus shuttle to the park at the end of the Bund.  Didn't have enough money and there is no exchange places.  PLUS we couldn't exchange at a bank as we didn't have our passport; only the stamped copy from China Immigration which was not acceptable.  Be prepared!

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4 hours ago, Betty in Cozumel said:

We went into town on sail day as they had a free bus shuttle to the park at the end of the Bund.  Didn't have enough money and there is no exchange places. 

But there are lots of ATMs 😉

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On ‎4‎/‎23‎/‎2019 at 5:06 PM, Betty in Cozumel said:

 

We did the same thing.  Our only problem was that the immigration agent only gave us a 24hr transit sticker because our ship documents said the cruise started on March 3rd even though we were not sailing until 6pm on the 4th.  We finally got it changed but we lost 45 minutes getting it straightened out.  The first agent said it would be no problem as once we got on the ship; we couldn't get off.  Duh!!!!  Thank goodness my husband speaks Chinese.  We did get it fixed for all the other couples who followed us.

 

We went into town on sail day as they had a free bus shuttle to the park at the end of the Bund.  Didn't have enough money and there is no exchange places.  PLUS we couldn't exchange at a bank as we didn't have our passport; only the stamped copy from China Immigration which was not acceptable.  Be prepared!

Ok, thanks for the info, Betty!

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Hi all! I'm hoping someone here can help, as Royal Caribbean has been unable to provide us any clarification when we reached out:

 

We'll be on the Spectrum of the Seas later this month. Our cruise ends in Shanghai (starts in Singapore, so we won't be in China beforehand), and as we'll be going from Hong Kong to Shanghai back home to the United States, we should qualify for the 144-hour visa exemption (we'll be flying back home the same day we disembark the ship in Shanghai).

 

My question is, we have a late flight (6:30 PM) out of PVG, and we were planning on taking the ship's city tour with airport transfer. What we're unclear on is if using the 144-hour exemption would cause us to miss the tour (we heard lines may be longer and it could take hours?) or if we would need a traditional visa.

 

Does anyone have experience with leaving the ship/Shanghai with the 144-hour exemption?

 

Many thanks!!!!

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