Transit tourists from 45 countries will be able to visit Beijing for up to 72 hours without a visa under new regulations starting January 1, 2013.
Government officials announced this week that visas will be waived for transit passengers who can provide a confirmed air ticket or other travel documents detailing a third destination and who will depart the Chinese capital within three days.
This means travelers from selected countries (see below) who have onward journeys don’t have to apply for a visa if they want to stay in Beijing, e.g., a Hong Kong to Beijing to San Francisco passenger. But foreign nationals traveling on a single return flight (e.g., Hong Kong to Beijing to Hong Kong) will need to get a visa before their departure.
The 45 visa-free countries are:
Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Japan, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.