Visiting China Without the Necessary Visa is Now Totally Possible
In order to visit China as a US citizen, you've got to apply, pay, and be approved for a visa. In order to apply for that visa, you've already got to have a China trip booked, including round-trip ticket. It's a true Catch-22, because what if you're denied for some reason or make some small mistake in the application process?
Luckily for all who want to quickly cross China off their bucket list, both Beijing and Shanghai have just cut the need for visas completely for visitors on the ground for 72 hours or less.
Essentially you'll be "in transit," but 72 hours is much more than a sneeze in Shanghai's direction; 72 hours is 2-3 nights in town, meals, museums, gardens and perhaps a little shopping. All in all, moving quickly could mean a very good taste of one of these two metropoli before committing to a longer trip and the headache of getting one of those compulsory visas.
The only clincher to the new 72-hour, visa-free policy? Well, you've got to eventually continue on, and you have those 72 hours or less to do it. It's just a transit visa, after all, which you can apply for and be instantly approved at immigration.
So, why is the normal visa now such a pain? It was just last August that China further strangled their visitor flow by imparting additional strict guidelines for getting a visa. As we said, that means turning in a copy of your purchased roundtrip tickets, hotel bookings, information on your contacts in China, and all sorts of other little musts. Ugh. Hate printing things.