Beijing and Shanghai started a new 72-hour visa-free stay policy from the New Year in a bid to lure more transit visitors to shop in the Chinese markets.
The new policy permits tourists holding third-country visas and plane tickets to apply for transit without the need of a visa at the international airport in Beijing. Travelers to China from around 45 countries including the U.S. can avail the benefit of this new policy. In addition to saving a trip to the Chinese consulate, the policy also banks the $130 fee.
However, foreign visitors availing benefit from this policy are not allowed to leave Beijing and visit other cities in China during their 72-hour stay and have to depart from Beijing.
Beijing has listed the 45 countries according to the numbers of inbound overnight visitors in Beijing from the year 2009 to 2011, reported business standard.
The policy is also effective in Shanghai and the visitors can apply for the same at Hongqiao and Pudong airports. With the new policy, China aims to boost sales in its domestic markets as most of the transit visitors like shopping.
Reports say that Beijing airport had around 7.6 million foreign passengers until September 2012. The estimates also claim that around 8.18 million people visited Shanghai in 2011.