If you’re facing a layover in the capital city of China, you’re in luck: Beijing offers a handful of ways to obtain a tourist visa, leave the airport and explore the world outside the airport shops and restaurants. If your next flight includes a stopover in Beijing of more than six hours, here’s how to obtain a tourist visit to see the surrounding sights, like the Great Wall of China.
A temporary visitor’s visa for Beijing is available to travelers from 53 countries and is valid for up to 144 hours, or six days. However, you must enter and exit at the same port of entry, for example, the airport.
Upon arrival, visit the Foreigner Fingerprint Self-Collection area where you will scan your passport, submit a fingerprint scan and receive a ticket. Take this to counter E11 where you will complete a form for a temporary entry pemit, which will ask for your name, address, flight numbers, passport number and reason for visit. When called by a desk agent, submit the form and your passport, and the agent may ask you questions about your stay. If approved, your visa will be affixed into one of your passport pages, so ensure you have sufficient room in your passport before you travel.
The process continues at the China Immigration Inspection Line for Foreigners, where you must scan your passport as well as your boarding pass for your next flight. As you exit the terminal, you’ll find storage lockers where you can stash your belongings while you’re out exploring Beijing.
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