Question
Asked by Zsófia Kovács-Hohler from Hungary | Jun. 16, 2019 01:43
About:24-Hour Visa-Free Transit

Transit in Urumqi and Guangzhou

Hello,
I’m Hungarian citizen. I will travel from Vienna through China to Bali. The flight has a technical stopover in Urumqi (from 7:55 until 9:25 on the 26th of June) and a normal stopover in Guangzhou (from 14:30 until 18:15 on the 26th of June)
Please confirm, that I don’t need any transit visa.
Thank you in advance! Best regards, Zsófia

Answers (31)
Answered by ZUPAN | Jun. 16, 2019 03:23
00Reply
Zsófia, your case is specific and I will tell you why. I have to start from Urumqi that has very specific transit rules:

- One is allowed to make a transit in Urumqi only if the entire transit time between two international flights is less than 2 hours
- One is allowed to make a transit in Urumqi only if the transit is between two international flights while the transits between international to domestic and domestic to international flights are not allowed for visa free transit

Now, your flight connections are indeed less than two hours. This is fine. Anyway, your flight that you will arrive to Urumqi is international, but the portion between Urumqi to Guangzhou is a domestic one. So, strictly speaking, you would need a transit visa obtained in advance, but I can't say that I'm entirely confident in that necessity since you are flying under the same flight number, by the same aircraft, i.e. CZ6022 that is, logically looking, international in its entirety and also sold as a such all the way from Vienna to Guangzhou.

I have to admit, you are in very specific situation and I just hope that also other forum members will take part in this subject and elaborate what should be done. Also, I know that you will just waste your time by asking customer service of the airline and also by contacting the Chinese embassy. You know, what... If some of our other forum members does not appear here, I would really advise you to obtain a Chinese transit visa (G) before your departure and in case that you will return by the same flight combination, to obtain double entry transit visa. I know that this is something really annoying, but do that for the peace of mind and to avoid any possible misunderstandings and problems.
Answered by Judd | Jun. 16, 2019 06:45
00Reply
CZ6022 perfectly illustrates the difference between a "direct" and a "non-stop" flight. It's sold as a "direct" Vienna to Guangzhou service with a single flight number, but the key thing here is that it is not "non-stop". I know I wouldn't risk that route without a visa, and you still have a few days to get one.
Answered by Zsófia from Hungary | Jun. 16, 2019 22:54
00Reply
Thank you for your answer!
I read that comment also here:
“Those who transfer in two cities of China within 24 hours are also available to enjoy this policy. For instance, if one’s trip is Los Angeles – Beijing – Kunming – Chiengmai and the time in China is less than 24 hours, the passenger can enjoy the direct transit." travelchinaguide.com/embassy/visa/intro2.htm”
What do you mean about this?
Thank you!
Answered by Linda from USA | Jun. 17, 2019 01:57
00Reply
It means that you can enjoy 24h visa exemption transit if your stay in mainland China is less than 24 hours.
Answered by Zsófi from Hungary | Jun. 17, 2019 02:36
00Reply
Thank you!
Isn't it true also in my case?
I have interpreted so, that within 24 hours I can also transit in two cities of China.
Am I not right?
Thank you for the advises in advance!
Answered by ZUPAN | Jun. 17, 2019 05:20
00Reply
Zsófia, this is not true in your case because you are flying via Urumqi where this rule is not valid. If I were you I would be already in Chinese embassy/consulate and obtain there transit (G) visa because you could be bitterly surprised by denying of boarding or even denying your continuation of flight in Urumqi. Please, obtain double entry transit visa in case that you are returning by the same route. Please, make yourself a favor.
Answered by Zsófia from Hungary | Jun. 17, 2019 06:30
00Reply
Thank you! I am already filling the form...
Do I need two entries or a multiple?
Answered by ZUPAN | Jun. 17, 2019 08:26
00Reply
Two entries since you will be traveling through China twice... Once on your way to Bali and once on your way back.
Answered by Hogi from Germany | Jun. 22, 2019 13:06
00Reply
I'm going to take the same route in July and so far the consensus in my research is, that no Visa is needed except for certain passport holders from mainly Islamic countries. The explanation I got so far is, that as long the stop in Urumqi is shorter than 2h, you will also get a 24h transit TWOV in Urumqi, as long your total stay in China is less than 24h in total. The only thing that is not possible is to get a 24h TWOV for Urumqi itself, to leave the airport etc.
It would be also quite idiotic by China Southern, to start a new route like that and not to ensure, that the majority of passengers actually can transit easily. If you would really need a transit Visa, probably the majority of passengers wouldn't be allowed to board the plane.
Anyways, the flight happened three times already, so I guess there should be reports coming up. A passenger in another forum successfully took a similar route from Istanbul - Urumqi - Guangzhou - Sydney last September without problems.
Answered by ZUPAN | Jun. 23, 2019 07:46
00Reply
Part two:

I perfectly understand your logic and you will really hardly encounter any complaints from the side of passengers using this flight both just for transit through China if they have transit visas or to reach Urumqi or Guangzhou as their final destinations. Of course, the complaints will be unexistant until one day when you try to make a check-in in Vienna and realize that you will be denied boarding or even worse, you can maybe skip Austrians, but you will be stopped in Urumqi and asked to book the first flight out of China. Then you will be the first one that will write a complain just because something seemed to be logical. For that reason, I really suggest you to obtain your transit visa and to travel with peace of mind.
Answered by Hogi from Germany | Jun. 23, 2019 13:22
00Reply
The point is, it has nothing to do with logic, just hard facts and rules. I agree of course, it doesn't make any sense logically either, but also the rules are kinda clear. As long the layover is below 2h and the total transit time in China less than 24h, it should be fine. The first step is to get out of Urumqi in 2h with an international confirmed destination. There is no way to stay in Urumqi, leave the airport or get a 24/72/144h TWOV for Urumqi. BUT you will get a general 24h transit allowance for the rest of China. With that you can continue to Guangzhou, have the layover and continue to the final destination. The whole China part has to be done in under 24h. You also cannot get a 72h TWOV in Guangzhou with that connection. Even China Southern is stating this on their Chinese booking website. So these are the facts stated in Timatic or confirmed by people using that specific connection, apart from logic. I wouldn't mind to get a Chinese Visa, but 160€ extra when it's not really needed is quite an investment.
Answered by Hogi from Germany | Jun. 23, 2019 13:28
00Reply
PS: the even more ridiculous part is, that only Timatic states these specific Transit rules for Urumqi. The Chinese embassies are totally clueless, their Visa service doesn't know either and also the airline doesn't know. Everyone is referring to ask the other.
Answered by Hogi from Germany | Jun. 23, 2019 13:36
00Reply
PPS: I even read reports from people with a stopover over 2h in Urumqi, that China Southern collects the passengers without Visa in a lounge before immigration until 2h before the next flight and let them pass immigration just then. Also the only reported problem with that connection were the two girls from NZ, who thought they would get a 72h TWOV in Beijing after their stop in Urumqi. But this is definitely not possible, the max 24h rule strictly applies.
Answered by ZUPAN | Jun. 24, 2019 13:15
00Reply
Part one (a):

Hogi, you didn't insert one important detail into your equation. That detail says that the largest majority of passengers using this particular flight have Chinese tourist or similar visas obtained in advance because their destination is in Urumqi and/or Guangzhou or in the rest of mainland China. Passengers in transit through China, using Chinese carriers are relatively new circumstance and that was the reason for adaptation of Chinese visa free rules during the last decade or so. When you understand that most passengers on that particular flight, i.e. Vienna - Urumqi - Guangzhou are not passengers in transit, but passenger with their pre-arranged visas, then you will understand why don't they complain.
Answered by ZUPAN | Jun. 24, 2019 13:16
00Reply
Part one (b)

Chinese immigration law is simple. All international passengers cross the immigration upon the very first arrival point in China, so in this case in Urumqi. All those who have their pre-arranged visas of different types, mostly tourist or similar, just proceed on the same flight which at that very moment becomes domestic portion of international flight Vienna - Urumqi - Guangzhou. Please, be informed that making a connection between international to domestic flights in Urumqi is not allowed according to the law. Also, you should have in mind the fact that the portion Urumqi - Guangzhou is sold in China as purely domestic flight, i.e. just visit any Chinese website that sells domestic flights only and you will see that they are selling the portion of Urumqi - Guangzhou CZ6022 flight as purely domestic. The same thing you can also see on every global ticket booking website.
Answered by ZUPAN | Jun. 24, 2019 13:26
00Reply
The system of the website simply didn't allow me to post my first posts and has allowed my second part on Saturday :(... OK, now everything I though to tell on the subject is here and I still insist on compulsory transit visa in case that you or anybody else intend to use this flight for his/her final destination outside China. Simply speaking, I firmly believe that Urumqi is impassable obstacle in any option where behind Urumqi there is one more Chinese airport. One or two examples of passengers that have successfully managed to use this or similar flights are a non indicator because they are more the exceptions than the rule.

Anyway, trust me, I wish if you were right. I really wish so because this would be something totally different in the entire structure that was valid so far and also it would allow us, the volunteers on this website to be certain about this particular "Urumqi course" :).

Hogi, I would be more than grateful I you could just return here after your travel to tell us about your experience and also try to see whether are there more passengers traveling as you will. This is so important for all prospective travelers on similar routes. Thanks a lot!
Answered by Mario from New Zealand | Jun. 26, 2019 02:57
00Reply
Hi Zupan, Im flying the opposite route: Auckland - Guangzhou - Urumqi - Vienna. Does what you have described apply to this also? Thank you
Answered by Mario from New Zealand | Jun. 26, 2019 03:05
00Reply
I am flying from Auckland to Guangzhou, layover 3.5 hours, then Urumqi where layover is 1.5 hour, and then Vienna. Everything within 24 hours. Just one way ticket as I am leaving New Zealand. Has anybody experienced any problems with Urumqi? Is visa needed in my case? Thank you
Answered by ZUPAN | Jun. 26, 2019 09:43
00Reply
Mario, the situation regarding Urumqi airport is a bit situation in a grey zone because of several rules that are specific for Urumqi airport. As you can see, there are several different opinions and I cannot deny Hogi's logical reasoning, but I'm afraid that the Chinese authorities in Urumqi could interpret your layover in Urumqi as a domestic to international connection and that is not allowed under the present set of rules. Anyway, it is also possible that they have received strict orders to consider the entire route from Guangzhou to Vienna and vice versa as one same flight because even the equipment is not changed in Urumqi, i.e. you travel all the way by the same plane. Honestly speaking, I just hope that this detail will be cleared in the very soon future, but until then, I honestly suggest obtaining in advance of Chinese transit (G) visa.
Answered by Zsófi from Hungary | Jun. 26, 2019 23:51
00Reply
Hi all,
my visa was checked yesterday in Urumqi. I’m not sure, that I could countinue my travel without the visa.
So I also recommend to have it!
Answered by ZUPAN | Jun. 27, 2019 01:05
00Reply
Zsófia, thank you so much. The feedback received by the real people traveling on the real itinerary through one of the most delicate airports of China, as far as different specific rules are concerned, is the real treasure for all future travelers through the same itinerary. Could you, please, just confirm that the others you have talked to and also those standing in the queue that you have seen, have also been in possession of valid Chinese visas.
Answered by Zsófi from Hungary | Jun. 27, 2019 02:15
00Reply
Unfortunatly, I don’t know. About 90% of the people on that flight were Chinese citizens.
On the way to home in July I will ask some Europian travellers if I meet them.
Answered by Hogi from Germany | Jul. 02, 2019 07:21
00Reply
Just a quick update on what I have researched so far (which sadly isn´t much hard facts still):

I called the chinese embassy in Berlin (they don´t know, I should call the consulate), called the consulate (they don´t know, I should call the visa service), called the Visa service (they don´t know, I should call the immigration in Guangzhou), called the immigration in Guangzhou (they claimed as long as the transit time is below 24h I don´t need a visa). Didn´t trust that answer alone, so called China Southern in China (they don´t know, I should call the immigration in Urumqi), called the immigration in Urumqi (no answer, since the hotline is always busy). My last resort was to call the airport in Vienna on a day when the flight is happening. Since they aren´t able to connect an external phone call to the check in counters, I asked the very nice hotline lady to call internally and ask on my behalf, which she did. The check in manager of China Southern said, as long all flights are with China Southern, I don´t need a visa for China, he just advised to have a visa for Vietnam. So we will see, I will report what happens...
Answered by ZUPAN | Jul. 02, 2019 10:29
00Reply
Hogi, thank you for all your efforts. I wish so much you are right about this detail. It will mean a lot for all the people that come here asking for an advice as they would be free from obtaining an unnecessary visa and spending their time and money when taking those flights that transits via Urumqi.
Answered by Anna from Czech Republic | Jul. 03, 2019 10:14
00Reply
I am so happy for this thread and I will check on it every day now. I will fly the same route - Vienna (-Urumqi) - Guangzhou and then to Australia in September. I honestly hope that the authorities will spot the problem soon and put out a statement or something, tell us what to do. Until then, thank you to anybody who puts any information about this flight online.
Answered by Hogi from Germany | Jul. 06, 2019 00:21
00Reply
Just a short report: I successfully flew the route Vienna -Urumqi (stopover 1h45m) - Guangzhou (layover 7h40m) - Hanoi on the 4th. Baggage was checked through from Vienna to Hanoi, so no collecting in between. Most people on that flight were Chinese, maybe 20 Western people, seemed like none of them having a transit Visa for China, most people I spoke to were not even aware of that stopover at all. As expected everyone had to leave the plane in URC and we were directed by China southern staff towards a small immigration point. Everyone got a tag by the staff that we're in transit. At immigration we got a stamp for a temporary entry permit, valid for 24h. Some passports of some westerners were given to an immigration supervisor who looked at all the Visa stamps and asked some questions, but nobody was denied to continue the journey. After that a security check and back to the same gate where we left the plane. We arrived in Guangzhou as domestic arrival, ending up directly inside the baggage claim area. So it was possibly to leave the airport freely if you'd like. It seems that China Southern got some kind of special agreement with the immigration in Urumqi, as long the stopover is below 2h and the total transit time in China is below 24h. That's probably why there's also no hard evidence to find. I just can report that it worked perfectly and I'm happy I had not spent 125€ for an unnecessary Visa.
Answered by Anna from Czech Republic | Jul. 06, 2019 01:01
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Hogi, thank you so much! I hope nothing changes till september so we can also fly visa free.
Answered by ZUPAN | Jul. 06, 2019 08:04
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Hogi the brave :)

Thanks Hogi for your first hand experience with the transit that included Urumqi and another one mainland Chinese city. What to say!? Now we know that this is possible and will be able to advise the people in the proper way. Indeed, this is very specific itinerary because Urumqi has its very rigid and specific rules and it really seems that China Southern has some kind of very special agreement with Urumqi airport in order that both segments of the flight Vienna - Urumqi - Guangzhou are considered international in their nature.

Thanks once again and have a nice holiday in Vietnam.
Answered by Hogi from Germany | Jul. 11, 2019 06:36
00Reply
I generally think, the rules stated in Timatic are correct for any other combination of airlines. My guess is as I said, that China Southern has a special agreement with immigration for their flights. They make sure that nobody can leave the airport and passengers really just get guided to the transit area also without having to change terminals, since Terminal 3 is for CZ only. That also explains why there are no hard facts to be found about the whole issue and nobody actually really knows.
Answered by Eric from Hungary,European Union | Jul. 12, 2019 08:32
00Reply
Thank you! I will transit with the same route soon from Vienna-BKK 2stops in china Urumqi and Guanzhou within less than 24hours leave china - to go to thailand.
If not nessecery i dont want to spend 100$ for visa process just bc the flight re-fuel in Urumqi or whatever they stop...

If anybody went throug the same fleght CZ6022 from Vienna- without visa please write for us
Thsnks, Hogi for let us know your experiences
Answered by John Doe | Jul. 12, 2019 16:21
00Reply
Hogi is right and this was the arrangement CZ had with Shenzhen before they allowed TWOV in Timatic. However there are consequences if the traveler is deemed inadmissible by immigration for whatever reason: a Russian guy with no record of any kind in Mainland China traveled MEL-SZX-SVO last August and was sent back to MEL after a few hours of detention (during which time immigration helped themselves to the contents of his laptop and phone) even when he was simply trying to return to Russia. IIRC he mentioned that most of the Russians on the MEL-SZX flight went through SZX fine but he and a few others were sent back with no reason given.

My advice here is to analyze your risk since Hogi had made it clear that immigration does inspect travel records, and if you have been to any Central Asian/Middle Eastern country on the same passport (yes, Turkey is one of them) then you'd better to get a visa to be safe than sorry. Of course, even if you have the record then it may still be OK to travel but do expect grilling at the border, and don't argue when the decision is made to prevent further escalation of the situation (just FYI Xinjiang is not one of the places I would even think about visiting for now).
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