Asked by MP from Finland | Dec. 10, 2019 11:03
About:72-Hour Visa-Free Transit FAQ


Is the following 72-hour visa-free transit scenario possible for an EU passport holder:

Arrive in Guangzhou from Manila, then fly back to Manila via Hong Kong ?

The return ticket would be one booking but with a layover in Hong Kong.

Answers (12)
Answered by CDKING from US | Dec. 10, 2019 15:45
Manila-Guangzhou-HK-Manila is allowed.
If you are flying Cathay for example and transit HK both ways then you need Tourist (L) visa.
Answered by MP from Finland | Dec. 11, 2019 08:22
Thank you very much for your reply.

I'm flying to Guangzhou directly from Manila with Cebu Pacific. I didn't buy the next flight yet so I was researching different routes to exit Guangzhou. Cathay is one possibility and there's this mentioned flight that has layover in HK and then back to Manila.

The flight to Guangzhou lands after 2 am. Is it true that this would actually give me 72+22 hours stay.. if the counting starts from the end of the day? Should I verify this from somewhere in advance?
Answered by ZUPAN | Dec. 11, 2019 15:55
The truth is that Guangdong province now has 144 hour visa free transit that has replaced 72 hours visa free transit in May of this year. In other words, you are perfectly allowed to plan your stay in Guangdong province for a longer period that you have mentioned here.

By the way, you are right regarding the counting of available hours. The countdown of 144 hours begins at the beginning of the day following of the day of your arrival. So, if you arrive at 02:00 (2:00am), this whole day or better to say 22 hours are not counted against your 144 hours. If you arrive at 02:00 (2:00am) on Monday, you are allowed to stay within Guangdong province until Sunday 23:59 (11:59pm).

I would like to inform you that beside the plane, you are allowed to leave Guangdong province to Hong Kong also by train (only from Gunagzhou East to Hung Hom station in Hong Kong) or by ferry. Also, you can fly out of Guangdong province from Jieyang Chaoshan airport (sometimes called Shantou airport) by plane to Macau.
Answered by MP from Finland | Dec. 23, 2019 06:35
Very useful information again, thank you.

I would be interested in going to Macau for a couple of days after Guangzhou. Is it possible to travel there by land within the 144-hour visa free transit?

If yes, then I think I'd need to buy the ticket in advance. What options do I have travelling from Guangzhou to Macau?

I read from somewhere that high speed train to HK would not be allowed if flying to Shenzhen but it seems it is allowed if visiting/flying to Guangzhou (like in my case).

Merry Christmas!
Answered by ZUPAN | Dec. 23, 2019 13:59
If you are flying on the itinerary:

Manila - Guangzhou - Hong Kong - Manila

Then you have options mentioned in my previous post. You cannot use a high speed train, but a conventional one from Guangzhou East to Hong Kong Hung Hom railway station and you have to book this ticket in advance, even before you depart from Manila. Anyway, this conventional train is just fine because it takes only 2 hours between Guangzhou and Hong Kong. You can travel by ferry from Guangdong province to Hong Kong. Also, you will have to book ferry tickets before your departure from Manila.

If you want to travel to Macau, you can but beside the mentioned flight, you can use a ferry departing from Shenzhen Shekou port to Macau by TurboJet ferry. Again, you will need to book this ferry ticket in advance, before your departure from Manila.

It is not possible to travel in any other way between Guangdong province and Macau beside the mentioned. The reason is simple, you cannot book in advance any other ticket for travel between Guangdong province and Macau beside the mentioned options.
Answered by ZUPAN | Dec. 23, 2019 14:00
Merry Christmas to you too and I wish you all the blessings to you and your family :)
Answered by MP from Finland | Jan. 10, 2020 06:58
I'm at Clark airport in the Philippines and Cebu Pacific doesn't allow me to board because my stay is more than 144 hours.
They don't believe they counting starts from the next day. Is there any place I could call?
Answered by MP from Finland | Jan. 10, 2020 07:05
So they don't believe that the first 22 hours don't count. They emailed somebody at the Guangzhou airport and I don't know what's the confusion but they still think that I'm not allowed to stay 144++ hours.
Answered by ZUPAN | Jan. 10, 2020 13:14
This is a huge problem. Anyway, you should tell them to just take a look at Timatic and they will realize the rules regarding 144 hour visa free transit. By the way, I have realized that Philippine airport staff is more or less so poorly trained that their skills and knowledge are a shame for the entire country.

I understand that this answer arrives too late, but I can only hope that they have found a real answer that is so simple and that you were allowed to board the plane. You are perfectly on the legal side 100%. I hope, you will come here again and tell us what was the outcome of this so stressful situation. Hope for the best.
Answered by MP from Finland | Jan. 13, 2020 07:51
In the end I was allowed to board after arguing with them for one hour at Cebu Pacific office. When they rushed me through immigration and security for the second time, the plane was already boarding. Any less persistent person would have certainly been denied boarding but I don't give up although it looked extremely hopeless.

Initially they had given me my boarding pass after mere 10 minutes of explaining and consulting 3 persons. Then after I had passed immigration and security, and was sitting down to wait near the gate, they wanted my passport again and soon escorted me back to the other side into their office.

I explained the rules to them 10 times. I showed screenshots of the rules and this discussion too. In true Filipino style they focused on irrelevant things, like one example that I had printed on the calculation of the entry date which didn't mention Guangzhou at the end.

They emailed their Guangzhou airport contact and soon they got a reply that I'm not allowed. At this time it looked really bad. They refused to call Guangzhou. I tried to call the number of Guangzhou Baiyun airport (as found from these pages) but somebody who didn't speak a word of English picked up (it didn't sound like an airport contact number).

By the way, my final plan was/is to exit via another flight (Macau was too expensive this time of the year). So this problem was not due to exiting via ferry/train. I can only imagine somebody trying that plan with these people!

They already told me that I have to buy another exit flight for one day earlier. Or that they could transfer me to their flight to Guangzhou 24 hours later. (continues)
Answered by MP from Finland | Jan. 13, 2020 07:53
I asked them multiple times if they are going to pay for all my extra expenses when I come back proving that I was right. They argued that they have to follow the rules. I wanted to keep them motivated to find out the truth so they wouldn't make a terrible mistake. So I continued to explain that they need to ask the right question from Guangzhou or whomever. The question being: "When does the calculation of the 144-hour period begin?"

I've spent around two years total of my life in the Philippines so I know that people there are poor in transacting clear information.

I think they called Manila office a few times, and suddenly they got information from somewhere. With fast apologies they started to rush me back to the gate. I remember them saying that it's a learning process for them too.

And of course at Guangzhou airport I had no troubles at all to get my passport sticker to stay up to 144+21 hours.
Answered by ZUPAN | Jan. 13, 2020 13:29
MP, I'm so sorry to hear again and again about the incompetence of the Philippine airport staff. No, you are not the only one to experience their ignorance. They have ruined travel plans of so many people. Too many. If only they have consulted Timatic, everything would be clear to them. Or maybe it wouldn't even... What to say, but to hope that they will teach to use available databases and manuals. It appears that they are trying to explain the rules by some weird personal logic and approach.

Well, this is something I really didn't expect because the rules of 144 hour visa free transit are so clear and far less complicated than 24 hour visa free transit that can have more than one stop. Indeed, it appears that the advises given to the people departing from the Philippines should be, please obtain a visa in advance. How sad to say that.

In any case, I'm glad you have managed to reach Guangzhou, although with too much loss of nerves. MP, enjoy your time and have happy travels :)
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