With so many amazing sights to visit in China, it is no wonder it is so popular to visit this destination and to combine with a cruise to Japan or other Asian countries.
We recently had a group on a cruise from Beijing to Singapore taking in ports in Japan and Korea. Combining with a few days in Beijing or a tour is a great opportunity and that is what most did.
When travelling to China you are required to obtain a visa, however, there are a few exceptions to this rule which is where a lot of guests took advantage of for this trip.
We always advise to check before travel and I was deeply concerned for my guests travelling knowing how strict some countries can be
The exception is a 144-hour visa-free entry into China which allows you to enter China and then leave within this time to travel and apply for the visa on arrival.
You are not allowed to return to China or travel to any other part of the country and must be in transit or flying/ sailing to another country.
Most fulfilled this rule however about 30% of travellers were refused entry into China.
No reasons were given, luggage was kept and they had to make alternative travel arrangements. Not what you want when on holiday.
Most took a flight to Japan to join the cruise a few days later but this was all at the expense of the guest and loss of the original holiday they were due to take in China.
We helped as much as possible with flights, hotels and transfers.
My guests were fine and emailed me to let me know!
We have tour companies out in China and Wendy Wu tours assisted us to find out what had happened. Some discussions were that guests turned away had Turkish or UAE stamps in their passports some said that the airline had completed the landing card incorrectly advising the guests were travelling back to China. I am sure we will have more reasons coming through and many stories from affected guests.
Our advice going forward is to apply for a visa in advance. The price is approx £151pp
It is a bit of a pain to complete and you have to make an appointment in either London, Edinburgh or Manchester to have your fingerprints taken.. But better to be safe than sorry.
Here is a letter we are sending to all guests for future travels..
We are contacting you regarding some Important information that we have received regarding Travel to China, which we would like to make you aware of.
‘The British Embassy in Beijing has received reports of a recent increase in cases where entry to China under the visa waiver on arrival scheme has been refused. This may be linked to previous travel history and you should note that entry into China under a visa waiver is not guaranteed – Chinese border officials have the right to refuse entry without warning or explanation and therefore it is recommended for passengers travelling to China to apply for a Chinese Visa prior to travel.’
Due to this advice, for passengers travelling to China in October 2019 and beyond, we highly recommend that you obtain a visa before travel, to avoid potentially being refused entry on arrival. You can do this by contacting the Chinese embassy or via a visa specialist, such as CIBT (cibtvisas.co.uk). Visa specialists will be able to advise and assist you with the application process and the costs involved in obtaining a visa for China. As part of the visa process, you will be required to complete an online application form and take this to the Chinese Embassy in London or the Consulate in Manchester or Edinburgh, for which you will require an appointment.
You can view the travel advice in full here: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china/entry-requirements
We strongly recommend that you take the above action required and should you wish to discuss this further with your Specialist Cruise Consultant, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will answer any further questions that you may have.
Thanks for reading
Love Rosie xx