New 72 hour visa-free transit policy in Beijing

Beijing authorities have announced a new 72 hour visa-free transit policy, effective January 1st 2013 for travellers transiting through Beijing who are citizens of one of 45 approved countries (listed below), hold third-country visas where necessary and have onward plane tickets. This new policy will exempt travellers from the complicated procedures associated with visa applications, but still enable them to visit Beijing, an iconic centre of Chinese culture.

The 45 countries initially included in the 72 hour visa-free policy are as follows:

United States of America, Canada, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Russia, Greece, Brazil, Australia, Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Republic of Lithuania, Luxembourg, Republic of Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Slovakia, Republic of Slovenia, Switzerland, Republic of Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, Brunei, Qatar.