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5,800 transit travelers get waivers

2013-07-05 10:18 Global Times Web Editor: Sun Tian

The Shanghai Airport Frontier Inspection Station has granted visa waivers to about 5,800 passengers passing through on international flights since authorities earlier this year extended the length of time that transit travelers can stay in the city without a visa to 72 hours, the station said Thursday.

More than half of the travelers were from Western countries, including 920 from the US. More Americans took advantage of the policy than any of the 45 nationalities who qualify, according to a press release from the Shanghai Airport Frontier Inspection Station.

"Most American passengers were going to Hong Kong or countries in Southeast Asia. They might have been on a business trip or a tour of Asia. The policy makes it convenient for them to stop in the city for a visit," said Lu Qin, a press officer with the inspection station.

Australian passengers were the second most with 840. Germans were the third most with 540 passengers. And New Zealand passengers came in fourth place with 530 passengers, according to the press release.

Lu said he was at first surprised to find out that Australia and New Zealand ranked so high, but then figured out that many passengers from the two countries choose to transfer to European airlines in Shanghai.

Passengers from 45 countries can qualify for the waivers when they arrive at Shanghai Pudong International Airport or Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport.

They have to prove that they hold a valid visa and airline ticket to a third country or region. Their flight must be scheduled to depart within 72 hours of when they apply for the permit.

Passengers from Western countries including France, Britain and Canada all exceeded 410, while the number of passengers from Latin American countries, including Mexico and Brazil remained under 30.

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