More great news for foreign travelers in China. Frequent travelers with a Z visa can now use the E-Channel to skip immigration queues at the airport, according to China Briefing. This comes just recently after China introduced six-day, 144-hour visa-free transit to foreigners from 51 countries.
You'll need to apply in advance to be able to use the E-Channel service. We've outlined the process below.
Step 1: Check if your passport is compatible
Before you apply for the E-Channel program, check to see if your passport is compatible. You'll need a new biometric ("e-passport") enabled with a microchip symbol on the front, as well as a valid Chinese visa with at least six months of validity and a corresponding residence permit.
Step 2: Ask for an E-Channel application form
The next time you arrive at the immigration area of an international airport, ask duty officers for the application form, which can be submitted at several border offices across China. They'll direct you to the E-Channel registration counter, where you'll be required to fill out a "Biometrics Data Release Authorization" form, which will allow your information to be entered into the system.
The registration process is free of charge. Some Chinese language skills may be required to communicate with the immigration staff and fill out the form*.
Step 3: Complete the application
Once you have the form, the application process is pretty simple. All you have to do is fill out and sign the form, have your photo taken and scan both thumb prints. The information will then be stored in your passport's microchip.
Step 4: Begin using the E-Channel!
Once your registration is complete, you'll be able to use the E-Channel the same day without any further requirements.
Upon arrival at E-Channel terminal, you'll be required to scan your passport photo page. This will open the doors to the E-Channel area. A scan will then be taken of your face and you'll be required to put your thumbs on a fingerprint scanner to confirm your identity. Once that's all complete, the exit doors will open and you'll be able to pass through immigration with minimal hassle.
If any issues arise at the E-Channel, you'll have to go through the normal immigration line.
Should you decide to cancel your E-Channel service for any reason, you'll need to apply for a cancellation form and submit it to the E-Channel Enrollment office. Additional documents may be required as proof of identity.
* As of February 2018, a bilingual English-Chinese form is available at Shanghai Pudong International Airport.
This article was originally published on November 3, 2016. It has been updated and republished on February 22, 2018.