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2021-08-20  |  

For foreigners who have entered China and want to travel to Beijing from another city, going by train or air may be the most feasible options. For those obtaining a Chinese driving license, going to Beijing by car is another alternative. For those who are unable to drive, this guide will provide useful info on purchasing train and air tickets in China.

I. How to buy airplane tickets

Tickets for air travel can be purchased in China with your passport, or diplomatic identity card issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or foreigner's permanent residence permit. Orders can directly be placed  on the official website of the corresponding airline company by providing the valid document information. When taking a domestic flight, foreign passengers are required to use the same documents used during the whole process including booking, check-in and security check.

II. How to buy train tickets

In China, real-name ticket purchasing is required. Ticket buyers should purchase a ticket with the original or a copy of the passenger's valid identity document. And the passenger should present his or her valid identity documents used for ticket purchasing to enter the station and take the train. In order to comply with the measures for pandemic prevention and control unveiled by local governments, as well as to avoid repeated ticket purchases and refunds, the pre-sale period is now 15 days. There are currently four ways to purchase train tickets as follows.

1. Purchase at ticket windows

Documents that can be used to purchase tickets:

- valid passport

- foreigner's residence permit

- foreigner's entry-exit certificate

- diplomat card

- consular certificate

- foreigners' identity certificate issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

- statement regarding a lost passport issued by the local public security authorities

Operating Hours: 24 hours a day

Methods of payment: When purchasing at the ticket windows:

- pay by cash

- the card issued by the bank which offers POS services

- the card with the UnionPay logo

- make payment via WeChat, Alipay

Please use one bank card to pay for the ticket.

2. Purchase at automatic ticket machines

Documents that can be used to purchase tickets:

- foreign permanent resident ID card

Operation Hours: 24 hours a day

Methods of payment:

- cash

- cards of the banks identified on the machines

- debit and prepaid cards (excluding credit cards) with the UnionPay logo issued by other banks.

Notes: Ticket vending machines only accept cash in denominations such as 5 CNY, 10 CNY, 20 CNY, 50 CNY and 100 CNY. Please use relatively clean paper money and appropriate amount.

3. Book Tickets Over the Phone

Please give a call to China Railway at 95105105 for ticket booking. It only provides Chinese language services.

Identity Documents for Booking Tickets: Foreign permanent resident ID card and /or a valid passport number can be used according to regulations.

Operation Hours: The 95105105 hotline provides services between 05:00 and 23:00 everyday. Tickets for trains that depart in the 4th day after purchasing till the last day of presales period can be purchased.

Payment: Tickets successfully booked before 12:00 should be payed before 12:00 on the next day of booking, while tickets booked after 12:00 should be payed before 24:00 on the next day. With the order number provided by the ticket hotline, passengers can make a payment at any ticket window or train ticket outlet with original valid identity documents.

4. Book Tickets Online

The website and mobile app of China Railway (12306.cn) are convenient ways to buy tickets. The platform also offers an English version, providing services such as registration, login, one-way ticket purchase, ticket change, change of arrival, ticket refunds, and order inquiries.

Identity Documents for Booking Tickets on 12306.cn(Chinese version):

- Foreign permanent resident ID card and

- valid passport that can be used according to regulations

Identity Documents for Booking Tickets on 12306.cn(English version):

Valid passport that can be used according to regulations.

Operating Hours: 12306.cn offers information inquiry services throughout the day, and ticketing service is available between 5:00 and 23:30 everyday.

Payment:12306.cn accepts various payment methods. Apart from payments through banks, Alipay, WeChat, the platform also accepts VISA, MasterCard, JCB, and Diners payments. Prices of tickets on display and under transaction are all measured in CNY, and international payments are accepted by Bank of China.

Notes: For foreign passport users, please fill in the English name the same way it is indicated on the passport. If one's name is over 30 characters, then he or she shall enter 30 consecutive characters starting from the first English character in the name (space and punctuation are not required to entered); case of characters is not distinguishable.