ABACE 2017 – Operating to Shanghai: Part 2: Permits & Visas

ABACE 2017 – Operating to Shanghai: Part 2: Permits & Visas

This business aviation blog post continues from our article last week, entitled “ABACE 2017 – Operating to Shanghai: Part 1: Airports, Parking & Slots.

This is a post by author Cynthia Zhang. Cynthia serves as Managing Director for Universal Aviation China, which has aircraft ground handling facilities in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Cynthia can be contacted at cynthiazhang@univ-wea.com.

Lead times for obtaining China landing permits are not onerous with requests generally approved within 24 – 48 hours. While slots are provided in conjunction with landing permits be aware that curfews and operating limitations are associated at both Shanghai airports.

If you operating into China for the 2017 Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE) in Shanghai (April 11-13), the following is an overview of what you need to know:

1. Landing permits

For general aviation (GA) operations to China three to four days lead time, ideally, is recommended for landing permits. For operation to Shanghai Hongqiao (ZSSS) during ABACE an invitation letter, or similar documentation from the organizer, is needed for permit approval. While a sponsor letter is no longer required for landing permits to airports of entry (AOEs) in China you’ll need to submit:

  • Certificates of airworthiness and registration
  • Aircraft type and maximum takeoff weight (MTOW)
  • Operator and owner information
  • Flight purpose
  • Number of seats onboard
  • Crew and passenger information
  • Full schedule and routing
  • Crew and passenger information

The Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) operates 0900-1630 local. After hours permit and revision processing is possible for urgent short notice requests.

2. Permit revisions/limitations

While there are no limitations in terms of revisions prior to formal approval of your permit, only two revisions will be processed after you’ve received approval. Be mindful that a single permit application, in and out of China, may not exceed six flight legs within the country.

3. CIQ clearance

At ZSSS, customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) is normally cleared within the fixed-base operator (FBO). In the case of Shanghai Pudong (ZSPD), clearance is accomplished within the main terminal, but passengers and crew do not need to physically go to the terminal. CIQ comes out, collects passports, and inspects the aircraft at ZSPD. Passengers are taken to a VIP lounge where they’ll wait for their passports to be returned, a procedure that typically takes 15-20 minutes. At Hangzhou Xiaoshan (ZSHC), all CIQ activity takes place within the main terminal while at Nanjing Lukou (ZSNJ) passengers usually clear at the FBO while crew clears in the main terminal.

4. Visas

Crew must normally have “C” type visas to operate to China with GA aircraft. The exception is that crew may enter at ZSPD with “F” type business visas or “C” type visas. Passengers must have any required visas prior to arrival unless they’re landing at ZSSS, ZSPD or Beijing (ZBAA) and qualify for 72 hour visa-free entry. To qualify for 72 hour visa-free entry you must fly on to a 3rd-country within the 72 hours. A flight from San Francisco (KSFO) – ZSPD – Singapore Seletar (WSSS) would qualify for 72 hour visa free entry, but a flight from KSFO – ZSPD – Teterboro (KTEB) would not.

5. Hotels and local transport

Hotel options in Shanghai, particularly preferred hotel properties and locations, will be limited during ABACE and should be booked as early as possible. For local transport pre-paid (car with driver) options can be considered along with public taxi and public transport. If you arrive at the ABACE venue by private vehicle and do not have a show pass you’ll need to walk 5-10 minutes to the entrance gate. Alternatively, taking subway line 10 to the Hongqiao Airport Terminal One station will involve a 15 minute walk to the entrance gate.


Once your landing permit is approved you’ll be limited to a maximum of two revisions, so it’s important to use these wisely. We recommend holding back on submitting permit revision requests until you’re sure that schedule will not need to be revised again. Also, be aware of visa requirements and CIQ clearance processes for your destination.

Stay tuned for Part 2, which covers permits, airport slots, and visas when traveling to Shanghai.


If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Shanghai, contact me at cynthiazhang@univ-wea.com.