Are you a Private Jet Operator or an Airline Operation Manager?
Do you know all the China Visa requirements for your flight crew and passengers?
Many countries demand that crews get crew visas; you should always double-check the sort of visa required for entry into the countries where you’re operating to. Issues with crew visas can be avoided with sufficient ahead planning. In general, multiple-entry visas are the recommended choice, especially for those countries you intend to travel to. Many crew members also carry a backup passport as a safety measure. This enables one to apply for visas while also having a backup plan available in case of a last-minute journey.
Operating in China? Here are 5 things business aviation operators should know about flight crew visa requirements
Understanding the need for flight crew visas
While some countries allow members of the aircraft crew to enter without a visa (or with a business visa), many other nations demand particular “crew” permits. For instance, China is quite picky about crew members holding “C”-type visas. If you fly a plane to or from China, and you don’t have a crew visa, you could get fined or deported. How you arrive and leave a nation typically affects how you plan your visa. For example, if you fly into China on a commercial airline and leave as a crew member, you’ll need to arrive with an “L” or “F” type visa and leave with a “C” type visa. By coordinating these criteria in advance with a visa or third-party provider, visa delays can be avoided.
Knowing visa documentation
You must give passport information while asking for crew visas. Additionally, some nations demand photos, an invitation letter, an itinerary, and crew positions (i.e., Captain, Second In Command, etc.). For crew members on duty with crew certificates, such as an Airline Transport Pilot License, For C-type visas for China, you’ll need to provide a letter (on company letterhead) with the aircraft registration, aircraft type, schedule while in China, purpose of flight and crew members’ information.
Being aware of the options for securing visas in advance
You might choose to deal with a visa provider or get flight crew visas straight from an embassy. Directly applying for visas at embassies could take more time, and there will be a physical line-up to provide the necessary paperwork. When filing for multiple-entry visas, we advise having a backup passport to allow for last-minute travel while the primary passport’s visas are being processed. If the primary crew is unable to fly the day of the flight or if a new crew needs to be quickly deployed to another area, it is also a good idea to have visas in place for backup pilots.
Disadvantages and advantages of obtaining visas upon arrival
Some locations offer the option to purchase visas upon arrival. But this takes time and is typically only good for a short time, often just 72 hours. We always advise obtaining visas in advance to avoid last-minute issues and to reduce crew duty hours after the arrival. Additionally, it’s best to confirm with your third-party provider whether it’s possible to get visas on arrival because rules are subject to change at any time. To avoid issues, getting visas before traveling is always a good idea.
Using a third party to arrange flight crew visas on arrival
In some places, third-party providers like iJET Flight support can assist in obtaining visas on arrival by coordinating with local ground handlers. The ground handler will receive the necessary paperwork and apply for the crew’s visas on the crew’s behalf. The amount of time required in advance to set up a visa on arrival varies by location but typically is between 24 and 7 days. Always check the third-party provider’s advance notice requirements and confirm that visas on arrival are available at your desired destination and anticipated time of arrival. Typically, visas are only good for a few days at most. In some cases, the ground handler or third-party supplier may be able to assist crews in extending their visas, but the local airport authorities will have the last say over visas.
The Chinese visa policy outlines the regulations and requirements that foreign citizens from all over the world need to meet to travel to the people’s Republic of China.
The two special administrative regions of China, Hong Kong, and Macau, maintain their own independent border control policies and thus have their own separate visa requirements.
Citizens of most countries or regions in the world need to apply for a visa to enter mainland China, but citizens of some countries can enter China without visas for a limited period of stay if they meet certain conditions.
Tourist Visa Policy for China
To travel to China for tourism purposes, it may be necessary to obtain a visa from an embassy in advance, although some foreign citizens are granted a short visa-free tourist stay.
Depending on their nationality, visa-exempt foreign nationals may visit China visa-free for tourist visits lasting anywhere from 15 to 90 days.
However, according to the current visa policy of China, visitors from more than 220 nations must first get a tourist visa at the nearest Chinese embassy or consulate in their country of residence to visit China for tourism.
To ensure sufficient time for processing and approval, a consular appointment for a Chinese embassy tourist visa should be made well in advance of the desired date of arrival.
It should be emphasized that citizens of Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan cannot directly visit mainland China for tourism using their passports. They must apply for the necessary travel pass unless they will be staying for less than 24 hours at the airport where they are connecting.
Most foreign nationals must get an authorized embassy visa from a Chinese diplomatic post in their home country before they can travel to the People’s Republic of China, regardless of the itinerary or length of their trip.
Depending on the type of Chinese travel document required—a tourist visa, business visa, student visa, work visa, or another visa option—you must bring a variety of supporting papers to the approved visa appointment.
A Chinese embassy visa typically takes 4 to 5 working days to be accepted from the date of submitting an application. However, in some cases, the processing period may take longer, so we advise filing a consular application at least one month before the intended entrance date.
Visa not Required
Currently, people from up to 20 countries can enter China without a visa for varying lengths of time.
Depending on their country, those who enter the People’s Republic of China without a visa may stay for 15, 30, 60, or 90 days.
Citizens of these nations need only show a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the date of entry when passing through Chinese border control to enter China for the allotted period of visa-free stay.
However, all non-Chinese visitors, including visa-exempt nationals and permanent residents of Hong Kong and Macau SAR, who wish to stay in Mainland China for more than 24 hours must register with the local Public Security Bureau upon arrival.
|Belarus||Grenada||San Marino||United Arab Emirates|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Japan||Serbia|
Other visa exemptions
The following travelers are also exempt from a visa for China:
- An international travel service registered in Hainan and authorized by the National Tourism Administration is escorting tourists from more than 20 nations to the province of Hainan.
- If they are going with a tour operator that is legitimately registered in Hong Kong and Macau, foreigners with ordinary passports from nations with whom China has diplomatic ties may enter the Pearl River Delta region of Guangdong without a visa.
- Those who possess a current foreigner residence permit or permanent residency permit.
Visa-Free Transit Regulations for Foreign Travelers to China
If a foreign citizen will only be in the airport for no longer than 24 hours and has a valid connecting ticket with confirmed seating on an overseas flight, they are exempted from needing a visa to transit through China.
If passing through Shanghai and staying no longer than 48 hours, citizens of the following nations are exempt from a visa need. These travelers can depart the airport, but they must fly to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport or Shanghai Pudong International Airport to enter and leave China.
Air travelers from 53 countries are permitted to transit through and spend up to 72 hours (3 days) without a visa in 18 Chinese cities according to the 72 hours visa-free transit policy in China.
24 Schengen Agreement Countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
15 other European countries: Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia (FYROM), Albania, Belarus, Monaco
6 American Countries: the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile.
2 Oceania Countries: Australia, New Zealand
6 Asian Countries: Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Qatar
Cities Enjoying the policy
Harbi, Guilin, Changsha, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Xi’an, Chongqing, Shenyang, Dalian, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Shijiazhuang, Qinhuangdao, Chengdu, Wuhan, Xiamen, Qingdao, Kunming, the whole Guangdong Province – Extended to 144-hour Visa-free Transit.
- Passport that is at least three months valid from the date of entry. It has happened that some travelers have had their immigration requests denied because their passports’ remaining validity is not more than six months. To be safe, it is best to maintain your passport valid for at least six months.
- Visa for a third-party nation or area (if applicable)
- An entirely filled-out Arrival/Departure Card (including name, nationality, passport no., visa no. & issuance place, flight no., the purpose of visit, date of birth, gender)
- A subsequent ticket with a reserved seat is required.
72-Hour Visa-Free Transit differs from 24-Hour Visa-Free Transit.
Direct Transit within 24 hours is available for any nationality passenger and it is applicable to any vehicle, while 72 hours of free transit is only possible for passengers from designated countries and requires transiting in the airport.