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How do I apply for a Chinese mainland C Visa for foreign crew members?

The Chinese mainland C Visa is issued to foreign crew members (eg. those working on aircraft, trains and ships), or motor vehicle drivers engaged in cross-border transport activities, or to their accompanying family members. For more information about other types of visas for China, see this page.


Application requirements

To apply for a C Visa, the following informaiton must be handed in at your nearest Chinese embassy, consulate or (in some countries) official visa processing center. Your airline company will probably take care of much of this:

  1. Completed visa application form.
  2. One recent passport-size photograph with white or blue background.
  3. Original, signed passport (with at least six months before expiration).
  4. Evidence of previous Chinese visa (if you have previously received a Chinese visa).
  5. Money for visa application fee.
  6. Application letter submitted by the airline or shipping company.
  7. Original copy and photocopy of the applicant’s crew ID. 

Note: Application forms for visas and authentication or notarization can usually all be downloaded from the websites of the Chinese Embassy and Consulate General in your country, or collected from the visa section in person. For example, see this page.



  1. Up to 90 days for single entry.
  2. Up to 180 days for double entry.
  3. Up to 730 days for multiple entry.

Maximum stay per entry in China: 10 days. Two-year crew visas are only available to crew members from United Airlines, American Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, FedEx, and Polar Air Cargo. One-year crew visas are only available to crew members from GE.

Remember that ‘validity’ just means how long you have to attempt to enter China on that visa from the day it is supplied, not how long you can actually spend in the country.


Can I extend my stay on this visa?

Yes, for up to 30 days.


Can I work in China on this visa?



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One Response to How do I apply for a Chinese mainland C Visa for foreign crew members?

  • I can’t travel leisurely with a crew visa to mainland China. Can I apply for L visa while holding a C visa? What are the processes? I have heard many things where we can’t have two visas on one passport to where we just can’t travel on leisure if we have a crew visa. I can’t seem to find an answer to this online, please help a flight attendant out!

    Thanks a bunch,

    Letitia Zhao

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