Crew, Resident and Journalist Visa


Crew Visa (C)


The C visa is for those arriving as crew on international planes, ships, or trains and their family members should apply for it. Your employer will normally arrange this for you.


Resident Visa (D)


In theory, the visa rules state that a person who has lived 5 years or more in China (and is a desirable person) may obtain permanent residence status. In practice it seems that very few people are able to achieve this status. China is not an immigrant country (like the USA, Canada, Australia for example) and does not seek permanent foreign residents. Unless you have made significant investments which have been of substantial benefit to China and have good connections with the establishment for example, you are unlikely to succeed.


Journalist Visa (J-1, J-2)


The long stay J1 is for resident journalists, the short stay, J2, is for those visiting on short term assignments. These are rather specialist visas with extra requirements and red tape including approvals, invitations from the Chinese media authorities, and itineraries. There are further requirements if you wish to bring filming equipment into China. Full details can be found on the application form.


The J-1 is only for 30 days from the date of arrival. During this time you must seek a Temporary Residence Permit for the duration of your contract, up to a maximum of 5 years.
1. Application Form with a recently-taken color photo glued to or stapled on.
2. Valid passport and a copy of information page.
3. If the accompanying child on your passport travels with you, the child's photo is also required, and you should declare the situation to the consular officer.


Additional Requirements for C, D, J Visas


1. For C visas, a letter of guarantee issued by the foreign transport company, or the invitation letter issued by the relevant units from China is required.
a. Crew members from following 11 airline companies may apply for multiple entry C valid for two years: United Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, American Airlines, UPS, Federal Express, Polar Air Cargo, Evergreen Air Cargo, Kalitta Air Inc., Southern Air Inc. and World Airways Inc.
b. Non-regular scheduled flight, chartered flight, private plane must get the Aviation Permit before departure.


2. For D visas, applicants should provide the original and copy of the Confirmation form for foreigner's Permanent Residence Status issued by the Ministry of Public Security. Remember that D holders are required to apply for the foreigners' residence permit within 30 days after entry.


3. For J1 or J2, you should go through the formalities in accordance with the relevant regulations, and submit the corresponding application documents. For foreign journalists coming for profession-related purposes such as news coverage, interview or reporting, the Visa Notification Letter issued by the Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of PRC, and official letter signed by the head of the foreign media organization (with details as follows: name list, arrival and departure time, places of interview, content to cover, introduction of the news agency, and name/address/contact number of the news agency) are required. For applications at Chinese embassies or consulates, please contact the Press Section in advance.


Note: J1 holders must apply for a residence permit within 30 days after entry.


How to Apply


You can submit application in person or ask a third party to apply on your behalf.


Processing Time


The normal processing time is 4 working days. Extra fees are charged respectively for rush service (which can be collected on the same working day) and express service (to be collected on the second or third working day after submission).


Visa Fees


Fees are paid when applicants pick up their visas and vary according to applicants' nationality and the number of entries. The below table contains the fees for applications in the U.S.:


Entry & Validity

American Citizens

Citizens of Other Countries

Single Entry for 3 Months

USD 140

USD 30

Double Entry for 6 Months

USD 140

USD 45

Multiple Entries for 6 Months

USD 140

USD 60

Multiple Entries for 1 Year or 2

USD 140

USD 90




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