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Crew, Resident and Journalist Visa

Crew Visa (C)

Persons arriving as crew on international planes, ships or trains and their family members should apply for it.  Clearly they should obtain information and complete formalities via their employers.

Resident Visa (D)

In summary, the regulations state that a person who has lived 5 years 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) and does not seek foreign permanent residents. Unless you have made massive investments which have generated substantial profit to China and you have good connections with the establishment, it seems 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 who are visiting for short term assignments.  These are rather specialist visas and there are several extra requirements including approvals, invitations from the Chinese media authorities, or itineraries.  There are extra requirements if you want to bring filming equipment into China.  You will find the full details on the application form.

The J-1 is only for 30 days from the date of arrival during which time you and your local organisation must seek a Temporary Residence Permit for the duration of your contract, to a maximum of  5 years.

Basic Requirements

1. A valid passport with a minimum validity of 6 months and at least a blank page
2. One accurately and truthfully completed application form. 

Additional Requirements for C, D, J Visas

1. For Crew C, 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 Resident D, applicants should provide original and copy of the Confirmation form for foreigner's Permanent Residence Status issued by the Ministry of Public Security of the PRC. 
Note: D holders are required to apply for the foreigners' residence permit within 30 days after entry at the exit/entry administration of public security organs under local governments at or above the county level in the proposed place of residence.

3. For J1 or J2, the applicant should go through formalities in accordance with relevant China's regulations or provisions, 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 shall apply for a residence permit within 30 days after entry.  

How to Apply

Usually, the applicant needs to submit application in person and an appointment is required before going. 

Processing Time

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

Visa Fees

Fees are paid when applicants pick up their visas. The means of payment are different at Chinese Embassies or Consulates in Different Countries and Regions. The fee varies according to applicants' nationality and the number of entries. The below table is the fee for application in USA

Entry & Validity American Citizens Citizens of Other Countries
Single Entry for 3 Months USD 185 USD 30
Double Entry for 6 Months USD 185 USD 45
Multiple Entries for 6 Months USD 185 USD 60
Multiple Entries for 1 Year or 2 Year USD 185 USD 90

Further Reading:

8 Tips for Filling Out Chinese Visa Application Form

- Last updated on May. 17, 2023 by Catherine He -
Questions & Answers on Chinese Crew, Resident and Journalist Visa
Asked by mo sharif from CHINA | Feb. 20, 2020 21:11Reply
permanent residence or long term visa?
I am married to a Chinese lady, we both have British nationality. I am working as university lecturer now, we have been in china for the past 6 years continuously.

We wish to stay in china because of her family (parents and brother).

We require long term visa/residence

What are our options?
Answers (1)
Answered by Amanda from CANADA | Feb. 21, 2020 19:21

Well, if you are not over 60, I think you can only apply for a long-term Q visa.
Asked by A Holt from UNITED KINGDOM | Jan. 06, 2020 12:15Reply
Visa type needed?
I am hoping to stay in Hong Kong (Lamma Island) with my daughter and her family as my son in law has been offered a teaching post in Hong Kong; we are all British citizens. The plan is for me to reside (not work) with them for 12 months (they will be staying for at least 2 years). What type of visa will I need to apply for? Will I need to provide bank statements etc too?
A Holt
Answers (1)
Answered by Kerry from USA | Jan. 06, 2020 18:19

If you are elder than 60, you may apply for a dependant visa. Bank statement of your daughter or your son in law will be required.

If you are below 60, I advise you not to apply for the visa. The thing is you need to exit before the 180-day visa-free stay duration ends and then re-enter.
Asked by Matthew Huynh from USA | Nov. 21, 2019 16:22Reply
Long Term Resident Visa (D Visa)
I'm an American citizen in the United States of America applying a D Visa with double entry and valid for 6 months. What's the following required documents through the Chinese embassy or Chinese consulate general abroad to apply D Visa with double entry and valid for 6 months?
Answers (2)
Answered by Danniel from USA | Nov. 21, 2019 19:13

1. Passport
Original signed passport with at least six months of remaining validity and blank visa pages, and a copy of the passport's data page and the photo page if it is separate.

2.Visa Application Form (Form V.2013) and Photo
One completed Visa Application Form with a photo on glossy photo paper glued onto the form (your photo must meet the requirements).

3. The original and photocopy of the Confirmation Form for Foreigners Permanent Residence Status issued by the Ministry of Public Security of China.
Answered by Matthew Huynh from USA | Nov. 21, 2019 19:40

Thank you for the following required documents of D Visa. I just want to save money when I go. However, I don’t want to become Chinese citizen because of dual citizenship is not recognized and even exit ban for years or for life. I can only stay for 5 months as double entry.
Asked by Anne from SINGAPORE | Oct. 23, 2019 18:44Reply
Visa Notification Letter how and where to obtain
I am a Singapore citizen in Singapore applying for a J2 Visa
Answers (1)
Answered by Belle from AUSTRALIA | Oct. 24, 2019 20:05

This official letter should be issued by the media organization for which you will work.
You should contact the press section of the Chinese Embassy/Consulate General or the relevant press authorities in China in advance and complete relevant approval formalities before applying for J2 visa.
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