Visa requirements for crew members

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Visa requirements for crew members are administrative entry restrictions imposed by countries on members of the crew during transit or turnaround.

These requirements for permission to enter a territory for a short duration and perform their predefined duties in the given areas are distinct from actual formal permission for an alien to enter and remain in a territory.

The validity of transit visas for crew members are usually limited to short terms such as several hours to 10 days depending on the size of the country and the circumstances. Visa policies for crew members are set by the country and apply during transit or when joining the vessel or aircraft. It is usually illegal for crew members to perform repairs or do similar work without work permits when either in port, or when travelling in territorial waters. A few countries offer a visa waiver program or do not issue a crew visa, but allow entry for a limited time with mandatory clearance documents.


An application for a crew visa in advance of arrival may afford non-citizens clearance to enter a country and to remain there within specified constraints and regions without a prohibition on employment. They are usually required to enter or exit the country with the aircraft, train or ship they work with.[1] Many countries require crew to obtain relevant crew visas, so crew often carry second passports allowing the first to be submitted for visas, while the second passport is a backup held ready in case of a trip at short notice. Crew can obtain visas directly from embassies; however, many companies have a 3rd-party provider that shorten the application process for multi-entry visas. Pilots, seamen, air hostesses, flight attendants, stewards, or employees on board a ship whose services is required for normal operation.

Visa requirements[edit]

Country Visa requirement Notes
 Australia Visa required Australia offers a Transit visa, Subclass 771 that crew member and their dependents transit through the country for 72 hours.[2] The crew members are also required to produce a police certificate from each country they have lived in for 12 months or more during the last 10 years after turning to 16 years of age.[3]
 Brazil Visa not required[4] A transit visa is not required through Rio de Janeiro Galeao International or Sao Paulo Guarulhos. The crew member must carry a valid passport with a validity of at least 6 months with 2 blank visa pages and all necessary documents for the next destination.[5]
 Canada Visa not required Flight crew flying into Canada while on duty do not require a visa- or an eTA, in case of visa-exempt nationalities other than the US- to enter the country.[6] The length of stay for commercial aircrew is a maximum of 48 hours.
 China Visa required A crew member employed on board in China needs a crew visa, C Visa.[7] The visa is issued to foreign crew members and their family members engaged in cross-border transport activities. They are required to enter into or exit from China with the aircraft, train or ship they are crew for. They are required to complete one visa application form V.2013 per person, and produce their actual passport, photograph, an introduction letter from the employer on business letterhead, a copy of employee ID and other relevant documents. A five-year multiple-entry visa is only issued to US passport holders. Otherwise, the multiple entry visa is valid for a period of 2 years.[8]
 France Visa required Visa on arrival if holding a valid visa or permanent resident card for the US or Canada. France has free visa policy for all countries except Albania, Mongolia, Belize, Samoa, Bhutan, St Kitts & Nevis, Dominica, Tuvalu, Hong Kong, Israel and United States of America. The crew members from these countries require a circulation visa valid for one year and American and Israeli crew members visa is valid for five years with respect to reciprocity. During the time of application, the passport validity must exceed by at least 3 months.[9]
 Germany Visa required The crew member who has Schengen visa is free to transit from Germany. The German Embassy can receive visa applications from accredited shipping agencies and airlines, where crew member need has to establish his identity as a traveler and declare the purpose of his visit.[10]
 India Visa required[11] The Embassy of India does not issue a crew visa directly, however it is issued by Indian missions and posts. Pilots and crew members are required to needing prior clearance from authorities in India which includes, landing permit issued by the DGCA, ICAO issued by the FAA, Certificate of Incorporation of the airline or cargo operator, Letter of Invitation, business letter and address proof.[12] A landing permit facility, up to a maximum of 72 hours, can be given to a foreigner who enters India by Air or Sea, without a valid visa, under emergent condition connected with or relevant to an event or action.[13]
 Indonesia Visa not required Passport holders from Visa free countries who wish to enter Indonesia for the transit can do so without visa through all air, sea or land crossing points.
 Japan Visa required The crew members are required to present a business letter from their company mentioning purpose of the trip, a financial guarantee statement, specify applicant's position, annual salary and employment term. A letter of invitation from the Japan’s company office is also required to visit in Japan.[14]
 Sri Lanka Visa not required Crew members of flights & ships do not require a visa in Sri Lanka. It offers free visa policy to the crew members for all countries.[15]
 United States Visa required[16] A crew member serving on board in the United States needs a crew visa C-1, D, C1/D or a modified B-1 visa. To apply for a crew visa, the crew members must demonstrate purpose of your trip is solely for transit or crew purposes, not to be paid by a U.S. source, stay for a limited period of time and evidence of funds to cover all expenses during the stay.[17]
 United Kingdom Visa required[18] UK Visas and Immigration department offers CRM01 for seafarers and CRM02 for Aircrew. The immigration act 1971 cover seafarers under Section 8(1) and aircrew under Section 33(1).[19] The aircrew members must have a valid passport, authorized crew member certificate or a pilot’s licence.[20] The security guards, trainee crew members and loadmasters in the country are not considered as operating crew and they need applicable visa to work as a crew.[21] EEA nationals coming on a short term visit are not subject to restrictions, they need only either a National Identity Card or a passport.
 Vietnam Visa not required The Embassy of Vietnam also does not issue a crew visa, the crew member needs to provide a letter on the company letterhead describing the purpose of their trip, dates of entry and exit and providing a financial guarantee, signed by a company representative.[22] Vietnam has visa exemptions policy for the flight crew members of 12 countries including United States, Qatar, Uzbekistan, Japan, Australia, Russia, Hong Kong, South Korea, France, Kazakhstan, Poland and Luxembourg.[23] The Visa exemption policy for flight crew members was first put into force in 2002.

Non-visa restrictions[edit]

Passport validity length[edit]

In the absence of specific bilateral agreements, countries requiring passports to be valid at least 6 months on arrival include Afghanistan, Algeria, Anguilla, Bahrain,[24] Bhutan, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Curaçao, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gabon, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel,[25] Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Laos, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu, Venezuela and Vietnam.[26]

Turkey requires passports to be valid for at least 150 days upon entry.

Countries requiring passports valid for at least 4 months on arrival include Micronesia and Zambia.

Countries requiring passports valid for at least 3 months beyond the period of intended stay include European Union countries (except the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland (and always excepting EU/EEA/Swiss nationals), Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Nauru, Moldova, New Zealand and 3 months validity on arrival in Albania, Honduras, Macedonia, Panama, Qatar and Senegal.

Bermuda requires passports to be valid for at least 45 days upon entry.

Countries that require a passport validity of at least one month beyond the period of intended stay include Eritrea, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Macau and South Africa.

Other countries require either a passport valid on arrival or a passport valid throughout the period of the intended stay. Some countries have bilateral agreements with other countries to shorten the period of passport validity required for each other's citizens[27][28] or even accept passports that have already expired (but not been cancelled).[29]

Blank passport pages[edit]

Many countries require a minimum number of blank pages in the passport being presented, generally one or two pages.[30] Endorsement pages, which often appear after the visa pages, are not counted as being available.


An International Certificate of Vaccination required to prove that someone has been vaccinated against yellow fever

Many African countries, including Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Zambia, require all incoming passengers to have a current International Certificate of Vaccination.

Some other countries require vaccination only if the passenger is coming from an infected area or has recently visited one.[31]

Israeli stamps[edit]

Israeli border control Entry Permit (issued as a stand-alone document rather than a stamp affixed in a passport)

Kuwait,[32] Lebanon,[33] Libya,[34] Saudi Arabia,[35] Sudan,[36] Syria[37] and Yemen[38] do not allow entry to people with passport stamps from Israel or whose passports have either a used or an unused Israeli visa, or where there is evidence of previous travel to Israel such as entry or exit stamps from neighbouring border posts in transit countries such as Jordan and Egypt.

To circumvent this Arab League boycott of Israel, the Israeli immigration services have now mostly ceased to stamp foreign nationals' passports on either entry to or exit from Israel. Since 15 January 2013, Israel no longer stamps foreign passports at Ben Gurion Airport, giving passengers a card instead that reads: "Since January 2013 a pilot scheme has been introduced whereby visitors are given an entry card instead of an entry stamp on arrival. You should keep this card with your passport until you leave. This is evidence of your legal entry into Israel and may be required, particularly at any crossing points into the Occupied Palestinian Territories." [39] Passports are still (as of 22 June 2017) stamped at Erez when travelling into and out of Gaza. Also, passports are still stamped (as of 22 June 2017) at the Jordan Valley/Sheikh Hussein and Yitzhak Rabin/Arava land borders with Jordan.

Iran refuses admission to holders of passports containing an Israeli visa or stamp that is less than 12 months old.

Armenian ethnicity[edit]

Due to a state of war existing between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the government of Azerbaijan not only bans entry of citizens from Armenia, but also all citizens and nationals of any other country who are of Armenian descent, to the Republic of Azerbaijan[40][41] (although there have been exceptions, notably for Armenia's participation at the 2015 European Games held in Azerbaijan).

Azerbaijan also strictly bans any visit by foreign citizens to the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh[42] (the de facto independent Republic of Artsakh), its surrounding territories and the Azerbaijani exclaves of Karki, Yuxarı Əskipara, Barxudarlı and Sofulu which are de jure part of Azerbaijan but under control of Armenia, without the prior consent of the government of Azerbaijan. Foreign citizens who enter these occupied territories will be permanently banned from entering the Republic of Azerbaijan[43] and will be included in their "list of personae non gratae".[44] As of April 2018 the list contains 710 persons.

Upon request, the authorities of the largely unrecognized Republic of Artsakh may attach their visa and/or stamps to a separate piece of paper in order to avoid detection of travel to their country.

Criminal record[edit]

Some countries (for example: Australia, Canada, Fiji, New Zealand and the United States [45]) routinely deny entry to non-citizens who have a criminal record.

Persona non grata[edit]

The government of a country can declare a diplomat persona non grata, banning their entry into that country. In non-diplomatic use, the authorities of a country may also declare a foreigner persona non grata permanently or temporarily, usually because of unlawful activity. Attempts to enter the Gaza strip by sea may attract a 10-year ban on entering Israel.[46]


Iris recognition biometric systems apply mathematical pattern-recognition techniques to images of the irises of an individual's eyes.

Several countries mandate that all travellers, or all foreign travellers, be fingerprinted on arrival and will refuse admission to or even arrest those travellers that refuse to comply. In some countries, such as the United States, this may apply even to transit passengers who merely wish to quickly change planes rather than go landside.[47]

Fingerprinting countries include Afghanistan,[48][49] Argentina,[50] Brunei, Cambodia,[51] China when entering through Shenzhen airport,[52] Ethiopia,[53] Ghana, India, Japan,[54][55] Malaysia upon entry and departure,[56] Paraguay, Saudi Arabia,[57] Singapore, South Korea,[58] and Taiwan.[59]

Additionally, the United Arab Emirates conducts iris scanning on visitors that need to apply for a visa.[60][61]


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  47. ^ Calder, Simon (24 April 2017). "Airline lobbying for a relaxation of draconian rules for London-Auckland travellers". The Independent. Retrieved 7 July 2018. Travellers heading west from the UK to New Zealand may soon be able to avoid the onerous requirement to clear US border control during the refuelling stop at Los Angeles airport (LAX). Unlike almost every other country in the world, the US insists on a full immigration check even for travellers who simply intend to re-board their plane to continue onwards to a foreign destination. Air New Zealand, which flies daily from Heathrow via Los Angeles to Auckland, says there are currently “strict requirements for travellers” in transit at LAX. Through passengers to Auckland on flight NZ1 or Heathrow on NZ2 must apply in advance for an ESTA (online visa) even though they have no intention of staying in the US. They also have to undergo screening by the Transportation Security Administration. 
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