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Flight Crews And Visa Requirements  
User currently offlineJAGflyer From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 3494 posts, RR: 4
Posted (4 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 19403 times:

Sitting at the airport today, I started to wonder how airlines deal with flight crews who fly to countries requiring visas for entrance. Take for example an airline like Lufthansa or KLM who fly to many different countries worldwide. Do they take care of getting all the required visas for their crews when they overnight in another country? Do flight crews require visas to enter a country since they have a pre-determined date of entry and exit and their stays are not usually longer than a few days?


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42 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAirTran737 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3702 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (4 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 19403 times:
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Quoting JAGflyer (Thread starter):

Most places allow us to enter and depart on a GENDEC, others will require us to get a visa. The ground handler will coordinate the visas for us, and it is usually a streamlined process. The one place that was a pain was Libya. We got caught in a sandstorm, and they weren't too happy about five Americans spending 8 hours in a hotel there. They took our passports, crew ID's, and posted a guard outside of our rooms to make sure we stayed in them.

[Edited 2009-12-03 21:32:39]


Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
User currently offlineEoinnz From New Zealand, joined Jul 2003, 226 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 19405 times:

At Qantas crew require a crew visa for the USA - I imagine it is the same for all other foreign carriers as well

All other Qantas ports no additional visas are required even in ports like China for example where I would need a visa if I was there on personal travel.


User currently offlineHotelmode From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2007, 460 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (4 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 19191 times:

As above the only country worldwide we serve that requires a visa for crew is the US.

User currently offlinePITrules From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 3120 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (4 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 19184 times:

China, India, Brazil, and Australia (Australia via ETA - Electronic Travel Authority) require visas of US crews; this is normally handled by the airlines' flight ops admin folks, not the crews themselves.

[Edited 2009-12-04 00:18:26]


FLYi
User currently offlineEDICHC From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (4 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 19138 times:



Quoting PITrules (Reply 4):
Australia (Australia via ETA - Electronic Travel Authority)

ETA's for visiting Oz have now been replaced by the eVisitor visa.


User currently offlineSeaMeFly From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 317 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (4 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 19115 times:

that's the reason why you have to be a resident or citizen of the country where the airline is from before they can hire you. And it'll be easier for the airline to apply for the visas for their employees.

In some countries like the US and France they call it "Air Pass" .... basically work visa for the airliners.


User currently offlineLMML 14/32 From Malta, joined Jan 2001, 2565 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (4 years 7 months 3 weeks ago) and read 19052 times:



Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 1):
The one place that was a pain was Libya

Indeed. Even for our short turnaround hop to Libya we need an Arabic translation stamp on our passport. This was an inconvenience when entering the US. Therefore most of us held two passports - one with the Arabic translation for work and another to travel nonrev. For other countries as has been said the GENDEC normally sufficed. But I have had my passport stampted in Russia even for a turnaround flight.


User currently offlineOswegobag From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 169 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 18809 times:



Quoting SeaMeFly (Reply 6):
that's the reason why you have to be a resident or citizen of the country where the airline is from before they can hire you. And it'll be easier for the airline to apply for the visas for their employees.

What about an employee that is a resident of Country A and a citizen of Country B? What if citizens of Country A do not require a visa for entry but citizens of Country B do require a visa and both are part of the same crew?


User currently offlineFxramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 7180 posts, RR: 86
Reply 9, posted (4 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 18743 times:
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AA shelled out $500+ each for crew visas to Russia only to have DME fail.  no 

User currently offlineSeaMeFly From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 317 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (4 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 18743 times:



Quoting Oswegobag (Reply 8):
What about an employee that is a resident of Country A and a citizen of Country B? What if citizens of Country A do not require a visa for entry but citizens of Country B do require a visa and both are part of the same crew?

Many of my colleagues are Japanese citizens but they hold US green-cards. For them, to fly to Paris, while all the other US citizenship holders need a working visa for France, they are exempt.

Just one of the many examples.


User currently offlineDispatchguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 1249 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (4 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 18710 times:

Like someone else said, China is a country which requires a specific Visa Classification for US Aircrew. I think a USA crew needs a class C visa (which indicates a crewmember). Note that, for the PRC, if a crewmember was going to go to China on pleasure travel, they would also need a Tourist Visa as well.

Quoting PITrules (Reply 4):
this is normally handled by the airlines' flight ops admin folks, not the crews themselves.

Sort of, at most US carriers, the airline will issue a letter on their letterhead stating the crewmember's need of the crew visa - either by their chief pilots office or inflight base office for flight attendants; the crewmember will turn their visa app, the airline letter, the fee, and their passport into the visa office of the issuing country. The crewmember will expense the visa and be reimbursed by their carrier.

France also requires specific crew visas for American citizen crewmembers on a US Passport.



Nobody screws you better than an airline job!
User currently offlineYellowtail From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 6037 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (4 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 18659 times:

Well here BZE...the crew just walk off the aircraft....walk right though immigration and customs like they own the place...no checks..back through security and into the duty free. Apparantly BZE is a popular duty free stop for the AA/DL/CO/US crews due to ease they can access the store and the prices. Big grin

Saw one AA F/O yesterday loading up on cigs.



When in doubt, hold on to your altitude. No-one has ever collided with the sky.
User currently offlineOswegobag From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 169 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (4 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 18587 times:

Stupid Question:

If some countries require crew members to obtain visas, how do they all fit in the passport? It would seem to me that there are not enough pages for all the visas that would be required.

Or do the visas not expire?


User currently offlineEoinnz From New Zealand, joined Jul 2003, 226 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (4 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 18504 times:



Quoting Oswegobag (Reply 13):
If some countries require crew members to obtain visas, how do they all fit in the passport? It would seem to me that there are not enough pages for all the visas that would be required.

Most countries don't require crew to have a visa. I would say at most any given crew member has 1 visa. My passport has 48 pages so nothing to worry about there.

Quoting Oswegobag (Reply 8):
What about an employee that is a resident of Country A and a citizen of Country B? What if citizens of Country A do not require a visa for entry but citizens of Country B do require a visa and both are part of the same crew?

To my knowledge no country requires different visas for different crew members. Also if one is unable to travel to a certain country without hindrance, then they probably wouldn't be hired as a crew member.

When we enter as crew we are generally exempt from any entry requirements that normally apply. Again I refer to China. When I enter as crew they take my passport stamp it and I'm done - easy - if going on a holiday however I'd have to apply for a visa before I leave etc..

In some countries like the UK or South Africa, they don't even look at our passports.


User currently offlineFlyboy_se From Qatar, joined Feb 2000, 802 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (4 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 18482 times:



Quoting Oswegobag (Reply 13):
Stupid Question:

If some countries require crew members to obtain visas, how do they all fit in the passport? It would seem to me that there are not enough pages for all the visas that would be required.

Or do the visas not expire?

Usuaully crew visas are valid for few years.And at usually only US requires a crew visa, so not so much space taken.Also at many airports, crew enter on GENDEC ( general declaration) where all passport info and expiry date is listed,so no need to show passport.Plus crew passports are usually not stamped.



Let´s fly away
User currently offlineAirTran737 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3702 posts, RR: 12
Reply 16, posted (4 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 18374 times:
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Quoting Oswegobag (Reply 13):
If some countries require crew members to obtain visas, how do they all fit in the passport? It would seem to me that there are not enough pages for all the visas that would be required.

You get a big passport. I got one issued that had 50 pages in it, and when I filled them up I went to the embassy in BOG and had them insert three more sets of pages. That should last me a couple more years. Thankfully Germany just lets us use a piece of paper issued by the police, so that saves room. I have about 32 stamps on my German sheet, and frankly it would get old having so many LEJ stamps in the passport.



Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
User currently offlinePITrules From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 3120 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (4 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 18311 times:

Quoting Dispatchguy (Reply 11):
Sort of, at most US carriers, the airline will issue a letter on their letterhead stating the crewmember's need of the crew visa - either by their chief pilots office or inflight base office for flight attendants; the crewmember will turn their visa app, the airline letter, the fee, and their passport into the visa office of the issuing country. The crewmember will expense the visa and be reimbursed by their carrier.

I guess I got lucky as I didn't have to deal with all that. When hired at my current company they collected our passports during training. We got them back about a week later with all the required visas.

[Edited 2009-12-04 12:47:48]


FLYi
User currently offlineJimbobjoe From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 653 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (4 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 18084 times:



Quoting Oswegobag (Reply 13):
It would seem to me that there are not enough pages for all the visas that would be required.

As AirTran737 noted, you can have more pages added.

It's easy because the passport is stitched together. They pull apart the stitchings, add pages, and restitch it together.

There are some heavy world travellers out there who run into this issue.

Though I've had Indian friends who had an interesting problem...their passports would expire but they still have valid visas inside of them. So the old passport would simply get stapled into the new one.

Which was, for lack of a better term, hideous.


User currently offlineTravelExec From Spain, joined Dec 2007, 449 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (4 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 18034 times:



Quoting Oswegobag (Reply 8):

What about an employee that is a resident of Country A and a citizen of Country B? What if citizens of Country A do not require a visa for entry but citizens of Country B do require a visa and both are part of the same crew?

I do not know if there are different rules for crew, but if you are a merely a resident of a country, you do not hold its passport so you are bound by the visa requirements for citizenship of Country B in your example.


User currently offlineLufthansa411 From Germany, joined Jan 2008, 692 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (4 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 17932 times:

I remember a couple of years ago during a strike at LH, I was talking to an LH A300 crew in BOS. The crew mentioned that only "left seaters" had US visas and were able to fly to BOS, meaning on the days during the strike where a A300 was sent to BOS there were two Captains, as opposed to the normal Captain and First Officer.


Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood.
User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11610 posts, RR: 60
Reply 21, posted (4 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 17905 times:



Quoting Jimbobjoe (Reply 18):
As AirTran737 noted, you can have more pages added.

It's easy because the passport is stitched together. They pull apart the stitchings, add pages, and restitch it together.

I know the UK has now stopped this as I wanted to get some extra pages added - you have to get a new passport issued instead now. It's an annoying catch 22 situation, I have 5 blank pages left, but on a trip I was looking at taking I needed 6 or 7 blank pages for visas, but because I still had blank pages left the passport agency were getting shitty about issueing me with a new one. Plus they charge you full whack, about £100, for a completely new passport.


Dan  Smile



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlineCorey07850 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2525 posts, RR: 5
Reply 22, posted (4 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 17905 times:



Quoting PITrules (Reply 4):
China, India, Brazil, and Australia (Australia via ETA - Electronic Travel Authority) require visas of US crews;

Add Russia to that list. Although at some airports they are available on arrival. Brazil doesn't require them for pilots any more, just flight attendants (speaking strictly of a corporate flight department, airlines might be different)

Quoting Oswegobag (Reply 13):

If some countries require crew members to obtain visas, how do they all fit in the passport? It would seem to me that there are not enough pages for all the visas that would be required.

Pages fill up quick, it's rare that I have seen a crewmember's passport make it the full 10 years. You are also able to get extra pages added to your current passport, and all of our crewmembers have secondary limited passports (2 year validity) which also helps. Canadians have it rough because they cannot get a secondary passport and their primary passports are good for 5 years.


User currently offlineQqflyboy From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2264 posts, RR: 13
Reply 23, posted (4 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 17799 times:

For AA crews, the only layover we have that requires a visa is China. There used to be a French visa requirement for US citizen flight crews, but this recently ended. Visas were required for DME, and as FXramper noted, they cost AA about $500 per crew member. However, only about 300 flight attendants based at ORD actually had the Russian visa, so while still expensive AA didn't get visas for all 17,000 flight attendants.

In most instances, countries that require visas don't require them of crew, provided their stay is limited. Brazil is one such example. Japan issues shore passes to crew which limits where we can go to the vacinity around Narita. The shore pass actually prohibits us from entering Tokyo itself.

On a side note, during the 1993 flight attendant strike at AA, American CEO Robert Crandal contacted Brazillian authorities and informed them the crewmembers laying over in their country were no longer employees, and therefore no longer on company business. This would put crew there illegally, since they didn't have visas. Fortunately for the crewmembers stuck there, the Brazilian authorities didn't buy it, and in fact then national carrier Varig supported the flight attendants, bringing food to the stranded crews.



The views expressed are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect my employer’s views.
User currently offlineDispatchguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 1249 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (4 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 17739 times:



Quoting Qqflyboy (Reply 23):
American CEO Robert Crandal contacted Brazillian authorities and informed them the crewmembers laying over in their country were no longer employees, and therefore no longer on company business.

That sounds like something a Lorenzo would do - what an asshole....



Nobody screws you better than an airline job!
25 Lowrider : Most of the time, if the visa is not available on arrival (China is one example) you get your visas at company expense prior to leaving on your trip.
26 HAMAD : True. Here at emirates, as of now, all countries don't require visa's except the USA (to my knowledge). the USA will require a D-1 Visa Category (Cre
27 HAMAD : same with us here in the United Arab Emirates, our passports are good for 5 years. mine is filling up actually... i have two visas for canada, US vis
28 Bellerophon : JAGflyer ...I started to wonder how airlines deal with flight crews who fly to countries requiring visas for entrance...do flight crews require visas
29 AirNz : Such an example would have neither relevance, or foundation, whatever. Immigration control is determined by the country you hold citizenship of.
30 T8KE0FF : I fear for airlines that pride them selves on multi-cultral cabin crew doing all of that admin!
31 Viscount724 : Many airlines have multi-cultural crews but they happen to be citizens of the airline's home country. AC requires that flight attendants be Canadian
32 MilesDependent : I think he is referring to the likes of EK, QR, GF etc which have crews from all around the world who are not citizens of a GCC country
33 Lfutia : What if you already have a country's visa? Like for instance, my Indian visa doesnt expire until 2013. Leo
34 BAStew : I fly all BA longhaul routes and only have one visa in my passport - the USA. Passport/immigration requirements vary in how strict they are. We are lu
35 Readytotaxi : I guess that like everyone has said above, there is no simple answer to this.
36 Dutchflyboi : ... there are plenty of countries that require visas for crew. China is one of them for US Crew members. Not true. For example, if you hold an US Res
37 ACFA : Interesting, the US certainly doesn't require a Visa for Canadian crew, as I don't have one.
38 Gigneil : Not anymore. You no longer require a crew visa to work from the US to France, at least not as cabin crew. NS
39 SeaMeFly : Working visa is totally different than if you're just visiting the country as a tourist. You can't work in the particular country with a tourist visa
40 ACFA : We don't need a Crew Visa for China as long as we hold a Canadian Passport. We enter on the GENDEC. Interesting to see how different procedures apply
41 Jfidler : I have had a book of pages added to my US passport many times (I travel a lot, but I don't work in the airline industry). Every time I've had it done
42 Viscount724 : Many countries (for example Canada) don't permit pages to be added to passports. You have to obtain a new one when you run out of pages. I expect the
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