The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences also voted to give honorary Oscars to British editor Anne V Coates, casting director Lynn Stalmaster and documentary maker Frederick Wiseman.
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs described the recipients as “true pioneers and legends in their crafts”.
They will be honoured at the Academy’s Governors Awards on 12 November.
Chan, 62, has starred in dozens of martial arts films in his native Hong Kong, including Police Story, Armour of God and their various sequels.
He went on to have huge international success with hits like Rumble in the Bronx, animated film Kung Fu Panda and the Rush Hour franchise.
In addition to starring and performing his own stunts, Chan has written, directed, produced and choreographed many of his films.
According to the Academy, he has spent four decades “charming audiences with his dazzling athleticism, inventive stunt work and boundless charisma”.
The star posted a message on Facebook thanking his family, his fans and the Academy.
‘Making an action movie isn’t easy’
“I’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to the Oscars for giving me this award of encouragement and recognising my achievements while I’m still ‘young’,” he wrote.
“I’m absolutely honoured to be the first Chinese in history to receive this award.
“To be honest, making an action movie isn’t easy. It’s normal for us to get hurt and bleed. Many of us have sustained a body full of injuries and I’m no exception to the case.
“That’s why I’d like to share this honour with my brothers of the JC Stunt Team who have been with me through good times and bad times over the many years, and I’d like to share this award with every action movie star from all over the world!”
Chan, who has never been nominated for a competitive Academy Award, added that he had set himself a goal that the honorary statuette “won’t be my last one”.
“I don’t think the Oscars have a rule where you can’t win another golden statue after receiving an honorary award, right?” he continued.
Born in Reigate in Surrey in 1925, Anne V Coates has spent more than 60 years as a film editor and won an Oscar for her work on 1962’s Lawrence of Arabia.
Now 90, she recently worked on Fifty Shades of Grey, the successful film version of EL James’s racy international best-seller.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1927, Lynn Stalmaster has had a hand in casting more than 200 feature films, including The Graduate and Deliverance.
Frederick Wiseman, meanwhile, has made almost a film a year since 1967, among them his three-hour 2014 epic about the National Gallery in London.
The honorary awards are intended to celebrate “extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy”.
Film-maker Spike Lee and actress Gena Rowlands were among the recipients of last year’s special statuettes.