To work legally as an English teacher in China you need to have a ‘Z’ work visa. All of our partner schools are licensed to provide ‘Z’ work visas for their teachers and will handle the application paperwork for you, enabling you to then apply for your visa in your home country.
Chinese Work Visas – The Application Process
The requirements do vary slightly from province to province, however generally speaking the China visa application process works as follows:
Once you have been offered and have accepted a job teaching English with a school in China you will be asked to provide their HR Department with a colour scanned copy of your passport, degree certificate, TEFL/ TESOL certificate, résumé/CV, criminal record check, recent photo, and a reference letter from a previous employer. On occasion, a medical check will also be required.
In line with regulations implemented in 2017, the degree certificate and criminal record check (and sometimes TEFL/ TESOL certificate) will have to be notarized/ authenticated. Remember that this process will take a minimum of 2-3 weeks to complete.
Ensure that you inform your future employer of where you will be submitting your work visa application – for example, the Visa for China Centre in London, UK.
Over the following weeks the school will complete all the necessary application paperwork needed for the visa. Typically this process can take between 21-28 working days, depending on the province.
Once this has been completed, the provincial visa office will issue an official invitation letter and work permit, which your school will send to you both electronically and hard copy to your home address via a courier such as DHL.
Please review your country’s Chinese embassy website to download the visa application form and up-to-date country-specific information.
You should then take this invitation letter and work permit, along with your passport (valid for at least 6 months), completed visa application form and passport photo to your nearest Visa for China centre or Chinese Embassy/Consulate. In some countries, the application can be made by post, and sent via recorded delivery.
The temporary z visa, valid for 30 days, is usually processed within 3 – 7 days depending on the service you opted for. Postal services can take up to 10 working days to process and return.
Once you’re in China your school will assist you in converting your temporary visa into a Residence Permit. This process may take between 2 to 6 weeks during which you will not have your passport, therefore we suggest you make a few high quality copies of it before it’s out of your possession.
The government also requires you to undertake a full health check. Even if you have already done one back in your home country, in some cases you will be made to do it again once in China.
Registering With the Police
Before and after your school applies for the Residence Permit you will need to register with your local police station in China.
Again, you’ll need your passport for this, and a copy of your apartment lease if necessary. They will provide you with a Registration Form of Temporary Residence. Failure to get this document may result in fines, so it is important that the police registration is done.