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China Z -Visa

Listen to this video which explains it very well

The Process for Z Visa for China

A work visa is required for persons wanting to work in China for pay. It is only granted if you and the employer meet certain requirements.  First, the organisation must be accredited to employ foreigners.

You must meet the requirements as a 'foreign expert' and the employer must obtain a certificate stating that you comply.
  1. The most common employment is teaching English for which the minimum qualifications are stated as having English as a first language and having at least a Bachelors degree and two years teaching experience.
  2. The age limit for male applicants is 24 - 65, and 24 - 55 for female applicants.
However, there is some flexibility in these requirements so if you can find a willing employer they still have a chance of obtaining approval for you. 

1. Here’s an overview of how the process will work:
  1. You will receive an offer letter & a sample contract (4-6 months before arrival to China)
  2. Send your visa documents to the school (if you haven’t already) / Apply for passport (immediately after receiving offer)
  3. The school will apply for your Chinese work permit & invitation letter (2-4 months before arrival in China)
  4. Preparation for departure (2+ months before arrival)
  5. Your Chinese work permit & invitation letter will be sent to you and used to secure a Z visa in your home country / Purchase airfare (3 – 8 weeks before arrival)
  6. Depart for China
  7. Upon Arrival: Sign Chinese employment contract / Health check / Secure residence permit Now let’s cover each item in more detail:
  8. You will receive an offer letter & a sample contract (4-6 months before arrival to China)
At this point, you’ve likely received your official offer letter from the school. The offer letter outlines the key terms of the contract. Your signature on this letter is a commitment to honoring the terms of the contract and a commitment from the employer that the position is yours.
The sample contract is exactly the same as the contract you will sign when you arrive. If you have any questions about the terms in the contract, now is the time to ask. You are sent a sample contract rather than your actual contract because Chinese law stipulates that you need to sign the contract in person upon arrival.

2. Send your visa documents to the school / Apply for passport (immediately after receiving offer)
As part of your application, you’ve likely sent the school your visa/employment documents but if anything from this list is missing, you’ll need to supply it ASAP. This includes electronic copies of:
  • Resume/CV (with detailed starting and ending time, eg. 1999.12~2003.02)
  • Diploma(s) (if not in English originally, please provide an English translation)
  • Transcripts
  • Teaching License
  • Recent photo (passport photo headshot with a white background)
  • Passport (information page)
  • Reference letter(s) covering at least the last 3 years of employment
  • It’s important that these reference letters are on letterhead and include contact information for the referee along with a signature.
  • Criminal background check/Police record and Letter of commitment (we will send to you by email)
  • Health Confirmation issued by foreign Health and Medical Institutions (we will send to you by email)
  • Working contract (government version required for Foreign Expert Card Processing) with signatures (we will send to you by email).
  • Decide which city/country’s Chinese Consulate you are going for your working visa
If traveling with dependents or spouse you’ll need to provide documents for them as well, this includes:
  • Passport copies
  • Marriage certificate (husband/wife)
  • Birth certificates (children)
If you’ve ever been employed in China within two years or are transferring your existing work visa to the new school, you’ll need to provide:
  • Release letter and recommendation letter from your previous employer. This ensures you’ve formally been released from any contract you had with them.
  • Cancellation letter for your Foreign Expert Certificate.
  • You can get both of these from the HR department at your previous employer
  • If you’ve held a Chinese work permit in the past but not now, you’ll likely still need to provide the cancellation letter from your most recent contract.
  • Passport (visa page)
If you don’t already have a passport, you need to apply for one ASAP and likely pay the rush processing fee.
China requires a criminal background check as part of the visa application. You can get a copy of yours at the local or state police station.
3. The school will apply for your Chinese work permit & invitation letter (2-4 months before arrival in China)
Using the documents you’ve provided, the school will now apply for your Z (work) visa and invitation letter to enter China. The Z (work) visa is a bridge visa which allows you entrance into the country and time for the school to convert it into an actual residence permit & foreign expert certificate. This may sound complicated but it’s really not and most everything will happen behind the scenes.
If traveling with family, their visas will be processed at the same time as yours. The process is exactly the same except they will be issued an S (dependent or spousal) visa.
Because of the length of validity of the employment documents and your Z visa, this application cannot begin earlier than 4 months before your arrival. Your job at this point is to be patient and wait because the application process takes at least 4 – 8 weeks.
This waiting period is often one of the most uncomfortable parts of the process. Remember, just be patient and enjoy this time before your big journey to Asia!
As stated in your offer letter, your employment is subject to being able to obtain a work visa. Because your employment documents have already been reviewed, there is a 99.9% chance that your visa will be approved.
4. Preparation for departure (2+ months before arrival)
Now is the time to start tying up loose ends and really preparing for your big trip. You’ll want to evaluate what items you plan to store and what to sell. Storage fees for 2+ years can really add up, so we suggest to only keep what you absolutely need to.
Most expats only bring with them what they can fit into suitcases as the cost of shipping is often many times more expensive than purchasing new items upon arrival. In addition, apartments in China are partially furnished, including all major items like beds, sofas, closets, TVs and appliances.
5. Your Chinese work permit and invitation letter will be sent to you and used to secure a Z visa in your home country / Purchase airfare (3 – 8 weeks before arrival)
At this point your visa has been approved and you will receive the documents necessary for securing your visa! Congratulations! You can feel confident to make final plans for departure into China including buying your airfare.
You will receive the original version of your Chinese work permit and invitation letter. These documents, along with others, will be used to issue your Z visa. The full list of required documentation is:
  • Chinese work permit & copy
  • Invitation letter & copy
  • Passport (with at least 12 months validity and 4 blank pages)
  • Copy of passport
  • Passport photo 2”X 2”
  • If applying for dependent or spousal visa, documentation of relationship is required (marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc.)
If you live near a Chinese consulate, you can go there yourself to secure the visa. Keep in mind that regular processing will take 2-3 days or you can pay a rush fee for same day service if you arrive in the morning. If you do not live near a consulate, it is suggested to use a visa agent to process it for you. Although it may sound risky, these agents are used very regularly. You’ll send your documents to the agent who will go the consulate on your behalf and send everything back to you when complete. Contact the school to find a reputable visa courier in your country.
6. Depart for China
The big day is here! again for you to prepare your move for China document to help you with details regarding everything from packing to all the last minute things you need to do before you leave.
7. Upon Arrival: Sign Chinese employment contract / Health check / Secure residence permit
Once you’ve arrived in China, you’ll sign both your English and Chinese employment contracts and complete a health check at the local entry facility. The school will use these items to secure your residence permit and foreign expert certificate. This allows you legal employment in China and the ability to leave and return to China at your discretion for the length of the permit.

Please note: this information is a guide for the application and is subject to change based on the immigration rules and requirements.