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Chinese Work Z Visa

Work Visa in China​ >>

The Guide to Obtaining a Chinese Work Z Visa

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Planning a new life teaching in China? Want to start working right away? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are some helpful tips to hit the ground running. This information will help you on your journey to obtain a valid Chinese work visa and avoid common missteps along the way.

Know Before You Go to China

before you go to China to teach and apply for the work z visa

As a teacher in China, it is essential to have a great employer who can take care of most issues. If your school has zero experience in hiring a foreigner, then you are in for a wild ride. The majority of the visa work application demands a lot of attention to details. The entire preparation process is tedious but many people may use a third party company in order to get a Chinese work visa. Or to save some extra cash and gain a bit more understanding, you can opt in for a more DIY experience. Just try to keep in mind, that the more you are prepared, the more that you will be able to enjoy your stay in China.

Step 1: Work Permit

To apply for a work z visa in China you need a work permit first. 

After you’ve signed the offer, you will receive a list of documents that you need to prepare, the list might vary depending on which city you’re going to work, but typically, these are the ones you have to prepare: 

  • Degree certificate TEFL/CELTA/TESOL certificate (or can provide reference letters accumulating to two years’ experiences instead)
  • Background check  Passport scan
  • Headshot photo with white background
  • Physical Examination Form (x-ray and blood test is not necessary)

[Important]: degree (colour copy), TEFL/CELTA/TESOL (colour copy), and background check (original copy) need to be authenticated by Chinese embassy/consulate.

Once submitted to the Chinese government (usually by your employer), the process time for work permit is normally 2-3 weeks. 

Work Permit Checklist

Download the checklist for your Chinese work visa preparation:

Get it Now

How to get your documents authenticated? 


For example, if you obtained a college diploma in New York State, you will need to have it apostilled. That process can be completed by your university for a fee, normally around $20 and it includes the notarization/certification by the County Clerk. The apostille process is timely and I would recommend contacting your university directly for specific details, as soon as possible. 

A similar process will be needed for your police check, but instead you will need to contact your local police department to obtain an original background report signed and notarized. 


After all three documents are notarized, take them to the nearby Chinese embassy to get them authenticated. 

Having a release letter from your former employer is always handy in China. Along with your original passport (with a valid visa), CV, original reference letters, HSK certificate,120 hours TEFL Certificate, and digital photos (head shots). 

Step 2: Work Z Visa Application 

The next step after obtaining your work permit is to apply for a work visa in China. 

A Chinese work visa is classified as a Z visa. Upon arrival into China, with this type of visa, you will be able to receive legal pay immediately. You will need to submit your original passport that would be valid for at least 6 months, the completed application, recent passport photos, and your work permit that would be provided by your new employer. The process usually takes about 3 – 7  business days.  

After handing in all of your application material, you will receive an official receipt. It may be in the shape of a large orange index card will all of your information and a scanned copy of your headshot on the card. When it is officially time to pick up your Z visa, it will be secured inside your passport. In an almost sticker like thick film that covers an entire page of your passport.

This can be completed in person at your nearest Chinese consulate. The complete turnaround time should not be too bad. Normally a week is a sufficient amount of time to get the process rolling in full swing!

Step 3: Temporary Registration (within 24 hours upon arriving China)

Once you have arrived in China, all foreigners are required to register at the local police station within 24 hours! 

If you are staying at a hotel, no worries, they will automatically take care of that for you. If you are staying in someone’s personal residence, then you will have to go to the police to register and collect the receipt of temporary residence. 

That trip to the local police station should be plain less since there is rarely a long waiting line for this kind of service. 

Step 4: Medical Examination 

Try to knock out as much as you can in a day to avoid procrastination. After the police station, the next stop is the local hospital. Preferably, the same facilities that caters to foreigners. This will ensure a more exact experience because everyone there will be there for the same exact reason, for their Chinese work visa.

The hospital will preform your health complete examination. Including your physical, blood work, eye exam, ear exam, ultrasound exams, and ect. After paying for the visits you can pick up your results within a week.

Step 5: Residence Permit (within 30 days upon arriving China)

Your official resident permit should be obtained within the 30 days upon your arrival in China. This is necessary for any legal payment for work services and allows you to live freely within China. Without this document, you could be subject to fines or other legal actions. 

A resident permit can be collected at a Exit-Entry Administrative Service Center in China. They will provide a document that shows you have been formally identified and registered as a resident who is now living in that general area.

Congratulations, You Did It.

All things go well, you should be receiving your work visa certificate, as well as your residence permit. Now you are officially settle in China, you can legally work and live in China.  

Chinese work visa, China work visa, work z visa in China

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