Steps on Applying for Chinese working visa (Z-Visa)

The whole visa process may vary from country to country, here is the general process you will walk through. I will explain the difference betweeen Notarization, Legalization, Authentication.

Chinese Z Visa refers to the Working Visa of China. As the name suggests, Working Visa is the kind of Visa you have to hold when working in China.

Here I’d like to share my experience when working as a Visa Specialist at EF English First in China. I’ll give special tips when it comes to different policies with certain countries.

Who can get a Chinese working visa in the teaching category?

Native English speakers and at least Bachelor’s degree holders. Teachers also need to have a clean criminal background. Only under these conditions will they meet the qualification and be able to legally secure the work permit in China. You can also check the list of requirements to teach in China.

In order to apply for this visa, you need to receive invitation letter from your Chinese employer. The invitation letter is issued by the FEB Foreign Experts Bureau (FEB).

Step 1. Completing a police check

US: Usually non-criminal background at the local police station will suffice but these days the policy is getting more and more strict. And there are some cities, for example, the FEB in Hangzhou, that require a state check. So my suggestion is to get a state criminal background check instead of a local one to save you potential trouble at a later stage.

UK: Please check this link - and apply for your DBS police check online. You need just a basic one.

Step 2. Notarization

Now you have the police check and you have all the materials prepared. At this stage, you need to find a notary/solicitor/lawyer’s office/bank and do the notarization with them for both the police check and the degree certificate. It can be done in one day.

Step 3. Legalization

Now here comes the most complicated part of the whole visa application process — legalization, which usually needs over a month to complete.

You have the degree and police check notarized. They need to be sent to the government to be legalized. Here the department of the government refers to the foreign ministry of the country. There are countries like Ireland that don’t require this step. So, folks from Ireland, just skip this step!

US: The Secretary of the State. Bring your notarized copies and the original documents. They will take the notarized copies and staple a certificate of authentication to the copies. DO NOT detach the documents, it will invalidate them if you separate the papers.

UK: FCO Foreign & Commonwealth Office. It allows your documents to be recognized by governing bodies outside of the UK and Commonwealth. You need both your completed Police Check and Notarized copy of your degree, as well as proof of address and ID, etc.

AUSTRALIA: DFAT — Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

SA: DIRCO — Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

Step 4. Authentication

Finally, you have come to this step! Now you can take the documents to the Chinese Consulate/Embassy for the authentication. Documents can be submitted in person or using a third party (family member or agency for example).

Step 5 Invitation Letter/Unofficial Work Permit

You’ve successfully finished all the notarization for both the degree certificate and the police check. Next, you can send color scan all of these papers to your employer and they will submit them to the FEB. It usually takes 10 working days to process. During this time, you can to look through suitable flights and get ready setting out China!

Step 6 Applying for the Z Visa at the Visa Center of the Chinese Embassy/Consulate

Now you have the invitation letter prepared, you can apply for the Z Visa by making an appointment at the online Visa center. Please visit this website and get every information filled in to get an appointment with them. Bring over your passport and printed the invitation letter with you on the day you go there. Four working days later, congratulations, you are officially a Z Visa holder!

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