The visa process outlined
Please bear in mind that if your higher education certificate was issued by an organization not in the country where you are from, you will need to do the legalization process for that document in that country.
The police check will need to be done in the country of which you are a passport holder. In addition to what is written below, you will need to complete a medical check. Confirm with your employer whether this check is to be done in your own country or after arrival in China.
- Obtain a police check/criminal record check from your own country and prepare a photocopy of your higher education certificate.
- Have your higher education certificate copy certified (i.e. signed and stamped) by a lawyer or notary public in the country where it was issued.
- Send these documents to the relevant government authority to be legalized (also sometimes called notarized/apostilled) by the relevant government body in the country where that document was issued. This is usually the ministry or department called something like the foreign office/ministry of foreign affairs (UK: Foreign and commonwealth office). Please note that for some countries with federal systems (USA) it may be necessary to have this legalization done first at state level before national level.
- Send these legalized documents to the Chinese embassy in the same country to be legalized/notarized again.
- Send the documents which have been legalized by the Chinese embassy to your employer. Some employers may only require scans, whereas others will require the originals posting out. Your employer will direct you as to what further supporting documents you may need
- Your employer makes an application at the Foreign Experts Department in their local jurisdiction.
- The Foreign Experts Department issues an invitation letter to your employer, which the employer then sends to you by e-mail.
- Use the invitation letter, along with your passport and application form to apply for your Z visa. As of 2018 it is now also a requirement that this application be made in person and fingerprints taken.
- After your visa is issued, you can travel to China on your Z visa.
Once in China
- Register your arrival with the local police station within 24 hours. You are now free to work and teach English in China, but the remaining steps should still be completed within 30 days.
Your employer makes an application for your work permit with the local Foreign Experts Department.
- After receiving your work permit, your employer takes you to the local immigration office to apply for a residency permit. Your passport must be handed in at this stage.
- Your passport is returned with a new residency permit, usually with 1 year validity.