Getting a visa to teach in China
Steps for getting a visa to teach in China
You need to get a work visa to allow you to teach in China. The process is relatively straightforward but it can take time.
Once you’ve accepted a job offer and signed the contract, follow the steps below. Please note, however, that requirements for some provinces and schools can differ, so please check with the school every step of the way.
1. Get your documents together
Compile the following documents:
TEFL certificate (if applicable)
Criminal record check
Medical check (in some cases)
2. Get some of your documents legalized
Your degree certificate, TEFL certificate (if applicable) and criminal record check must be legalized.
You need to get these documents:
notarized by a notary public
authenticated by the foreign affairs department of your country, and
stamped by the Chinese embassy to get them legalized.
3. Email the documents to your school
Scan each of your documents, including the legalized ones, in high-quality colour and email them to your school.
The school will then work with their provincial government office to arrange the foreign expert confirmation documents to be sent to you.
4. Submit your visa application
Once you’ve received the foreign expert confirmation documents, submit your visa application to your local Chinese embassy or consulate. Visit the Chinese embassy or consulate’s website for the application form.
When you complete the application form, make sure you apply for a ‘Z’ visa. This kind of visa allows you to work in China.
The visa application will incur a fee, which you will need to pay. The cost varies depending on your country.
Make sure you advise us and the school once your visa application has been successful.
How do you get your documents notarized?
You need to provide your documents to a notary public. These people are senior legal practitioners who prepare, attest, witness and certify legal documents for use overseas.
Note that services provided by a notary public will incur a fee.
How do you get your documents authenticated?
You need to submit your documents to the foreign affairs department of your home country. Click on the relevant link for your country’s requirements for authentication.
USA – U.S. Department of State
Canada – Global Affairs Canada
UK – Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Ireland – Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Australia – Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
New Zealand – Foreign Affairs & Trade
Note that government authentication services will incur a fee.
Avoiding visa hassles
Don’t leave home without a Z visa in your passport. The Z visa is the only legal working visa.
There could be processing delays at the provincial government office (Step 3) or at the embassy or consulate (Step 4). That’s why it’s important to allow plenty of time to get your visa organized.
Chinese authorities strictly enforce penalties for entry and exit visa violations.
If you overstay your visa, you could be up for a 500 RMB fine for each day overstayed (up to a maximum of 5,000 RMB) and/or detention.
The period of detention can range from 5 to 30 days depending on the severity of the violation. So it pays to keep track of your visa dates!
As visa and other entry and exit conditions can change at short notice, you should always contact your nearest Chinese embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information.
Arriving in China
All foreigners working in China are required to register their place of residence with the local public security bureau (PSB) within 24 hours of arrival. The PSB is a government office which acts as the local police station.
Your school will take you to the local PSB. Many schools do this straight after picking you up from the airport.
Remember to keep your passport handy, as your details will be noted by PSB personnel.