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How to Get a Work Visa for China 2017

This article is written by Opportunity China about how you should go about getting your work visa for China.

How to Get a work Visa for China in 2017

Getting a  ‘z’  working visa for China can seem like a rather daunting task, and while many schools and companies differ on specific required documents, there are 3 phases (
Collating Documents, Authenticating Documents, Visa Application) you will need to complete before you can get that all important visa in your passport!



Phase 1: Collating Documents


There is a lot of paperwork required for your work visa in China!

There is a lot of paperwork required for your work visa in China!


You’ve accepted an offer from your dream job and signed your contract! But before you can jet off to China and start your experience, you’ll need to get several documents in order and send a soft copy to your school.


Your School or Employer will send you an exact list of requirements (these will differ from organization to organization), but you will broadly be expected to collate the following:


Copy of Passport information page

Digital Headshot- Passport style


Degrees ( In some cases also Transcripts)

Physical examination (find more information on acquiring this here)

Recommendation letter

TEFL certificate (find more information on acquiring an online TEFL here)


‘No Criminal Record’ Background Check

Ensure each individual document is sent to your employers as soon as you have them in your possession, and once you have your No Criminal Record Check and Degree Certificate (sometimes also TEFL Certificate), get ready to have these authenticated!

Work Visa for China

You will get this Z Work Visa for China in your Passport

Phase 2: Authentication


As of 2017, new visa legislation was passed across China, requiring all new teachers to notarize and authenticate their Degree Certificate and ‘No Criminal Record’ background check (and in some circumstances their TEFL/ TESOL/ CELTA certificate) in order for a school to be able to apply for their work ‘z’ visa support paperwork.


Just what teachers in China needed! However, when broken down step-by-step it’s a logical process:

Notarisation – this is the attestation by a Notary Public that document is true and genuine. This is usually completed in the country where the document originates, so would usually be your home country. This may also be in the form of a certification which is made by a solicitor as to the signatures made on a document.

Check with your school if their local office have any special requirements for wording and levels of verification as each office has law unto itself!

Apostille – a Government Official in the country of origin must declare the signature of the Notary Public or the Solicitor as true and genuine. Authentication declares that the Apostille is genuine prior to Legalisation. These are undertaken by a Home Office, e.g the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, or Department of State, and can usually be mailed rather than visiting the office in-person.

Legalisation – the Chinese Embassy in your home country can now declare and accept the signature, seal or stamp appearing on the document as genuine. You’ll have to visit the Embassy in person to get this done, unless you use a service (more on this below)

Many schools will contribute towards the costs of the authentication process; if your employer details this in your contract then ensure you keep your receipts/ invoices.


You can choose to undertake the full process yourself, or alternatively there are service providers in all countries (typically a notary service) which can undertake the 3 steps on your behalf.

Keep in mind that the notarisation and legalisation process differs from country to country. This guide provides further information on country specific information.

Phase 3: Visa Application

This can only take place once you have authenticated your documents and everything required via scanned copy to your employer school. Only now can the school’s HR Team begin to submit your work ‘z’ visa application to their Provincial Visa Office.

Here is the entrance to the Chinese consular office

Here is the entrance to the Chinese consular office. You may be asked to come here to give fingerprints even if you do a postal application for your work visa for China.

Typically, anywhere from 3-5 weeks after your documents are submitted by your employer, a work permit and invitation letter will be issued and couriered to your home country via DHL; in some provinces, an electronic copy is alternatively issued.

Once received, you can then submit your work visa application in your home country, and usually, an in person service is available (3-4 working day turnaround time) as well as a postal service (10 working day turnaround time).

Your Work Visa for China will appear as a sticker in your passport.

Work Visa for China

This is actually a tourist visa (see the L written on) however the work visa for China looks very similar but should have a z instead of an L.


Remember, you’ll need to take the original copies of everything with you to China. And ensure all the items on your Pre-Departure Checklist are ticked off.


Check out the video below for a concise overview of the process




This is is a guest post written by Opportunity China

Opportunity China is a gateway for educators, English teachers, university lecturers and students to find exciting and enriching opportunities in China.

They pride themselves on offering a professional and personalized to all candidates, right from their initial application through to beginning their dream opportunity in China.

When I was first looking at coming to China I didn’t know who to trust, or how to go about getting a job. Luckily for me, Opportunity China came to my university and did a presentation. I went to China through them and have recommended them to anyone who has asked ever since!


Any questions or things you feel you need to add, just leave a message in the comments!

4 Comments How to Get a Work Visa for China 2017

    1. With a Backpack

      Hi Adam, the TEFL certificate does not need to be authenticated, I believe a photocopy of the TEFL certificate is enough.


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