Guide to Securing a Teaching Visa for China

If you're interested in teaching in China, you'll find that the process of obtaining a work visa isn't as black-and-white as you may think. Although China has many different types of visiting visas, only the so-called "Z Visa" is appropriate for people who want to relocate to China for the purpose of teaching. If you are eligible for a Z Visa (that's the black and white), getting one is easy peasy; if you aren't, it might be difficult but not impossible.

Exceptions that may be justified in your favor create a "grey area" when strict rules can't be met. The Chinese government, shocking as it may seem, really is rational in several ways. If moving to China and working as a teacher is your lifelong desire, you should apply for a teaching visa based on an exemption even though there is no assurance you will be granted one.

A Z Visa is required to teach in China, and if you are operating illegally without one, you will be sent home.

The process of applying for a teaching visa in China is lengthy and involves following a certain sequence of actions. The visa application itself is the final step, so it can't hurt to have a rough idea of what has to be done.

Confirm that you meet the criteria for a teaching visa.

Step 2: Get hired for a teaching position in China and get the contract signed.

Third, your company will help you apply for a work visa at China's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

The fourth step is to submit an application for a Z Visa.

Visa Eligibility Instruction

Now, let's go headfirst into the first procedure, shall we?

The most important things to remember while applying for a teaching visa in China are:

Required age range is 18-60 years old.

Citizenship: You must be a citizen of one of the seven official English-speaking nations (US, UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa)

Required education level is Bachelor's (in any subject)

Valid TEFL/TESL certification is required.

Depending on the city, you need a certain amount of teaching experience (and even schools). It will take around 2 years, or 100 to 120 hours.

In addition to the primary conditions:

Provide a clean criminal record from your native country as a character reference.

Medical: a valid International Health Certificate from your country of residence is required.

Rare cases of deviation:

Since you cannot apply for a Z Visa until you have a teaching contract in place (yes, you need to locate a job before applying), your prospective employer will be "sponsoring" you in order to work for them. Thanks to the Z Visa exemptions, however, your prospective employer may have some say in the matter.

You may still apply for a Z visa if you are above the age of 60, if you do not have sufficient teaching experience, if you are not yet TEFL certified, if you are not a native of one of the seven mentioned countries (but studied in one), and if you find a willing employer. Regardless of the government's stance, if a school principal is prepared to sponsor you, then they have no grounds to object.

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