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How Do I Get a Visa to Work in China?
Want to teach English in China but aren't sure how to get a visa? Don't worry, we've got you covered! From FBI background checks to job offers to collecting documentation to apply for your real visa, read on to find out precisely what you need to do to have a smooth visa application procedure.
Chinese Visa Types
The Z visa is the most popular form of visa for English instructors to get. This visa permits English instructors to legally work in China. The institution that employs you should assist you in obtaining this visa — you cannot acquire a Z Visa unless you have a work offer. If your school requires you to acquire a different form of visa, make careful to inquire why and to understand what type of visa you will be receiving. Sometimes schools require a teacher to start working right away and don't have the time to wait for the instructor to receive a Z Visa. If this occurs, the instructor would often enter China on a L visa (tourist visa) and then get a work visa while in China.
To add to the confusion, there is also the F visa, commonly known as a business visa. Depending on the teacher's credentials, certain schools may aid instructors in acquiring a F visa rather than a Z visa. It is also popular to fly to China on a F visa and have it changed to a Z visa once there since F visas are more easier to get than Z visas.
Here's how to acquire a visa to teach English in China: Step 1 - Gather Important Documents
This should begin before you even receive a job offer to teach English in China.
1. Passport - It must be valid for at least six months and contain at least two blank pages.
2. Passport-sized pictures - they are normally available at Walgreens or other such convenience shops.
3. University Diploma and Transcripts - You should have a sealed copy of your transcripts and an actual diploma.
4. Local Police Background Check/FBI Background Check - Some jobs may simply need a local background check, while others will require/request an FBI background check.
5. Obtain an apostille for your graduation and background check. This normally takes two to three weeks.
6. Resume - Once you've registered in your TEFL class at International TEFL Academy, our Student Affairs Advisors would be pleased to assist with you on this to ensure it fits Chinese criteria.
7. TEFL Certificate - Typically necessary to get employed to teach English in China.
Step 2: Once you receive a job offer,
Send all of your documentation to the school. Send them through a private courier so that they can be traced. The list of necessary papers varies each school, but below is a general guide:
1. Apostille-certified copy of the original degree (Confirm with your Chinese consulate if an original is required or whether a photocopy of the original is sufficient.)
2. Two sets of sealed university transcripts
3. Notarized FBI/local police criminal background check and necessary verification
4. A copy of your resume
5. A signed copy of the contract
6. Two passport-sized pictures
Step 3: Obtaining your visa
After submitting all of your paperwork to your Chinese school, you will await the following documents from your school:
1. Alien Employment Permit or Foreign Expert Work Permit
2. Visa Notice, Visa Notification Letter, or Invitation Letter
Once you have received your Visa Invitation Letter, you may submit your application to the consulate. You will not need to schedule an appointment in most cities since they provide walk-in hours.
Documents required to apply for a Z-visa at the Chinese Consulate:
For further information, visit the webpage of your local Chinese consulate.
1. Original signed passport with at least six months of remaining validity and blank visa pages, as well as a copy of the passport's data page and, if separate, the picture page.
2. One completed Visa Application Form (Form V.2013) with a recently taken color passport picture (bare-head, full face) against a light backdrop attached.
3. Alien Employment License or Foreign Expert Work Permit Visa Notice and Visa Notification Letter or Invitation Letter
4. Visa fee - Check with your consulate; however, it will be roughly $140 (credit card, money order, or cashier's check acceptable) and will be completed in four business days.