Applying for a Visa – China

15 March 2013

China is a great destination for anyone with a TEFL certificate who wants to explore a completely new country and culture. There is a great demand for English teachers in China to teach both children and adults.

To teach English in China you obviously need a TEFL certificate and a Work Visa. Often a degree and sometimes teaching experience will be included in the list of requirements for a job in China but employers can be flexible about whether you have a degree depending on your level of teaching experience and other similar factors.

China - Great WallThe requirements for the Visas can seem confusing and complicated but if you fill out each part correctly and truthfully then you will hopefully be successful in your Visa application.

As a teacher you will be applying for a Work Visa, also known as a Z Visa. This will allow you to work within the country and any accompanying family members will also have to fill out the Z Visa to gain entry.

To receive a Z Visa you need:

  • A passport
  • Completed Visa Application Form
  • An Invitation Letter of Duly Authorised Unit or Confirmation Letter of Invitation
  • A permit for Foreign Experts working in the People’s Republic of China

However, each of these requires a little more explanation.

The passport must have more than six months until the expiry date upon the date you make the Visa application and it must have sufficient blank Visa pages for at least 18 months or more if you intend to stay longer. Copies of the passport information pages (the back page with your personal details) may be asked for as well at some stage so have some ready in case one is required.

The Visa Application forms can be downloaded online. When applying for a Z Visa, you need to fill out the Visa Application form which is for your personal details, emergency contacts and other details. You will also need to fill out the Supplementary Visa Application Form which gives details about your education and qualifications. A recent passport-sized photo also needs to be affixed to the Visa Application form. A photo taken within the last six months is good.

The Invitation Letter of Duly Authorised Unit or the Confirmation Letter of Invitation is a document your employer should get for you from a Chinese government agency. You may need to give your passport details or a passport photocopy to them so they can obtain this document for you. Examples can be found online if you are unsure of what to expect or what to ask for.

A permit for Foreign Experts working in the People’s Republic of China is a document confirming that you are healthy and have no criminal convictions and you are willing to abide by Chinese laws when you are living and working there. You will need to provide a CV and a copy of the documentation of your highest qualifications. Applications can be found online.

You must then make an appointment with the Chinese Embassy or Consulate of your country to go to hand in your Visa Applications. In the UK, the Chinese Embassy and the Consular section are close to Regent’s Park in London. Visas can also be applied for in Manchester and Edinburgh.

To find a job in China, visit the TEFL Job Centre to get one step closer to a new life in China. Or, search for a course  to get qualified to teach English in China.

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