August is almost here, and hundreds of teachers are currently making their final preparations for their journeys to China.
However, before on your journey, you need a China visa. If you will be working in China, you will need a legal work (Z) visa.
The criterion for China visas varies drastically from province to province. Visa requirements can also change from month to month – over the last three months, we have noticed that local foreign expert bureaus are much more strict when it comes to documents they require.
Illegal China visa
Below is an overview of the visa process for most schools in China. Please note that this process is for schools that are allowed to hire foreigners and can provide a legal Z visa. If a school wants you to come to China on a tourist visa, that is illegal.
- When you are hired by a school, you return a signed contract and other documents (usually these will include copies of your diplomas, certificates, passport, letters of recommendation, and a health check.)
- The school will send those documents and application to their local Foreign Expert Bureau (FEB) to apply for permission to hire you. This process can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks.
- Once the local FEB finishes processing your application, they give the school two documents (your work permit and invitation letter) that are sent to you in your home country.
- You use these two documents to apply for a work visa (which is called a Z visa) at your local consulate. If there is no consulate nearby, you can use a mail service like this one. The visa goes in your passport, so you need to bring your passport and leave it with the consulate during this time.
- The consulate should take no more than five days to process your visa. Once you get your passport back, you are good to get on a plane and come to China!
If you are unsure about the China visa process or have further questions, please check out the website for your local consulate or the Chinese embassy.
Here are the websites for the Chinese consulates and embassy in the U.S.: