china visa for working in china

China Visa Checklist for Z Visas

Posted on Posted in China Life Hacks

The China visa application process is one of the nastiest visa systems out there – but don’t let that come between you and an incredible experience teaching in China. We’ve muddled through all of the rules, requirements, paperwork, and even processing companies so you don’t have to. Here is your step-by-step guide to getting a Chinese Z visa, as well as the best processing companies out there.


Step 1 – Receive Work Permit and Employer Invitation Letter

We (or your Employer) will send you your Foreign Experts Work Permit and Employer Invitation Letter. In order to receive these, there are several documents that you will need to send to us (or to your Employer). You should be notified of these after signing your contract as the required documents vary based on Chinese province, number of dependents, etc.


Step 2 – Gather all required documents

Chinese Z Visa Checklist:

  • 1 – Actual passport
  • 1 – Photocopy of passport name page
  • 1 – completed China Visa Application Form
  • 1 – recent passport photo attached to the visa application form
  • 1 – foreign experts work permit
  • 1 – Employer invitation Letter

Visit the Chinese Embassy’s website to see a list of required documents for other types of visas.


Step 3 – Give documents to Chinese Embassy or Consulate

Here you have two options: 1) drop off the visa application documents in person or 2) send the documents to a third-party processing company


For Option 1:

Find your local Chinese Embassy and report to that embassy/consulate with all of your completed documents. You CANNOT mail in your application packet, but you CAN ask a friend to drop it off in person for you. It does not have to be you who turns in the application, but it CANNOT be mailed in (the Chinese Embassy will not mail it back to you either).

Cost for U.S. citizens is $140 per visa, however cost for non-U.S. citizens will vary between $30 and $90 depending on number of entries and duration of stay you request on your application.

Regular services will take 4 business days, but you can pay an additional $20 for express service, which will take 2-3 business days. In emergency cases, you may be able to receive your visa within 24 hours for an additional $30 with consular approval.


For Option 2:

Send your documents to a third-party processing company and have them drop off your application. Depending on which processing company you choose, you will have to pay a service fee on top of the processing fee. After the processing time, the company you chose may also pick up your visa and application and send it back to you.


China visa processing companies

Because of the increasingly complex application system, many people choose to use a visa processing company for its effectiveness and convenience. There are countless processing companies to choose from, but here are our favorite for receiving a Chinese Z visa:

FreeChinaVisa.Org – This processor is the cheapest option, only charging a $20 service fee and a low shipping fee. The website also has a fees calculator, so you can determine exactly how much you will be charged for any time of visa with any length of time requested.

Visarite – Here you can find the most comprehensive step-by-step explanations for your Chinese z visa and document authentication needs. The service fee is in the medium range, and in much cheaper than its competitors for rush and emergency visa requests.

China Visa Service Center (CVSC) – Great reviews from past clients landed this processing company on our list of best processors for getting a China visa. They are affordable, responsive, and even service a consulate in Vancouver.

*The Chinese Embassy has strict rules regarding visa applications that vary case-by-case, especially for non-U.S. citizens. Before you pay or send your documents to a China visa processing company, it is encouraged to call your local Chinese Embassy or Consulate and ask whether you will be required to apply in person or can use a processing company.


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Any questions? Leave a comment and we will gladly help with any China Z visa questions you may have.
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6 thoughts on “China Visa Checklist for Z Visas

  1. I worked in China a few years ago but the school I worked at closed down. The previous director will give me a good reference but there is no one to complete the official reference document, which is in Chinese.

    What can be done about this?

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