Work Visa Application

Procedure for obtaining a Chinese Z work visa for a UK candidate

(Please note, if you are not a UK national your visa application process may vary slightly) 

Step 1: Obtaining the necessary documents for your Chinese work permit

Before receiving a Z visa, your Chinese school/employer must first apply for your work permit and official invitation letter. For them to do so, you must provide them with the following documents:

  1. Bachelor’s degree or higher (must be notarized*, authenticated*, and legalized*)
  2. Criminal background check* (must be notarized, authenticated, legalized, and issued within 6 months of your visa application)
  3. Physical health check form with doctor’s signature and office stamp.
  4. Scanned copy of your passport photo page (with at least 6-months remaining before it expires and two blank visa pages)
  5. Signed Chinese employment contract
  6. A clear, in color passport sized head-shot photo on white background
  7. ONE of the following documents:

TEFL*/TESOL/CELTA certification with a course duration of at least 120 hours (must be notarized)

-A degree majoring in English, Education, English Linguistics, TEFL, TESOL, or some other related subjects.

-At least 2 years of post-graduate full time teaching experience with confirming reference letters

-A teaching license from your home country

Once scanned COLOUR COPIES of these documents have been sent to your Chinese school/employer, they will apply for your notification of work permit letter at their local city’s visa office which will take 10-15 business days (note: different schools and cities may require slightly different documents or have slightly different visa procedure so please contact us for more details).

*Notarization: Documents may be notarized by a notary public or solicitor.

*Authentication: AFTER notarization, go to the Foreign Commonwealth Office to get the documents authenticated.

*Legalization: AFTER notarization and authentication, take your documents to the Chinese embassy (please send documents to your SDE recruiter beforehand so they may double check everything) for consulate legalization.

*Background Check: The background check/no criminal record can be issued by a local police station or the  national government website.

If you do not live near a Chinese consulate, it may be more cost-effective to use an agent to complete this process for you.  

Step 2: Applying for and Receiving your Chinese Z work visa

This next step depends on how and when you will be receiving your Z visa. If working in or near Shenzhen, China, then there are two possible legitimate ways to go about this. The first is to apply for and receive your Z visa back in your home country at your nearest Chinese embassy/consulate before coming to China. The second is to fly into Hong Kong with your papers and apply for and receive your Z visa at the Hong Kong-Shenzhen border. The first option takes significantly longer and can be a hassle with having to travel to your nearest Chinese embassy/consulate multiple times. The second option is much quicker (usually finished in less than an hour at the border) and you will most likely be able to find a cheaper flight by flying into Hong Kong instead of Shenzhen. The situation you choose will just depend on your unique situation and the tentative start date of your Chinese school/employer.

Option 2A: Getting your Chinese Z work visa in your home country

If obtaining your Z visa in your home country, you will need to return to the nearest Chinese embassy/consulate with the following documents:

  1. Passport with one photocopy of the information page
  2. Completed (typed then signed) visa application form
  3. One recent passport sized color photo
  4. Notification of work permit (previously received from your Chinese school/employer)
  5. Application fee (151 GBP)

    Option 2B: Getting your Chinese Z work visa upon arrival at the Hong Kong-Shenzhen border

    If obtaining your Z visa upon arrival in Hong Kong, you will simply wait until your Chinese school/employer has received you Notification of Work Permit letter, fly to Hong Kong, and proceed to the Shenzhen border with the following documents:

    1. Passport
    2. Two recent passport sized colour photos

      A representative from your Chinese school/employer (in this case your specialist  from UREC) will meet you at the border and provide you with the following documents:

      1. Photocopy of your passport information page.
      2. Official Chinese employer visa invitation letter.
      3. Notification of work permit letter.
      4. Company Chinese operating license.
      5. Completed Z visa application form.

      After receiving these documents, you will simply walk over to the visa office at the border, apply for your Z visa, and receive in usually less than one hour. You may then proceed across the border with your new Z visa and your specialist from UREC will guide you the rest of the way. The visa process will be completed once you have entered China.

      Step 3: Yay you’re legal! Arrive in China, begin teaching, and enjoy the experience!