Working Visa Process for China
What is the visa criteria?
In order to teach in China, you'll need to get a working visa, otherwise known as a Z-visa. Your new school will do all of the paperwork for you; all you need do is to supply your new school with your documentation which they will take to the visa offices in their city. This office then grants the work visa for China.
The criteria which each office require differs from city to city, which can be annoying, however a number of things remain constant nationwide. The minimum age you will be granted a working visa for China is 24 and the maximum age is 60; although many applicants get declined over 55 for unknown reasons, and so schools will often refuse candidates over 60. Some teachers may get taken on up to 65 years old if they have a PhD. However, in a nutshell, the ages you'll get teaching positions in China are 24-55 years old.
Additionally, you'll need a university degree. This wasn't always the case, but candidates will need to supply a scan or photo of your certificate. A teaching certificate is not always needed to teach in China, but is in most cities and schools also require it in the main. It is a sound idea to get one first. If you haven't got a teaching certificate, then you can click here.
How long does the visa process take?
Following a successful interview and job offer, it will take around six weeks to prepare everything needed and for you to fly to China. If you are already in China with a work visa from an old employer, then it will take around 10-14 days to switch your Z-visa over.
What is the work visa process for China?
After you have had your Skype interview with the school and they have offered you a full-time position and you've agreed to accept their job offer, then the school will make an online application for you. This involves filling out an online form and attaching your files. These are: Your CV, copy of your degree, copy of your teaching certificate, copy of your passport photo page (in some cities, but not most, the school may be required to attach reference letters and a criminal background check if you are teaching children). All of this is done for you by experience staff at the school.
After a few days, the school will get the outcome of the online application (if all the documents are there and you fit the criteria, then the online application for the China work visa is nearly always granted). The school then must go down with hard copies of the same documents to the local PSB office. They pay a fee and then must wait for around a week. After a week, the school returns to the China visa offices and collects an official invitation letter. This China invitation letter is then sent to your home address overseas by courier.
Once you have the invitation letter in your hand, you travel yourself to your nearest Chinese consulate where you surrender your passport along with the letter. After three days, return to the Chinese consulate and your shiny new working visa for China (Z-visa) will be sitting proudly in your passport.
You are now ready to fly to China and start teaching with your new school. Remember, that 99% of all of this China work visa process is all done for you and you are in good hands.
Will I need a criminal record check?
You may need a criminal record check if working with children. You won't need one if teaching adults. Additionally, only a few cities ask for this, but most don't. Your school will let you know if you need one or not.