Are you looking for a career change? Then you might be considering a professional teaching placement in China.
But before you book your flights, you’re going to need a teaching visa for China. Once you’ve decided which city you’d love to work in and have secured a position that best suits your skills and experience, you’ll need to apply for the Chinese Z-Visa.
This visa gives you permission to live and work in China for the duration of your placement. It’s a vital step to take when launching your new teaching career abroad. Chinese visa requirements for foreign teachers are strict however, and ever-changing rules and regulations can make the application process tricky.
If you’re wondering how to get a teaching visa in China, our experts are here to explain everything you need to know.
What Teaching Visa Do I Need for China?
If you’re applying as a foreigner to teach in a professional capacity in China, you need to secure a Z-Visa before you enter the country. Z-Visas gives you the legal right to live and work in China for a total of 30 days, during which time your employer will transfer your visa to an official work permit that lasts for the duration of your teaching placement.
To apply for a Z-Visa, you’ll need to secure a teaching placement in China first. You’ll only be approved for a Z-Visa when you have the necessary supporting documents from the school you’ll be working for that proves you have a placement waiting for you. You’ll also need to supply a number of other supporting documents, such as criminal record checks, completed application forms, and passport photos.
Applying for a Z-Visa can be time-consuming. Given that the requirements often change, it’s helpful to have the support of an experienced placement team such as INTA Education that can help you at every stage of the process. If you don’t have the correct visa when you arrive in China, you could find yourself facing large fines, deportation and potential criminal charges. For this reason never attempt to work if you’re on a tourist visa, and always double check you’ve been granted the correct visa for your placement.
What Requirements Do I Need to Meet for a Teaching Visa in China?
Before applying for a teaching visa in China, you’ll first need to ensure that you meet certain requirements. These are the same requirements you’ll need to meet in order to secure a placement from a school in the first instance, and you’ll need the secured placement before you can apply for the Z-Visa.
These requirements are adhered to stringently in China, and both the school and the consulate where you apply for the visa may check if you meet them. The requirements for teaching in China include:
- A bachelor’s degree
- A PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education)
- No criminal convictions
- Aged between 18 and 60 years old
- A confirmed placement at a school in China
- A valid passport with at least 6 months validity and one free page
If you don’t meet these prerequisites, you could find your application delayed or cancelled. Because the requirements can change, we recommend speaking with an expert when you’re ready to begin the process to ensure you know the most up-to-date rules and regulations.
What Steps Do I Need to Take to Secure a Chinese Teaching Visa?
Once you’re confident you’ll meet the requirements to secure a Z-Visa, you can begin looking for your ideal work placement in China. Remember, you’ll need to have a guaranteed job offer from a school before you can even think about applying for the visa.
To make things simple, here’s a step-by-step guide you can follow to get a visa for teaching in China:
Secure a Job Offer from a School in China
As we’ve already said, it’s imperative that you have a job offer from a school in China before applying for a Z-Visa. Once you’ve got an offer, the school will be able to supply you with a Work Permit Notice, which you’ll need for the visa application.
Fill in the Required Application Forms
Once you’ve got your Work Permit Notice from your school, you can start filling in the application forms and collecting the documents you need. This includes:
- Completed Z-Visa application form
- Work Permit Notice
- 2 x passport photos
- Copy of your passport
- Copy of bachelor’s degree and PGCE certifications
- Criminal record check
For more information on the document authentication process, click here.
Book an Appointment at Your Local Visa Processing Centre
When you’re ready to apply for your Z-Visa, you’ll need to book an appointment at your local Chinese visa processing centre. You can find your nearest centre online, and you’ll need to visit in person with the correct documents in order to secure the visa. During your appointment, your fingerprints will be taken and your documents checked. The visa will then be processed over the course of the next four days, before being issued. Once you’ve got your visa, you can get ready to start your new teaching journey in China!
Applying for a Z-Visa doesn’t need to be difficult if you’ve got the help of experts like INTA Education. Here’s our quick FAQ to help you better understand the process.
How Long Does the Visa Process Take?
Once you’ve physically applied for a Z-Visa in your home country, it can take as little as four days for your application to be approved and your visa issued.
However, you also need to factor in the time needed to prepare the correct documents and book an appointment at a consulate (there could be a waiting list or backlog, for example). If you miss important documents or supply incorrect or incomplete information you could face delays.
How Much Does the Visa Cost?
Processing costs vary for different nationalities and locations. In the United Kingdom, you can currently expect to pay £151 for a Z-Visa application. Your school may cover your visa application costs, but this depends on the terms of your contract.
Where Do I Apply for One?
You’ll typically need to apply for a Z-Visa in your home country or country of residence. You can generally book appointments at your nearest Chinese visa processing centre online, and you’ll find that many major cities have at least one location available for this. In the United Kingdom, there are processing centres in London and Manchester. You have to apply for the Z-Visa in person, as the processing centre will need to take your fingerprints.
How Long Does the Visa Last?
The Z-Visa is only technically valid for a short period of time, usually 30 days. This begins when you first arrive in China to take up your placement. During this 30-day period, you have to convert your Z-Visa into a work permit. As part of this process, you’ll need to register with the local police, but your school will assist with this when you’re getting settled in your new home city. The work permit will then be valid for the duration of your placement, and can potentially be turned into a residence permit if you desire to stay on.
Are you ready to start your teaching career in China? Contact INTA Education to find out more.
INTA Education was founded by Lydia and Will, teachers with a passion for language and education. With ten years’ experience teaching in Asia, we’re ready to help you at every stage of the application process, including securing your visa.
Get in touch today for more information on teaching placements in China.