Congratulations you got the job! You have received the phone call informing you that your application has been successful and that job in China is now waiting for you. What was just a pipe dream and a conversation with friends and family all those months ago has now become a reality. So, what happens next? Once the euphoria has settled and reality sets back in it is time to think about the next steps. Typically, once your application has been successful it will be time to get your paper work in order so that your visa application can begin. The sooner you start the easier for you it will be. It may all sound daunting and time consuming, but your school’s HR department will be there to help you through and guide you step by step as will us at INTA China. Below is a brief rundown of what to expect in the run up to leaving your home country and some useful tips to make the process as smooth as possible.
Please bear in mind that different schools will have different procedures.
Notarisation and Legalisation
To apply for a work permit, it is essential that you have a number of documents notarised and legalised. These include:
- Your degree certificate (PGCE or above)
- Police check certificates
- Marriage certificate (if applicable)
In order to trigger the process, documents need to be sent to a solicitor and then on to the FCO and Chinese Embassy.
For police check certificates, most schools require certificates to cover any country you have lived in longer than 6 months over the last 10 years. For those in the UK, it is essential to complete a new DBS certificate before arrival in China.
To be applicable for a work permit (Z visa) in China you must have a full medical in your home country. Your school will share a template which must be completed by a medical practitioner and signed that you are fit to work overseas. As part of the procedure, you will also have a second medical upon arrival in China which will be arranged for you by your school.
As part of the nurturing process by your school, your flights will be booked well in advance as you will need proof of these for when you apply for your visa at the Chinese Visa Centre. Typically, you will be able to fly from your nearest airport with a layover en route to Shanghai where other new starters will join you. Schools require new starters to arrive in August followed by your induction programme.
Applying for a Z Visa
To apply for a Z visa, you must ensure that you have a valid passport. We recommend that your passport is not due to expire anytime soon and that you have plenty of free pages as getting a new passport from abroad can often take some time. Applying for a visa is quite straight forward and your school will inform you on how the forms should be completed and which ones you need to submit. If time is tight for your visa application and you are struggling to get all your paperwork in line, sometimes your school will suggest that you enter the country on a different visa category which is then transferred to a full working permit a few weeks later. Either way, each way works out and you will receive full support and guidance on the process from your school and us.
If you are thinking to take some items with you, these can be shipped to your school directly. Most schools will offer a relocation allowance, and this can be used to pay for shipping. Alternatively, you can use your allowance to purchase excess baggage for your flight or simply purchase items upon arrival in China- remember to keep your receipts!
If you do decide to ship items in advance, you will have to wait for your working permit to be returned to you when you are in China for your shipment to be released- we suggest speaking to your school’s HR who will be able to share an idea of time frames to work to.
During your induction week, your school will help you set up your new bank account. In our experience, if you have monthly outgoings (mortgage repayments etc) we suggest to make sure you have enough cash in your UK account to cover the first month or two as setting up a new direct debit to your home bank account can take a few weeks.
It can be quite daunting to receive a list of all the steps you need to take to get your paperwork but the most important thing to remember is not to panic! HR teams understand that the process can be quite tricky and are there to help you every step of the way. Always reach out if you are stuck or seem to have hit a wall- the chances are that HR or us here at INTA China have experienced the same or similar issue- always get in touch!
If you are already on the international teaching scene, you may already have most of your paperwork in place. Depending on your location, you will have to reach out to your nearest Chinese Embassy/ Consulate with regards to your visa application process. We suggest doing this at your earliest convenience as you may have to work some of your summer plans around this.
And finally.. relax!
August will soon come around so it’s important to spend time with family and friends before flying out. If the paperwork is becoming a headache, take some time to plan trips in your holidays, China is a great place to start for any adventure!