Chinese Visa - How to obtain a Z-Visa?

November 14, 2009, 03:27 PM posted in General Discussion

I need to get a Visa for my move to China, what's the best way to get a Z-Visa while still in the United States?

I was contacted by a school a few months back who wanted me to go teach, however I wasn't prepared to pick up and leave so soon, my goal is to be in China right before Spring Festival.  The school said to just come to China and we'd get the Visa squared away when I get there and sign the contract, but I'd feel better if I could get a work Visa while still in the US.

Many here have both been in China for a long time, how do you keep getting a Visa renewal?  Can you give me some information about the process and what I'm going to have to do to stay in China?

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November 15, 2009, 02:56 AM

I'm not a visa expert.  Having said that, from what i've seen/experienced, it is the company's/school's responsibility to get you your Z visa. The school isn't supposed to be telling you what they're telling you.  In practice, what this school is telling you about come to China first, then we'll get the visa for you seems to happen a lot, but they are supposed to work with you to get the z visa before you leave the US.

If the school doesn't do that, your only choice is to get a tourist visa.  Easy to get, and then once you're in China, the school gets you the visa you need. 


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November 15, 2009, 05:14 AM


Thanks for the help!  Everyone I've spoken with has told me the same thing, just get there on a travellers Visa, get the job and convert it to a Z-Visa.  Looks like that's going to be the best course of action.

The ads I've looked at for teachers all say they'll get you the visa when you get the job.

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November 15, 2009, 05:26 AM

The one interesting thing about all that is that in the past (1990s), schools were in deep need for English speakers, and the colleges/universities were better able/more willing to work to get people work visas before they went to China.   That doesn't seem to be the case nowadays, for various reasons.

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November 15, 2009, 05:27 AM


Your plan is a fairly common one but note that you will have to leave the country to get your working visa. (Budget for a trip to Hong Kong.)  This has happened to an acquaintance of mine just in the last couple of weeks.  And then, within a month or receiving your work visa you have to apply for a residence permit (even though you have a 6 month or 12 month work visa.)  

Your work visa term is governed by the length of your contract. Teaching contracts are often for 10 months rather than 12.  They add a couple of weeks grace and that is the term of your visa.  You can however, with the help of your employer, apply for a tourist visa to extend your stay, or until you get another work contract.   

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November 15, 2009, 12:19 PM

@xiaohu, this website is for a commercial service, but it has lots of good links to forms related to a work visa.  My experience is a bit dated; however, previously, the major obstacle was getting a formal invitation from you 单位.  After that, everything else is more or less a formality.

It seems to me that, if you can get the invitation, are close enough to a consulate, and willing to take on a bit of paperwork, you should be able to handle it yourself.