Download a medical check form. Take this to a doctor in your home country and do the physical check. The doctor should complete, sign and stamp the form. You will also need to attach a passport sized photo (2”x 2”) on the top right part of the form.
Scan these forms and send digital copies directly to your school.
With these documents the school can obtain the work permit invitation papers for you. It will take them about 2-4 weeks to receive your paperwork.
They'll send you the work permit invitation papers via international courier (DHL, FedEx, etc.)
Go to the nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulate Office.
You'll need to bring:
The work permit and invitation letter
The completed Z-class visa application form
Your signed and stamped medical check form
A 2"x2" photo (full face, front view, no hat or cap, against a plain and light colored background)
The visa fee is about $150 - $200 depending on your nationality. Prices may be higher for express service. Keep the receipts because most schools will reimburse the cost of the visa.
You'll have your Z-class ENTRY visa in about 3-4 working days.
What comes next?
While you're waiting for your visa paperwork to finish, you can begin looking at airfare prices and prepare to book a ticket. Flight prices vary daily, so search a range of +/- two or three days of your target arrival date. Once you've found a flight that suits your budget, email the school to get approval on the date and arrival time. Websites like
Kayak and Orbitz are useful for comparing fare prices. You can even schedule pricing alerts so they email you when the price drops!
You've done your homework about the visa - now you can start your job search with confidence. Apply today to learn more about top teaching jobs in China!
The Z Visa: Getting a work (Z) visa is the first step to becoming legally employed as a teacher in China. In order to obtain this visa, the employer must get your work permit invitations from the local government.
We’ve listed the documents required in order to process the work permit invitation*:
Your university degree (not a transcript)
Your TESOL/CELTA certification or equivalent (TEFL is also okay!)
A health check-up obtained in your home country
A scanned copy of your valid passport (the information page)
A criminal background check, or "CBC" that indicates you have a clean record. Ask the school if you need to get a local police check or a federal check (the requirements vary by location).
Your contract signature page
A scanned copy of your TEFL / TESOL / CELTA certificate or other equivalent
*Different schools and cities may require slightly different documents; for details, please refer to the school for more information.
After you’ve sent these documents to school (electronic copies via email is OK) they will take them to the local government office for processing and send you the work permit invitation papers.
Obtaining the Z Visa: Step 1: While your school processes the work permit invitations for you, you can download and complete avisa application form (Z visa)
Step 2: Download a medical check form. Take this to a doctor in your home country and do the physical check. The doctor will complete the form, sign and stamp it. You will also need to attach a passport sized photo (2”x 2”) on the right top part of the form.
Step 3: You must scan these forms and send e-mail digital copies directly to your school. You also must sign and send the signed page of contract.
They will also need:
a scan of your passport information page,
a scan copy of your degree
a scan copy of your TESOL/TEFL certificate (if you have one)
With these documents your school can obtain the work permit invitation papers for you - it will take them about 2-4 weeks to receive your paperwork.
Step 4: They will send you the work permit invitation papers via an international courier service such as DHL.
Step 5: Go to the nearest Chinese Embassy or Chinese Consulate Office. You will need to bring:
The work permit invitation
The completed Z-class application form
Your signed and stamped Medical Check Form
Your Passport (must have 6 months validity remaining)
A 2x2 inch photo (full face, front view, no hat or cap, against a plain and light colored background)
The fee - you will need about $160-$200 depending on your nationality and if you need express service. Keep the receipts becausemost schools will reimburse the cost of the visa.
They will give you a Z-class ENTRY visa in about 4 working days.
What comes next?
While you are waiting for your visa paperwork to finish processing you can begin looking at airfare prices and prepare to book a ticket. Flight prices vary day-to-day, so we suggest you search within a range of plus/minus two or three days of a specific date – once you’ve found the flight that suits you best, e-mail the date to your school for approval. Websites like Kayak are useful for comparing fare prices - they can even send you e-mail alerts when the price drops!
One last thing...
Please note: The start date of your contract on the working permit and invitation letter is only for the purpose of completing the form in full before it is submitted to the local Chinese authorities. When you arrive in China, you will have to sign another contract which will match the date of your arrival and start date.
As soon as you arrive the school will then change your entry work (Z) visa to a one-year residence permit. This is important because it allows you to make multiple entries to China within the year.
Sound daunting? It's not as bad as you imagine!
The whole process sounds terribly complicated but your school HR department will walk you through the entire process - our staff at ESL Suite also has a lot of experience with obtaining Work (Z) Visas and we're happy to clarify any other questions you may have!