The New Chinese Z-Visa!

The Chinese z-visa, or work visa is a highly-coveted visa for any person aspiring to work in China.  For prospective English teachers, this is the end-all-be-all visa that allows you to stay in China for extended periods of time (roughly 1 year).  Over the past few years, as China’s visa system has developed and changed, there have been quite a few changes in the system of acquiring a Chinese Z-visa.

What is a Chinese Z-visa?

A Chinese Z-visa is the only visa that allows foreigners to legally work in China.  This visa is usually granted to English teachers by means of a Foreign Expert Certificate granted by the Chinese government.  The Foreign Expert Certificate requires an application from the prospective Foreign Expert, their resume, along with the authenticated copies (click the link to find out more on Authenticated Documents) of their most recent diploma and background check.  The decision to grant the Foreign Expert Certificate is largely based on the people at the local bureau handling the application, and the content within the resume.

What was the system for a Z-visa?

Before April 1st, 2017 the process was that any prospective teacher seeking a Chinese Z-visa would need to acquire a Foreign Expert Certificate, and then an employment letter from the school they would teach at.  Once they had both in hand, they could then apply for a Z-visa prior to going to China.  This system was rather convoluted as the Foreign Expert Certificate could only be obtained within China, and the Z-visa had to be applied for outside of China.  Talk about a catch-22.

What is the new system?

As of April 1st, 2017 the Chinese government will be implementing a new visa system that seems to be much more lenient than the current system.  Instead of requiring all the extra documents and application of a Foreign Expert Certificate, people seeking a Chinese Z-visa would be categorized into three levels A, B and C.  These levels are based on an applicant’s Education background, Chinese language ability, salary in China and work experience.  The points system is illustrated below.

What is Class A?

Class A applicants are considered Top Talents, and will have the easiest time obtaining the new visa.  Applicants falling under the A grouping will have over 85 points per the above chart.  This category is generally for people holding advanced degrees in their respective fields, are authorities on their fields, or have made substantial contributions to their industry through work or study.

What is Class B?

Class B is what we can call your typical educated worker and scores over 65 points per the chart.  People falling under this category should not have a difficult time obtaining their visa, but are most likely less of a priority than Class A applicants.  For regular workers, a bachelor’s degree and two years of work experience in a specific industry are needed.  For Prospective English Teachers, you must hold a bachelor’s degree and have two years of teaching experience.  Teachers with an undergraduate degree in Teaching, or those that hold a TEFL certificate are exempt from the two year teaching experience requirement.  Great news for new teachers!

What is Class C?

Class C applicants are going to have a difficult time obtaining their visa.  They are classified as unskilled workers, and score below 60 points per the chart.

Anything else to know?

YES! According to the new visa system you can now apply for your Z-visa online here:  This entire new visa system will be implemented as of April 1st 2017.  We can all now sigh a breath of relief for the developing Chinese visa system!

Visas, Benefits, and Salaries

121 thoughts on “The New Chinese Z-Visa!

  1. Pingback: China's High-Speed Rail 高铁 | Look For Teachers

  2. Adeel Akbar on Reply


    I am from Pakistan and now at Pakistan. I have received Alien Employment License (Jan 2017). Is it still valid to stamp Z visa?

    1. dancrice on Reply

      This should still be valid, although based on the new system, you may have to use a different set of documents to apply for the visa. I am not 100% sure of the Pakistani relationship with the visas, but it would be worth giving your embassy a call and asking.

  3. AMIT KUMAR on Reply

    I m Indian currently living in China , I want to open a restaurant in China for that I need to hire a Indian cook . What will be the procedure

    1. dancrice on Reply

      That is a good question. I believe if you own a WOFE (Wholly Owned Foreign Enterprise) there are different procedures for hiring employees. What this means is that it may be easier for you to get a visa for your employee. You can also look into a business visa which would be an F visa. The Z-visa is generally only required for foreigners that are working for a Chinese company.

  4. Pan675 on Reply

    I’m a qualified teacher with almost 3 years’ worth of experience in my field -6 months of which were in China – a bachelor’s degree in English Lit/ Linguistics , a Qualified Teacher in Britain with experience in pubic schools in London and survival level of Chinese. However, I’m not a native speaker of English by origin. Do the new regulations make it any harder to obtain a Z Visa for TEFL positions as such or do previous rules apply?

  5. Jimena on Reply

    Hello, before the chinese embassy asked us for backgound check and health exams to get a z visa. Do they still ask for those with the new visa system?

    1. dancrice on Reply

      There may be additional steps necessary to receive the visa, but as far as I know you will not need these now to obtain the visa itself.

  6. beth on Reply


    Should I bring original documents to China? When applying for residency permit in china, will i have to submit original documents, and will I get them back? Or can I submit notarized copies of original documents?

    Thank you

    1. dancrice on Reply

      You can bring your original documents, but i would not. The best way, as you have said, is to get the documents notarized (and for diplomas Apostilled which you can find out about here: The apostilled diploma will suffice. I would strongly suggest that you never give out your original documents, as I have heard some horror stories about never getting them back.

  7. Mari-Janet Lamprecht on Reply

    Good day

    I am currently in China and my school applied for a work permit online…
    Whereafter i will apply for a Z visa in Hongkong. I am from South africa… i got my degree & non criminal record check notarized by
    – high court in SA
    -a notarized attorney in SA
    -The South African embassy in Beijing

    PSB now said but how do they know if my actual degree is true…as the stamps/authentication etc says “this is a true copy of the original”
    They argue that the copy is true and but how do they know my original is true
    Second question- Is it fine if my documents are stamped by SA embassy in beijing and not chinese embassy in South Africa??


    1. dancrice on Reply

      Hello Mari-Janet, proving that a degree conferred to you is true is not too difficult. From what I have found the best way to prove its authenticity is to also provide you transcripts from the school. This can be official or unofficial transcripts. Demonstrating that you indeed have the transcript to match the degree will most likely remove all doubt from the PBS (although they can be quite picky!) For the second question, it is fine if you have the documents stamped by your embassy. If it is a simple notarization, you can even find a local notary that can stamp your documents. Good luck! and if you have any other questions feel free to ask!

  8. dennajort on Reply


    I have a question about the “Related working years” section, does it include time passed working in internships ?

    Thanks !

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Hello! Yes, related working years does include time spent in internships. Full-time job experience is preferred, but any work experience counts towards the total, whether unpaid or paid.

    1. dancrice on Reply

      The Z-visa does not require drug testing, but you may have to go through a health checkup before you are issued your permanent resident paperwork while in China.

  9. Paul Salazar on Reply

    Hi. Do I need to notarize all my documents (CV etc) before submitting them to the schools/recruiters in China?

    1. dancrice on Reply

      It would be best to notarize all of your documents, as you will have to submit certified copies for your visa.

  10. alex on Reply

    I am an American citizen,
    my university degree is from Italy
    and my teaching license from the Usa
    The school currently asked me to authenticate my certificates.
    1) Would it be accepted to authenticate my degree in Italy and my teaching license in the states?
    2) Once I obtain my z visa will my authenticated copies be returned to me?
    So when I apply again for a new job in another school I would not need to get my degrees notarized again

    1. dancrice on Reply

      You can most likely get all of your documents authenticated at a Chinese embassy in the U.S. either New York, or D.C. and I believe there is one in California. There are also services that you can purchase that will authenticate the documents for you remotely. I would not count on getting the documents back, so I would make copies and get the copies authenticated. I would never submit your original documents, as I have heard horror stories of people submitting original documents and never getting them returned.

  11. alex on Reply

    I am an American citizen,
    my university degree is from Italy
    and my teaching license from the Usa
    Can I get an english teaching job with a z visa even if my degree is not from a native speaking country but my passport is American?

    1. dancrice on Reply

      That should be fine, as long as the Italian school is accredited. The most important thing is that you are a native speaker of English and have a USA teaching license.

  12. john warrington on Reply

    I am currently in China working but for the new contract as i will be changing companies i need my document notorised by the Chinese Embassy in Australia. Is true and how can i do this from China?

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Good question! As far as I know, most companies would like the documents notarized by the Chinese embassy, or a local Chinese government office. If you are able, go to the Chinese embassy in a foreign country, or your home country. If you are unable, you can try the office for entry and exit (外国人入境出境中部), or a local police station. They want to see the stamp and seal of the Chinese government verifying the veracity of the documents.

  13. sacha on Reply


    I was wondering if you could please give me some advice regarding working Z Visas for China.

    I am a U.K. Citizen and went to Massey University in NZ as I have dual citizenship there.

    I am currently travelling around SE Asia and I am in Hanoi, Vietnam. I was offered a role to teach English at a school in Harbin, Heilongjiang, China.

    To obtain a Z Visa they require a notarised copy of my degree. I don’t have my degree, it’s in the UK.

    I have been in touch with my university in NZ and it is illegal to send me out another degree. They can send me the following:

    A Certificate of Attainment which is a Certificate supplied by Massey University that proves that you are either eligible to graduate or have graduated with a Massey University qualification. Certificates of Attainment are only issued for completed qualifications and, where appropriate, the Certificate will state that your qualification was taught in English. They can be used to provide evidence that a qualification has been completed between the date that you complete your study and the date when you formally graduate (at a ceremony or through a Massey University Academic Board meeting) and receive a scroll (degree certificate).

    Academic Records which display all the courses you have been enrolled in, the grades you have received and, where applicable, your eligibility to graduate with Massey University qualifications or your conferred Massey University qualifications. Academic Records are issued without alteration or erasure and so will include all pass and fail grades, any courses you may have withdrawn from without academic penalty (WD grades) and any courses not completed (DNC grades).

    Both the Certificate or Attainment and the Academic Record I can get notarised by the NZ embassy here in Vietnam.

    Can you please let me know if these documents are acceptable in lieu of my physical degree to obtain the Z Visa. Please note that I do have my degree in digital format but I’m not able to get this notarised as it is not the original.

    Any advice you can give me would be much appreciated.

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Hello Sacha, in response to your questions, I believe that you should be alright using the Certificate of Attainment for the process. Keep in mind, more notarized information is better than less information in obtaining your visa. The school which you will work at will use those documents to apply for an Alien Employment License, and will use the Certificate of Attainment for getting this license. You can also print out a copy of the degree and include that in your packet. I would encourage getting notarized copies of all the documents that you submit, and to never submit originals.

  14. Sacha on Reply

    Thank you for your reply, only did I make it clear that I can’t get the copy of my degree notarised as I don’t have the original. Do you think this will be a problem giving that I am sending the certificate of attainment which will be notarised. Thank you

  15. on Reply

    My daughter accepted a job at a school in Beijing. She got all her documents into the employer, only to find out her z Visa was delayed, because of the new regulations. How long should we expect to wait before her Visa is approved ?. It’s been st least 2 months since she got all of her documents submitted. Her future employer is handling everything for her.

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Thank you for your comment. So there is currently a delay in the system as it is transitioning. Unfortunately I cannot give you an accurate estimate of the wait that your daughter will have. Alot of this depends on the school’s relationship with the local government, and their ability to quickly secure the correct documents from the business side of the school. The best thing to do would be to consistently ask for status updates, or for any progress by the school. Most of the time you have to push to get things through.

  16. John on Reply

    Hello there,

    I am a UK citizen looking to teach in China. I have heard different things in regards to requirements, is it true that you need two years teaching experience now? I have a BA (hons) degree in English but have just been told that I would need 2 years teaching experience? Is this true or is this subject to the school?

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Hello John, thanks for the comment. The visa policy requires 2 years of working, not specifically in teaching. That being said, the employer may have their own requirements for teaching, but this is normally overlooked if you have a TEFL or equivalent certificate.

  17. zee on Reply

    Hi there,

    I have a 3 year national Diploma from a university of technology in South Africa, and my husband has a 2 year diploma from a marketing college. We have completed our 140 hour TEFL course. Do you think, with the new regulations, we can still be able to obtain the Z visa in China or is it a lost cause for us?

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Thank you for the comment Zee! I have responded to other people asking a similar question. As South Africa is one of the countries marked “quais-native English speaking” country you should fall under a higher priority category for the gov’t. That being said, alot depends on the school at which you will be teaching. If they have strong relationships or Guanxi, then you should be able to get your Z-visa. Also if you elect to teach in the high demand regions of the country, that would help.

  18. Yuvie on Reply

    Hi there,
    I have over 3 years of (unrelated to teaching) working experience. I am a native Mauritian ( my official languages are English and French). I have 2 bachelors whereby one of my majors is Linguistics from a recognized English speaking South African university ( University of Cape Town) . I have been contacted by a few recruiters from China for several teaching positions. I wanted clarification with regards on whether the fact that I hold a Mauritian passport be an issue for applying for Z work permit? Thank you for your reply.

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Hello Yuvie! Thanks for the comment. The fact that you have a Mauritanian passport may cause issues, as the Chinese government has a short list of what qualifies as a “native English speaking country”. That being said, it really depends on the school that is hiring you. If they have strong connections, they may be able to help you obtain the visa.

  19. Jewel on Reply

    I am a Jamaican citizen who completed an online TEFL. I am currently visiting family in DC. I have a copy of the TEFL Certificate, is it possible to have it Authenticated in the US or I must return to Jamaica? Is it possible to Authenticate an online certificate?


    Hi I’m an Indian Teaching English for 4 years in China. I like to know that if I want to continue working in china would it e possible to get the working permit for the nest year. If it’s possible plzz kindly let me know ASAP and the requirement also.


    1. dancrice on Reply

      As far as I know, if you already have a work permit, and a permanent residence approval, than renewing your status should be relatively easy. Your school/ company should be able to handle the renewal. I do not believe you will need additional documents besides your current permit, and the basic identification materials.

  21. Naresh on Reply

    Hi I am an Indian Currently working in china . I have an year gap between my graduation and Two years full time work experience in india & 6 months full time work experience in china . Beacause of an year gap after my graduation Do you think, with the new regulations, Can i Change My Work Permit With New Employer?

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Thank you for your comment Naresh! From my understanding, if you already have your work permit, to renew it will be a different process (and easier) than completely reapplying for a z-visa. As far as I know you should be able to renew you work permit without too much of a hassle.

  22. Arnish on Reply


    I got a job offer from Dalian, China and the company I’m going to work for tried applying Visa B category for me. But I failed, as I only had 57 points.
    I’m a Malaysian and the job demand in Dalian is extremely limited. And the company is struggling to find a replacement due to the lack of Malaysians that’s fit for the role. Is there a way to appeal? I’m only 3 points short.

  23. Nicola Tollett Jefferson on Reply

    I was told that only my highest degree needs to be authenticated. Do you think that I should get my undergraduate degree authenticated also?

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Thanks for the comment. It is always best to get all degrees authenticated, especially if you are already getting one done. That being said, just having the highest degree should be fine.

  24. David Robert Whittall on Reply

    I have been working as a Native English Teacher in China for past 5 years (10 x Semesters.

    Hunan University informed me could not extend my existing Contact before 1st April (so it was a ‘modified’ existing Contract), as it was not the Policy of HNU, to issue Contracts above 12 months/10 months salary.

    They informed me they could not offer me a new Contract because of my age!

    I am now 62 years old, and it seems China is applying age discrimination!

    If I obtained HSK4 = +8 points, and offered a Teaching job, say in a ‘Training School’, paying > CNY >250,000 = +6 points.
    But even if that took me to 60 Points, I was told my age of 62 would count against me, as Category ‘B’ for Foreign Teachers was under age 60!

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Thanks for the comment Mr. Whittal. Unfortunately, it does seem to be the case that the visa office is cracking down on age. While this is discriminatory from the western perspective, I believe their motive is to prevent issues that may be health related, or to ensure that they have “young and enthusiastic” teachers. As an American, I do find this arbitrary age limit to be rather disgruntling, but there is not much that we can do about this. I have a friend that ran into the same issue, and it seems that there is now way around it. You might consider using a business visa, as there seems to be no age limit on this. Otherwise, I am sorry that you have run into this issue, and I hope for the sake of everyone that the age limit is removed in the future. As we all know more experience generally relates to more knowledge and skill.

  25. Gene on Reply

    I’m a math/science teacher with a master’s degree in education from an American university and seven years teaching experience at international schools. My passport, however, is not from one of the native English speaking countries. When I was interviewing for the teaching position in China, they assured me repeatedly that there will not be an issue with my work permit application for two reasons: (1) I’m a math/science teacher, not an English teacher, and (2) I have a degree from a native English speaking country (USA). It’s been more than two months since all the documents have been submitted, and their last reply was that the delay was due to a recent online system. Do you think there is still a chance or I should write it off as a lost cause and move on to other opportunities? Most of the comments I see here and elsewhere have to do with English teachers only, not teachers of other subjects. I’d be grateful if you could shed some light on this (I believe rather unique) situation.

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Hello Gene, thanks for the comment. So I help people handle their z-visa applications, which takes a lot of correspondence with the Chinese schools. The biggest issue right now is that since there has been a change in the z-visa application and approval system, the schools are frantically trying to figure out the new system. That has lead to a lot of delays on the visa processing, and has caused anxiety for both the applicants and the schools. This being said, I would not count it as a lost situation (I have one person who has been waiting for 2+ months and is still in the process). With the new process, everyone needs to have a bit of patience, and to not get discouraged. If the school says they can handle it, than they most likely can handle it. If they were quoting other issues rather than the new system I would be worried, but seeing as they say it is the new online system I believe that that truly is the issue. Good luck, and keep us updated on your situation!

      1. Gene on Reply

        Finally some good news! They told me a couple of days ago that my application was approved in the online system, and that the application should be finalized once all the hard documents have been turned in. (Apparently, the initial approval or rejection is solely based on the scanned documents uploaded onto the system.) They also admitted to having messed up the original application in the new online system and had to reapply: hence, the unreasonable delay. They are yet to send me the notification letter, which I then have to take to the local embassy to get the Z-visa, but the bit of good news has done wonders for my morale as I have been waiting for two and a half months. More updates as I receive them, but I wanted to thank you for your encouragement when I was on the verge of giving up.

        1. dancrice on Reply

          Great news Gene! I figured that there was something funky going on from their side, the new system has so many people confused. Perseverance is key to the process. Congratulations!

  26. Craig on Reply

    Hi, I feel I need to share my experience thus far with getting my Z Visa in China, if not to help others but to hear others experience. I have a contract to teach outside of Shanghai. As instructed by my employer, I’ve notarized and apostilled at the Secretary of State my Master’s degree, TEFL certification, and state background check (FBI isn’t good enough). My documents are currently with Chinese consulate in my state. I was just told by my employer today a new policy published yesterday by the foreign expert bureau saying for the authentication, not only oath on document is enough any more, they want is some one to prove that the certificates (degree, background, TEFL) they are true. UGH!

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Thanks for sharing your story! Sorry about the hassle they are giving you. I have been handling a few associate’s Z-visa processes and it is very confusing and changing all the time. I once interviewed a member of a visa services department located directly above the Chinese embassy, and when asking about the specific process for obtaining a Z-visa he actually laughed, and said “It is very complicated”. There is a poor combination of the new regulations going into effect, and the stakeholders not really sure how the new regulations apply that is leading to a lot of confusions among all aspiring Z-visa applicants. I can only hope that this process gets streamlined in the future.

    2. Derek Anderson on Reply

      Hi Craig,

      I was just scrolling through your comments and thought I’d chime in. It took me 3 months to get my background and diploma notarized and authenticated. Unfortunately, you need to get the documents authenticated. They won’t accept apostle. Depending on your states jurisdiction, you may need to go one step further and get them authenticated through the Dept. of State before the Chinese consulate before they accept them as being true documents. Hope this helps.

      Best Regards,


      1. dancrice on Reply

        Thanks for your story Derek. This does seem to be the case. They want them to be apostilled and then authenticated by the Chinese consulate (take roughly 3 months like in your case). They keep adding additional layers to the authentication process to ensure that people are not utilizing fake degrees to obtain their work permits. It is a pain for all hopefuls, but it does improve the quality of teachers going to China. Before long, everyone may be required to have a masters (We can already see this by the no need for work experience if you have one.) For now, we just have to play by the system.

  27. Mapule on Reply

    Hi.Apparently South African teachers were deemed as non-native English speakers in China on May 1st. Do you know if this still stands?? I want to change my employer and I would like to know if getting my Visa transferred won’t be a problem. I don’t want to rock the boat if this law is still in effect. Thank you

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Hello, and thanks for the comment. Unfortunately they did change things up a bit with who qualifies as a native-speaker. As far as I know the list includes Canada, The U.S., the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. If you currently have a work permit, or permanent resident permit, the process should be easier for you. As far as I know the restrictions for people form English native-speaking countries only applies to people applying for a Z-visa, and not transferring a current permanent residence permit.

  28. Rhys Richards-Jones on Reply


    I’m a British Citizen and a native english speaker with a law degree from the UK. I am looking to do TEFL as i have a job lined up starting in just one 1 month so I’m under s huge time constraint.

    The main thing i am wondering is, seeing as there are so many TEFL providers, will i be able to get a visa with any TEFL certificate or will it need to be from a certain company etc ?

    Secondly, I’ve applied for a basic criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland, do you know if this will be sufficient ?


    1. dancrice on Reply

      Hello, and thank you for the comment. I would do your due diligence and check out some forums about different TEFL courses and the reviews netizens have given them. There are a a lot of courses available, and most will suffice you could check into or Those seem to be highly promoted, and should be acceptable.

      In terms of the background check, for U.S. citizens they generally require one of the state background checks including fingerprinting, etc. For the UK, i would go with the highest level background check that you can reasonably obtain.

      Good luck!

  29. marc on Reply

    Hello ! i heard that starting this year (2017) , for Filipinos like me, we should have our certs and diploma authenticated by the china embassy even if we are just renewing our visas. should we still go back home or is there another option to do it true is this.

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Hello Marc. Thanks for the comment. I have heard the same thing, and just finished reading an article on this ( For the renewal of your FEC you will most likely have to go through similar steps as applying for it in the first place. That being said, I would definitely authenticate the documents if you plan is to stay in China. Im not sure if you will be able to apostille documents as the Philipines is not part of the Hague Apostille Convention ( You will have to check with the Chinese consulate on how to authenticate Philipines diplomas, and if this requires apostilling the diploma. If you do have to authenticate the documents, you should be able to achieve this through a series of mailing the documents and employing Authentication companies to actually get the document authenticated by a Chinese Consulate. I hope this helps.

  30. Ramin on Reply

    I am an Iranian who wants to apply for ESL job in China, but most of the schools announced that due to VISA restrictions they do not approve non-natives. Based on my researches there is no restrictions for non-natives, is that right or I am wrong?

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Hello Ramin, thanks for the comment. With the new changes in the Chinese z-visa system have come some more strict restrictions on what qualifies as “native-speaker”. This is a highly contentious subject that is prone to a lot of debate within the TESL field. Unfortunately China is a polarizing country in this debate as they are black and white in the native/ non-native argument. While not explicitly barred from obtaining a work visa, there are many soft bars in place that make it exponentially more difficult. The first being the requirement of non-native speaker to hold a degree from a native-English speaking country, I do believe this one is non-negotiable. The second is the school seeking teachers that are able to employ foreigners usually target native-speakers. I have seen and there are a few job postings on this site that look for non-native speakers, but usually for teaching foreign languages such as Russian, Ukrainian, Spanish or French. So while I do not believe that there is a set in stone law that says non-native speakers cannot obtain a z-visa to teach English, it may prove to be very difficult. Best of luck, and I hope that this can change one day.

  31. Reva kullan on Reply

    Hi there,
    I am South African and I am applying for my work visa for china. I obtained my tefl certificate online via a UK institution. How do i go about authenticating it? Dept if international relatio s in south africa advised they will not be able to legalise it as it was not from a south african institution.

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Thanks for the comment Reva! I can only really speak to how to authenticate documents in the U.S., but the process should be similar. I do not think that you will have to get the TEFL certificate authenticated, but certainly will have to get your Diploma authenticated. For authentication, you will need to make a copy of your document, and get it notarized with two statements stating that it is an official unaltered copy of the original and signed in front of the notary, with the notary further testifying that you signed it in front of them. Once notarized, you then get it apostilled (fancy way of saying further notarized by the gov’t) by a local government authentication agency (we have state-dedicated authentication offices). In South Africa, there is a similar service see here: Once it is apostilled, you then need to bring it to the Chinese Consulate for authentication. This is when they will make sure that your degree check out and is an actually degree issued from the university. You can learn more about the Chinese Consulate requirements here: That final authenticated degree is what you need for your visa application. If you need to do international authentication, I would look up a service that can apostille the document within the UK. I hope this helps.

  32. Derek Anderson on Reply


    I am scheduled to start a new position in Guangzhou on Sept. 1st. My old residence permit expired and had to go back to America for a funeral. My new school has to start the new process for a visa and they have started this process about 10 working days ago They have all of the necessary paperwork (FEC cancellation, notarized authenticated documents, reference/resignation letters from previous school, health check, etc). The HR rep at my school told me that it will take 60 days to process the application for the working visa. However, I have done this is the past and other consultants told me it should only take 15 working days to process the application. Do you know if there is any truth to the 60 days? Thanks!

    Best Regards,

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Hello Derek. Thanks for the background. I am inclined to agree with your analysis. If you have all of the paperwork and have previously held your FEC, the process should be easier. Normally the lengthy process comes from the business side having to obtain a license from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security to employ foreigners. If the school that you have accepted the new position in does not currently have this license, then this may be why they quoted you the 60 days. If they do currently have the license, then the 15 day process would apply. Since they have all of the documentation needed for them to apply for the license, I would maintain a high level of contact with them and keep pushing them to speed the process up. In terms of actual processing time, neither obtaining the license on the business end or applying for the visa at the consulate in total should take 60 days, and should be more along the lines of 30 days (with shipping documents, awaiting license and visa approval, and possible physical travel to the Ministry and Consulate). The only reason that the process may be lengthened would be due to a lack of diligence in visiting the government entities and shipping the documents. If you push the school, and talk to the people that actually will handle the physical application process, then you should be able to shorten your timeline, and likewise personally go to the consulate and use the rush visa services. If you are sending the documents world-wide and are really pressing to go, it may also be worth while to pay the hefty fee to use Global Express Shipping. So in summary, keep pushing to finish the process. I hope this helps a little. Good luck!

  33. Jennifer on Reply

    Will notarized and legalized transcript of academic achievement of university degree be sufficient for Chinese visa.

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Hello Jennifer, thanks for the comment. As I have said to Vick, I would absolutely use your diploma. You can get a notarized and authenticated copy of the diploma which will also work. Transcripts should only be used as a supplemental item, and will probably not work for the official process, but you never know (especially if the official transcript denotes that you have formally graduated). If you do try and use the transcript, please let us all know how it goes.

  34. David on Reply

    Hi Dan,
    Great article. I am applying for ESL jobs in China. I have a degree and masters and several years experience working in digital marketing. I have also recently completed my CELTA course. My GF got a job in an international school so that’s my motivation for going to China.

    Unfortunately I have a minor conviction for possession of marijuana dating back to 2000. I was a stupid teenager albeit an adult. Would this preclude me from getting the Z visa?

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Hello David, thanks for the comment.

      While any criminal offense is a mark against you while applying, I am not sure that it would 100% preclude you from getting the visa. When applying, the government should take into account all of your credentials. Good luck!

  35. Vick Sirius on Reply

    Thank you for taking the time to do this for people. I was wondering about certificate hours. The new regs call for 160 hour cert. the school’s contract called for 120. I have a 140. Is there a possibility that my work permit will be rejected because of this silly technicallity?

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Hi Vick! Thanks for the comment. The regulations tend to be fairly strict, though for such a nuanced issue, I do not think it will matter very much. As the school only requires 120, you should be fine. The important thing is that you have all the other accompanying accreditation such as at least a bachelor’s degree, the background check, etc.

  36. Paul on Reply

    I have just completed my degree but not receive it until next month on graduation day. Does anyone know if I can use my official academic transcript as notarized for a Chinese work visa?

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Hey Paul, thanks for the comment. I would strictly use your degree. For some reason the image of the degree holds much more importance to the officials than a transcript. That being said, you can give it a shot. You will have to get your degree/ transcript certified by a Chinese embassy (for a small fee). Good luck!

  37. Zahra on Reply

    First of all, it’s so nice of you that you’re replying to each and every post with detailed long answers. I have gained alot by going through your replies. One thing I particularly want to ask what other thing (apart from getting degree from english speaking country) can benefit a non native who wants to acquire a Z Visa. What I have got from your comments that a good school with strong connections can help u get a visa no matter u r non native or doesn’t have any degree from UK, USA etc.
    I’m talking here for esl teaching

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Hello Zahra, thanks for the comment. I’m glad the responses have helped. The only other things that may benefit a non-native English speaker would be the location that you are going to go teach in, and your Chinese language ability. The more in-demand locations will be more lenient. This means that the more destitute areas such as Western China, South East China and the poor areas will have lower requirements for the teaching positions, and will be more flexible in their hiring. Higher levels of Chinese, or specializations also will help!

  38. Ahmad on Reply


    I hold a graduate TESOL diploma from an American university. However, I am not a native speaker of the English language. My question is, will the government accept to issue me a Z visa?

    Thank you!

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Hello Ahmad, and thanks for the comment. This will largely depend on the hiring school, and their ability to secure a visa for a non-native speaker. Additionally, if you have higher levels of education that will help your application. Good luck!

  39. Scott on Reply


    I am a citizen from Trinidad and Tobago with a passport from Trinidad and tobago. I presently have a TEFL 100 hour certificate and Bsc degree from Toronto, Canada. With all these considered, would I be able to work in China as an ESL teacher? Is there a nationality requirement to teach English in China?

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Hello Scott, while there are no real nationality requirements for working as an ESL teacher in China, the government does favor native-English speaking countries. Because you have your degree from a native-English speaking country, this will help you in your z-visa application process. Normally if you are a non-native English speaker, the requirement is to get a degree from a native-English speaking country, so good work!

  40. Pingback: Authenticate Documents: An In-Depth Guide | Look For Teachers

  41. Kristel on Reply

    Hi! I’m have to renew my residence permit that I obtained through my working visa. With the previous system I knew how to do it but with the new one I have no idea how to do this and how long it will take. And the other thing is I can’t find the required documents I have to present for the renewal. I’m from Costa Rica and I’m currently working in the northeast of China. Thanks in advance for your help

  42. richardmateus on Reply

    Your help would be greatly appreciated.
    I have been working in China for nearly two years now.
    I am currently on my second residence permit.
    But now I am having a problem with an employer who is refusing to give me a release letter. Can I leave the country and apply for a new z visa with less hassle? Am I already on the system or do I have to input everything from scratch?

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Hey there Richard, thanks for the comment. During my research on the open ex-pat forums, getting the release letter is usually one way the employer is able to kind of “hold” onto you. You will absolutely need this letter to maintain good standing within the system. The best way to do this is to complete all obligations in your contract and approach the boss directly. It will take some tact to get the letter, but nothing is ever easy. Good luck, and use all the negotiating skills you have!

  43. Arthur Santos on Reply

    Hello, it is really nice to see that you are still replying the comments here!

    I am Brazilian and I have been trying to find an opportunity to work in China as an ESL teacher. I have been working as an ESL teacher for more than 5 years already but most of the schools that have reached me claimed the government will not issue a Z-Visa for me as I am Brazilian and I do not hold a passport from the big 5 (UK, US, NZ, Australia or Canada) – my passport is Brazilian.

    How true is that? This is really disappointing as I am qualified, I have got over 5 years of experience in teaching English, I hold a Bachelor degree in English Language Teaching and I have been studying Chinese language for 4 years, but I do not think schools are willing to hire me just because of my passport, which is ridiculous.
    Any advice?

  44. Ranger on Reply

    Hi I have a 3 Year Dilpoma from South Africa. I noted that the entrance requirement for China is a Bachelors Degree. I would love the opportunity to Teach English in China. Are there Schools that would accept such a case or an agency I could approach ?

  45. Sophie on Reply

    Hi. I’m still confused with the points system.

    I have a bachelor’s degree and will have a master’s degree by the time I apply for a visa. I will be 22 years old, I am from the uk. I’m not sure what area of china I will be going to yet, and my pay will bot be high if I am teaching english (I will be doing a tefl course). How many points do I?

    Bare in mind I have 0 years in work experience(as have just been in uni since school). Do you need two years of any work experience no matter what?

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Hi Sophie, thanks for the comment. You will need two years of work experience unless your degree (full bachelor’s) is in education, or if you hold a master’s degree. Since you will have your master’s then you will not need any work experience. Get the TEFL certificate and you should be fine to get a Z-visa.

      1. Lisa Pollins on Reply

        Hi Dancrice,

        It is costing more than I expected to get my documents notarized and legalized by the Chinese embassy. Do I need to get my BA and Masters degree legalized or would the higher one suffice?

        I can’t seem to find any information on this and do not want to risk slowing down the process if I am mistaken. I would really appreciate your help on this matter.


        1. dancrice on Reply

          The Master’s degree should suffice as it is generally the last degree that you received. If the price is a concern you can try with just the Masters, but if you can I would suggest having both.

  46. Daniel on Reply


    I am a native English speaker from Canada.
    I have 11 years of experience as an ECE (Early Childhood Educator), however I have only a diploma and not a degree.

    Would this be a problem?
    I’ve done the points calculation several times, and even if I don’t hold the BA degree, I fall under the class B visa category.

    I’m confused now as I’m not sure if the points system is enough to get the working ‘Z’ visa.

    I am already in China and have all my documents with me, so that is not an issue.

    Your advice would be greatly appreciated.


  47. Victoria on Reply

    I need some clarification and help really urgently! I/m so confused.
    I have the second residence permit and foreign expert certificate. I’m from Russia. So, I will leave my current school soon. Can they cancel my FEC or residence permit? Can I still get new documents if I change a school? What documents do I need to get from my school?

    Thank you for your answer in advance.
    And really really waiting for your answer!

  48. Gino on Reply

    Hi there,

    I’m from South Africa and I have been working in China for two years now. I started up North and have moved down the Zhejiang Province. Both schools accepted my 3 year national diploma (no degree) but now with these new regulations, I am worried about my future here. If I plan on moving to another city and school, what are my chances? I do not hold my original documents with me, only copies.

    Side question – What countries could one teach in, where all this isn’t an issue? No worrying about a degree or points or age.

  49. Basil on Reply

    I have a question. In your blog, it says you need your latest diploma authenticated. I have a B.A. and an M.A. Does that entail that I only need to get the M.A. authenticated? Should I get my B.A. authenticated to be on the safe side?

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Thanks for the comment. Yes, I would get both authenticated to be safe, but you will probably only need your Master’s authenticated.

  50. Alex on Reply

    Hi I am an american citizen wanting to work in China.
    I wanted to know if the degree must be re authenticated every time you change a job or is it just a one time process?
    Since I am an American resident in Italy could an Italian police check be accepted instead of the fbi check ?
    Thank You

  51. Muhammad Kamal on Reply

    Hello Dancrice, you are doing great job by providing guidance and detailed answers to different queries.

    I got approval for postdoctoral fellowship from Henan university. My documents will soon be forwarded for work permit and invitation letter.

    My simple question is that how much time it takes to get the work permit?


  52. Amanda on Reply


    I am currently in the process of getting all of my documents and degree authenticated to teach in China. My employer is requiring me to do a health exam in the states and then one in China when I get there and is requiring me to get the no criminal report before they issue my work visa. They are expecting me to get this all done pretty quickly. My problem is that this information is all from a state that I no longer reside in. Therefore, I have to go through many hoops to get almost everything taken care of from the state in which I use to live and I have not been in my current state for very long. Once I get everything done, it has to go straight to Washington DC. Anyway, the Chinese embassy for my state is saying (according to their site) that I have to send both original and photo copies of the documents. As I have read, you have suggested not to send the original documents, but would that also include the passport? Would the documents need to be colorized and not in black and white? I have been to China a couple of times before for different reasons, but this time is entirely different. And I have to say this whole experience has been very stressful. I will be glad when this part is all over with.

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Thanks for the comment. by saying do not send all of your documents I mean do not give them to the school that you will be working at. It is necessary to send the originals to the embassy, and this is fine, they are trustworthy for these, the passport as well. This time is entirely different, and I wish you luck.

  53. Mohana on Reply

    Hello.I have Bechelor degree and 2 and half years work experience in relevant skill.But the company I work for more than 2 years ,I left on December 2016.Now I m working in a different place. So please tell me it will be problem for getting work permit for Shanghai, China?My employer emailed me that the issue arise for my gap in experience. Please let me know my possibilities getting work permit for Z visa.

  54. Sue on Reply

    Hi , I am a South African , I recently worked in China on a Z visa but since this year I am finding it a little difficult for a school to get me a working visa. I have a college montessori early childhood diploma and many years of teaching experience and TEFL Masters. Will I be able to get a Z visa ? I really need some help on this matter. Thanks.

  55. Mahdi on Reply


    First let me appreciate your amazing patience replying every single comment.
    I’m an Iranian holding a bachelor degree in English linguistics but I have graduated in an Iranian university and I have a Tesol certificate 120hr received from WLC in UK. I also have been teaching English since 2009 to different range of students from beginner to advanced. By all mentioned conditions and considering my nationality, do you think I would have a chance to find a job and get a Z- Visa in China?

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Hello Madhi, Sorry for the delay. I do believe that you would stand a chance at receiving a Z-visa. You will just need to find a job opportunity that can sponsor you. Good luck.

  56. Albana on Reply

    I have an TEFL certificate from Via Lingua, Florence, Italy and a master of science diploma from Albania. I found a contract to teach english in China. I am Albanian citizen. Am I eligible and qualified for a China work permit? And if so, what document are needed to deliver to the government agency to have the China work permit?
    Thank you in advance.

  57. Albana on Reply

    I have an TEFL certificate and a master of science diploma. I found a contract to teach english in China. I am Albanian citizen. Am I eligible and qualified for a China work permit? And if so, what document are needed to deliver to the government agency to have the China work permit?
    Thank you in advance.

  58. Eel on Reply


    I got a job offer from a school in Nanjing and l have sent all my documents that includes,TEFL 120hrs,Diploma in IT ,Police clearance.These documents have been notarised by the Chinese consulate in South Africa except my Diploma which was notarised by the Chinese Consulate of my country of origin which is Zimbabwe.Last Friday my employer send me a document written Application form for foreigner’s work permit ,of which l signed and returned .Now l wanted to find out how it works when l get my permit,do l apply for the visa on my own or my employer will do it for me?

  59. Gabriel Fishman on Reply

    Hello, I am a British citizen with a job offer in China. I have looked at your table and i qualify as a category B applicant, but I only have one year’s work experience on my CV relevant to the field I am working in. Will this stop me getting a Z visa altogether?

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Thanks for the comment. This should not stop you from getting a z-visa. Consult with the company that has given you the offer for more info, but I believe you should be fine.

  60. on Reply

    I’m a black southafrican Iv just received my work permit and now I Gota apply for a working Z visa here in S.A before I travel to china 🇨🇳. My question is , when applying for a Z working visa do they require that you provide proof of income ? I mean I haven’t been working for months now due to the fact that I left my job thinking I was going to travel sooner unfortunately the whole process of docs and all took months. Will I be allowed using my partner’s proof of income? 🙏🏾 Thank you .

    1. dancrice on Reply

      Thanks for the comment. You should be able to use your partner’s proof of income if you are married. I believe you can also use your parents. Basically the government just wants to know that you will not enter China and then become homeless. Good luck.

  61. Peter F on Reply

    As a foreigner working in China, are you supposed to be in possession of your FEC? Or is your school meant to keep it for you?

    1. dancrice on Reply

      You should hold onto it. A lot of the times schools will ask for your documents to keep them, but you should always hold onto your own documents.

    1. dancrice on Reply

      The medical check will not include a specific drug test, but there will be blood tests once you are in China. I would just advise refraining for the use of drugs. There is no reason to take an unnecessary risk.

  62. Ismail on Reply

    Thank you for replying to all those several questions which are give us really I good informations.
    My question is , I’m management trainee in a Sheraton hotel now , the accept to apply me for Z visa , i have 2 years experience between jobs and internships, 1st question : if I have 2 years experience and bachelor degree and the support of my company will make my application strong even I didn’t get 60 points. 2nd question: 2 years experience should be the same field that I’m working in or doesn’t matter Wich field ? 3rd question : does the Chinese government really check the reference of my letter appointment of the previous works in my country, call them and check with them the work experience ?
    Thank you

  63. Alex on Reply

    Hi am an american teacher living in italy and I want to work in China
    can I get an italian police check to apply for a z visa ?

  64. Ismail on Reply

    Thank you for replying to all those several questions which are give us really I good informations.
    My question is , I’m management trainee in a Sheraton hotel now , the accept to apply me for Z visa , i have 2 years experience between jobs and internships, 1st question : if I have 2 years experience and bachelor degree and the support of my company will make my application strong even I didn’t get 60 points. 2nd question: 2 years experience should be the same field that I’m working in or doesn’t matter Wich field ? 3rd question : does the Chinese government really check the reference of my letter appointment of the previous works in my country, call them and check with them the work experience ?

  65. Vhickah on Reply


    Thank you so much for your help , unfortunately me and my partner are not married and I can’t use my moms proof of Income as she is a pensioner and I come from a very disadvantaged background, is there anything else that can be done ? I mean accommodation and everything else will be provided so I will definitely not be homeless, I just wished they ddnt ask for no proof of income 😂 I mean it’s a working visa there for I’m going there to work not to laze around . Anyway thank you .

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