So you’re probably here if have recently accepted a position in China or are weighing the options of countries to work in based on the work that goes into getting a visa. Well I’m here to tell you, China is one of the easiest.
First thing you need to do is gather necessary documents to obtain your visa.
- Authenticated Diploma
- Authenticated Criminal Check
- Authenticated TESOL/TEFL certificate
- Health check done on the Chinese form
- Photocopy of the information page of your passport
- Headshot with a white background (passport photo 2×2)
- Application for job
Okay now lets go over all that individually.
You will need to have your diploma photocopied and notarized by your school. Should be a free service. And it looks like this:
Then take that to the secretary of state and get it apostilled. I live in Arizona and the cost is $3 per document. Both steps can be done over the counter in minutes. So you can do this on the same day.
Then, after it has been certified by the secretary of state, you will submit it to the Chinese embassy that has jurisdiction over your state. For me, that was Los Angeles. Here’s where the process gets pretty lame; none of the embassies accept mail-in applications. You must go in yourself or have a chancellor do it for you. I live 6 hours away from Los Angeles, so it was either I drive there and stay a week for it to be processed or pay a chancellor 100$ per document. You need three documents authenticated so most chancellors will charge around $220 for all three because of the SLIGHT discount on each additional document. I chose to make it a mini vacation and go to California with a friend to save some money. The Chinese embassy charges $25 per document so it’ll cost you $75 for each (Or about $320 if you use a chancellor because you have to pay for shipping expedited over night; an additional $25). If you’re fortunate enough to live near an embassy you’re all good! Just go in. Processing takes 4 days, or 2-3 days for $20 extra per document, or 1 day for $30 extra per document.
Documents needed for authentication:
The documents you just got apostilled,
a photocopy of the documents and apostille,
the completed application form,
a photocopy of your passport
The authentication looks like this:
Authenticated criminal check:
You will need a clean criminal background check. But it DOES NOT HAVE TO BE FEDERAL. Federal checks take ages to get back. All you need is a state check. I went to the police department near my house and filled out the form for my adult records; it cost me $10 and took one day. It comes notarized already, so once you get it back you can take it to the secretary of state as is.
Follow the steps as above (you can and should submit all three together)
First step: get your certificate. It must be 120 hours. I had 120 online and 20 in person with 2 different organizations so I got both notarized and authenticated together as one document. Once you have your certificate, photo copy it and take it to a notary (like a bank, or a FedEx, or a friend if you know someone who is a notary). The notarization should be free. Then take it to the secretary of state and follow the steps as above.
Remember to photocopy your passport, fill out the authentication form. Here is an example: Authentication
Heres how to fill it out:
Section 1 Applicant (For Individual Use Only):
Your name, birthday, passport number, nationality, job. Pretty basic.
If applying in person leave the “agent” field blank. If someone else will take your document in, fill it out with the instructions on that particular chancellor’s info
Section 2 Applicant (For company)
Section 3 Content of Notarization/ Legalization
Write what you’re getting authenticated. Ex: “Diploma” “Criminal Check” “TESOL certificate”
Section 4 Purpose of Notarization/ Legalization
Write the reason you need them authenticated. Ex: Working Z visa
Section 5 Appendix and Copies of Notarization/ Legalization
Simple write the number of documents on both sides. So for us, write 3 on each. This means how many originals? 3. How many photocopies? 3
Sign and date
Awesome! That is the part that takes the most work, but its such a short process. Just expensive. Next:
Health check done on chinese approved form:
You do not need any blood work or invasive tests. Just a simple physical.
This is the exact form:
Fill out the top by yourself and the rest by a doctor. The doctor can just write ‘normal’ in all the boxes and ‘N/A’ for the last 3 invasive things like X-ray and ECG. Then have the doctor sign it and stamp it.
The last 3 documents are easily obtained and emailed to your workplace. Photocopy your passport, get passport photos taken (needed for the health check, and the actual visa application) and fill out their application form.
Once you have all of your documents email them to your workplace. They will tell you the next steps.
You will then apply for the Z visa which again requires you to travel to the embassy or hire a chancellor. This is cheaper than the authentications so I just had a chancellor do it for 40$. Visas take 4 days to process and cost 140$ for US citizens or $30 for everyone else. Fill out the form, send in your passport photos and passport, as well as a passport photocopy. Then in about 2 weeks, you’ll get it back and you can officially book your flight. YOU’RE GOING TO CHINA!!!!!!
Here are some links if you need to go through a chancellor: