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Z Visas and Residence Permits
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kev7161



Joined: 06 Feb 2004
Posts: 5775
Location: Suzhou, China

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 6:37 am    Post subject: Z Visas and Residence Permits Reply with quote

An UPDATE from Dave's member Volodiya:

Some posters to this forum have reported entering China on other than a Z visa and, nevertheless, receiving a "Foreign Experts Certificate", and a "Residence Permit for Foreigners" (sticker, placed in their passport), in country- giving them permission to live and work as teachers of English, in China- since new rules, placing restrictions on this process, came into effect on January 1, 2005. The following tables are based on the information they provided:

(If you have had experience with this process in these or other provinces, since January 1, 2005, please add your information; or, if information you provided was used to prepare this table and you now have something new or different to report, please update, as necessary, to keep this information current.)


Those provinces in which you reportedly may not have to leave the country (to obtain a Z visa) before beginning work-

Fujian (jeffinflorida);*
Guangdong (clomper);*
Inner Mongolia (Alex_P); [but, see below];
Jiangsu (amanda_barrick);
Lianoning (Alex_P);
Sichuan (ekirving, phillipl);
Zhejiang (dyslexic_dcuk)


Those provinces in which there is reportedly a high probability that you will have to leave the country to obtain a Z visa before beginning work-

Anhui (randyj);
Beijing (Spiderman Too);
Hainan (talkdoc);
Heibei (nolefan);
Hunan (Nauczyciel);
Inner Mongolia (gulam2);[but, see above]
Shandong (deezy, June 13);
Shanxi (meggles5);
Yunnan (no_exit)


* [(englishgibson) reported, May 17, that Fujian and Guangdong Provinces may now be requiring foreign teachers to leave the country to obtain a Z visa, as part of the employment process.]

For further details regarding the experiences of the posters who provided the information on which the tables are based, see-
http://www.eslcafe.com/forums/job/viewtopic.php?t=22363


[To those outside of China- this information is based on the personal experiences of the posters: it can only be used as a guide, not a guarantee, as to what may happen in your case, should you choose to come to China to work. Obtaining a Z visa before you enter China to work is your reasonable assurance that your prospective employer has obtained permission to hire foreigners; that you are qualified to teach, under the standards set by Chinese law, and that your employer has obtained permission to hire you.]

************************************
Additional, explanatory material for people considering a job in China:

Both the Z visa, issued at a Chinese Consulate or Embassy abroad, and the Residence Permit for Foreigners (RPF), issued by the local authorities after you arrive at your post to work, are based on a grant to you of permission to live and work in China. The Z visa grants you permission to enter the country to work, and the RPF grants you permission to remain in the country to work. The Foreign Experts Certificate (FEC), mentioned in the first paragraph of this post, is a document which asserts that you are qualified to teach, according to the requirements of Chinese Law.

To enter to work in China, you are supposed to obtain a Z visa at a Chinese Consulate or Embassy abroad. Some people, however, have entered on visas other than Z visas, and found work. In some cases, if they met all the requirements, they have been given an RPF and an FEC, in country. Still others, having found work, have been required by the local authorities to leave the country, obtain a Z visa (which can be done at any Chinese Consulate or Embassy when the requirements for issuance of the visa are met), and return, often at their own expense; hence, the table, above, which is based on our posters' report of their experiences in their provinces.

Regarding the RPF
The holder of an RPF has the privilege to leave the country, and return, at will- anytime within the period of validity of the RPF. However, since the RPF is based on the grant to you of permission to work in China; and, that permission is, in turn, based on your maintaining your contractural relationship with your employer, should that relationship end, the FRP is subject to being revoked, at the request of the employer. Should this occur while you were out of the country, you would not be able to re-enter China on that RPF. You would, again, need a visa to enter the country.

Another way to think of it is, the RPF is given to you, for the benefit of your employer.

Some posters have said, and I have no reason to doubt them, that after one contract ends, the RPFs validity continues, and may be renewed, IF a new employer steps in immediately afterwards to sponsor you.

Is the RPF a visa? No. Does it allow you to exit and re-enter? Yes. (It does that by giving you the privilege to leave and re-enter, without a visa.) The RPF is not issued at a consulate or embassy abroad. The Z visa is. (Note from OP: However, please remember that your Z visa may well expire while you are in China. Don't panic! Your RP not only allows you to live legally in China, but also "acts" as your Z visa. When it's time for you to leave China for good - and your RP has not expired - you should be able to leave the country with no worries.)
______________________

[Everything I've written here is subject to revision, if future developments in the law, or the experiences of the posters to this forum, suggest it should be. I am indebted to the score of other posters who made the effort to familiarize themselves with the details of obtaining visas, and made their valuable technical and practical contributions to the information contained in this post- and will continue to do so, I trust, when they see something in need of correction.]


And this contribution from kev7161:

(This post below has now become a rather simplified version of what is posted above. If you are having problems with your Z visa and/or a Residence Permit, read the above information carefully. Otherwise, the following is an "in-a-nutshell" accounting of the above):

1. If you are coming to work in China, you need to apply and receive a Z visa. This legally allows you to work in China. The company/school who hires you should send you an "official" letter of invitation that you will need to submit to your nearest Chinese embassy (along with your passport and application form). This Z visa will (should?) allow you free passage into China.

2. If you plan on coming to China weeks before your employment begins, then you should apply for an adequate amount of time on your visa so it doesn't expire before you start your job. A good rule of thumb could be the length of time you'll be "vacationing" + 6 weeks. This gives your school and the local PSB at least 6 weeks to get you processed for your Resident's Permit (see #3). "6 weeks?" you may increduously ask. Hey, better to be safe than sorry. Your school may be on the ball and get things done within the first week or so after your arrival. But, then again, they may not.

3. Residence Permit: Formally, you would have had 3 documents - - your passport with a single-entry or multi-entry Z visa, your red Foreign Experts Certificate booklet, and a green Residence Permit (RP) booklet. The RP would cover you while you were living and working in China after your Z visa expired, but anytime (after expiration) you'd want to leave the country and return, you'd have to get a new Z visa (or already have a long-term, multi-entry visa). Now, your FAO will take your passport to the local PSB and they will affix a RP "sticker" into your passport. As long as the RP is valid, you can (should be able to) come and go as you please. This takes the place of your Z visa, so no need to get long-term and/or multi-entry visas. Also, no more green booklet. Before your RP expires, you should be leaving China or getting it renewed if you are staying on for another "X" amount of time. It's not a good idea to wait until the last minute to renew.

4. If you are only here to work for the summer, some summer camp jobs may advise you to come here on a "tourist" visa (tourist visa = L visa, and a business visa = F visa) since you'll only be here for a month or two. Not exactly legal (to work on a tourist visa), but it is commonplace and I've heard no horror stories of anyone being busted for this (if you change your mind and decide to stay beyond your summer "fling", see more detailed information above about Z visas and the possibility of having to leave the country to obtain one.).


Last edited by kev7161 on Sun Jun 19, 2005 1:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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tw



Joined: 04 Jun 2005
Posts: 3898

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 7:06 am    Post subject: Re: Z Visas and Residence Permits Reply with quote

Don't forget more and more employers now demand that you complete your medical exam and mail the report back before they would send in your work permit (Foreign Experts Certificate) application. After that they can then get you the needed documents for you to apply a Z visa.

Your work permit application CAN be rejected even if the employer wants to hire you and even if you have already signed the official contract! The government is cracking down in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai.
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ymmv



Joined: 14 Jul 2004
Posts: 340

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An up-to-date accounting on the current situation re: Z-visas can be found here:

http://www.eslcafe.com/forums/job/viewtopic.php?t=25266
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hollie628



Joined: 06 Jun 2005
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 6:53 pm    Post subject: currently holder of Z visa/temp. res.perm. Reply with quote

I had a Z visa, and a temp foreigner resident permit. The permit expires June 30. The Z visa expired in March. I'm so confused on all of this - it seems there is more infor about L and F visa's and the need for a Z visa then there is once you have one.

The warning about Shanghai BSK Academy has this too: They never gave any of their employees a Foreign Expert Certificate book. The ex roomie had to meet an official from the company to go to the bank, where they would bring the booklet then take it back again. I never even saw mine. When I was let go I was told I couldn't have it and that it was sent back to the bureau.

I tried to get an extension today but was told I need that certificate. I have a letter from the new school I work for, however I have no contract with them. I was told that with my release letter (required from your previous employer to be legal to work for a new one) would get me one month extension, but that I need the expert cert for a longer term. I don't know what the one month extension includes - multiple entry or not?

The new school will not apply for all the necessary paperwork I'm sure. They hire foreign freelancers, and I'm sure that would cause problems. I know the warnings about shady situations and it's not shady if my visa is in order, it's just not a place to get my visa in order. A very common occurrence here.

So, does anyone have experience in this situation? Have you extended your Z visa on your own? I need to get to india next month and now time is running out. That old company, Pacican, should have given me the book or cancelled my visa. They didn't act within the law for this and now I'm in trouble too. Well, maybe not trouble; but for sure difficulty!
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tw



Joined: 04 Jun 2005
Posts: 3898

PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hollie I had almost the identical problem in Qingdao 2 years ago. My second school was not legally allowed to hire FT's and my first school kept my FEC. So when it came time for me to try to renew my FRP with a photocopy of my FEC I was told I needed the original FEC. Forget about the Z visa, it's the permit that matters. It sounds to me like you need to get yourself a school that is authorized to hire FT's and sign a contract with them fast.
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lowes13



Joined: 01 Sep 2004
Posts: 56
Location: Jiangsu

PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FYI
I‘ve just gone through the procedure of extending my FEC and residence permit in Jiangsu province. Details:

I supplied to my new employer my FEC (dark red) booklet, FRP (green) booklet and 2 passport size photos.

It took one working day to process the FEC and it was returned with the new validity date entered and stamped.

Four working days later I received my passport with the RPF (Residence Permit for Foreigner) sticker occupying one of the pages.

No need, as has been stated, for any other type of visa!
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Volodiya



Joined: 03 May 2004
Posts: 1025
Location: Somewhere, out there

PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lowes wrote:
Quote:
I supplied to my new employer my FEC (dark red) booklet, FRP (green) booklet and 2 passport size photos. It took one working day to process the FEC and it was returned with the new validity date entered and stamped.

Very interesting, Lowes. This is the first post I've seen, based on a foreign teacher's actual experience, which suggests that the procedures relating to the Foreign Expert Certificate (F.E.C.) may now be changing, as predicted by some articles written in the Chinese press, late last fall. These articles suggested the government was going to try to simplify the procedures involved in a foreign teacher's changing employers.

The way the FEC was handled in this case may be a first, in China. (Other posters can let us know if they've had similar experiences.) If this does not prove to be a "one off", and begins to be the norm, it will represent a fundamental change in the way the Chinese government considers the FEC. The way Lowes FEC was handled when he changed jobs is more in keeping with the concept that the document is personal to the "foreign expert", and goes with him, where he goes. The idea that its period of validity may be extended is also new, in my experience.

Now, I'll be watching to see if the requirement for a "release letter" from the former employer is dropped, as was suggested by those same articles. (Those who have struggled to get a release letter from a former employer will understand the benefit to teachers if this were no longer to be required.)


Last edited by Volodiya on Tue Jun 28, 2005 9:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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Chris_Crossley



Joined: 26 Jun 2004
Posts: 1797
Location: Still in the centre of Furnace City, PRC, after eight years!!!

PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 3:21 am    Post subject: Get that release letter! Reply with quote

Volodiya wrote:
I'll be watching to see if the requirement for a "release letter" from the former employer is dropped, as was suggested by those same articles. (Those who have struggled to get a release letter from a former employer will understand the benefit to teachers if this were no longer to be required.)


A few months ago, I changed my employer after my contract ended and I was offered work at my current school. Simply by reading this very forum, I knew about the release letter - nobody at my old school told me that I needed one, but I asked for one and got one with no hassle. Always be prepared! Dave's is a mine of information! To be on the safe side, always ask for a release letter if changing employers no matter what people tell you.

Better to be safe than sorry, otherwise it's going to be a real hassle going from one employer to another, especially if you go from one city to another or even from one province to another, only to find out from the local PSB that you need a release letter from your old school in order to show that you are now legally available to work, only you haven't got one.
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Volodiya



Joined: 03 May 2004
Posts: 1025
Location: Somewhere, out there

PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's an excerpt from a recent post from Alex_P, regarding his experience with changing employers, and the "release letter".
Quote:
The last time I changed jobs (three months ago), they no longer required a letter of release....

For the full text of his comments, see-

http://www.eslcafe.com/forums/job/viewtopic.php?t=25906&start=15

(Chris seems to be urging caution, regardless of any apparent changes in procedures at this point. I agree because, even if these posters' experiences reflect a real change, we are only just now beginning to see evidence of it and it seems to me to be too early to judge. I'd also like to see a few more reports from our posters before coming to a conclusion.)
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lowes13



Joined: 01 Sep 2004
Posts: 56
Location: Jiangsu

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Including Alex_P and myself I’m aware of 3 people who’ve gone through the process of changing employers, extending FEC’s and RPF’S without the need for a release letter from their previous employer.
In my own case I asked my new employer to double check with the authorities to make sure of what was required of me; what I needed to submit for the application. I’m relaying the facts as pertaining to my circumstances, others have experienced the same, and no release letter was required. Caution is something we can all use, in my case by asking for a double check, so ask the appropriate questions folks.

If it's suggested that we should do things anyway “just in case” or " to be safe" that doesn’t mean that it’s necessary or worthwhile! Read the info available, there’s plenty, and ask your questions to be certain of what is necessary.

I’d like to echo the sentiment of another, recent, poster and ask everyone who posts on topics like this one to try and be factual about the info you provide. Post what actually happened in your case rather than what you think will happen in other people’s cases; try not to cloud the issues with your “views”.

Perhaps someone, moderators or….., could think about cleaning up the “views” on the sticky threads and try to leave behind only the relevant facts?

Cheers
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Volodiya



Joined: 03 May 2004
Posts: 1025
Location: Somewhere, out there

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's wonderful news, Lowes, and congratulations. I wonder if you could provide us with just a few more details regarding the others you spoke of.

In your case, you indicated the FEC was processed to extend its date of validity, rather than having it cancelled and a new FEC supplied (as was the former procedure). Do you know if the others also had their existing FEC extended, rather than cancelled and replaced with a new one, when they changed employers?
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lowes13



Joined: 01 Sep 2004
Posts: 56
Location: Jiangsu

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my case and the case of a colleague our FEC’s were extended in the name of our new employer. I can’t speak for Alex_P as I only read of his/her experience on this forum.

Cheers
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Alex_P



Joined: 23 Apr 2005
Posts: 174
Location: Hangzhou. Zheijiang, China

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 11:05 am    Post subject: Re: Z Visas and Residence Permits Reply with quote

tw wrote:
Don't forget more and more employers now demand that you complete your medical exam and mail the report back before they would send in your work permit (Foreign Experts Certificate) application. After that they can then get you the needed documents for you to apply a Z visa.

Your work permit application CAN be rejected even if the employer wants to hire you and even if you have already signed the official contract! The government is cracking down in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai.


Concerning the medical examination, the information above is a bit inaccurate at least for certain parts of China.

In Inner Mongolia, in Liaoning, in Sichuan and in Zheijiang, you are now REQUIRED to complete a medical examination within the province after arrival. Foreign medical examinations are no longer accepted in these provinces. Any medical examination submitted as part of the process must be less than six months old and must certify that the holder is free of any pernicious and contagious diseases, i.e., AIDS, syphllis, venereal diseases, diptheria, typhoid. It is routine practice to complete the medical examination before obtaining the Foreign Expert Certificate. In Zheijiang Province, the Government has established a new, very clean and ultramodern Foreigners' Medical Center. They are quite efficient.

Foreign expert certificates are routinely allowed when the applicant is a holder of a bachelor's degree or higher and has several years teaching experience. Nonetheless, upon the request of the employer, a foreign expert certificate may be issued should the holder have a valid and recognized TESOL certificates and various years of experience. Again, this varies immensely from province to province. The law regarding the Foreign Expert Certificate has been on the books in China for at least 12 years but the PSB has become much more diligent about insisting on it.
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Alex_P



Joined: 23 Apr 2005
Posts: 174
Location: Hangzhou. Zheijiang, China

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Volodiya wrote:
Here's an excerpt from a recent post from Alex_P, regarding his experience with changing employers, and the "release letter".
Quote:
The last time I changed jobs (three months ago), they no longer required a letter of release....

For the full text of his comments, see-

http://www.eslcafe.com/forums/job/viewtopic.php?t=25906&start=15

(Chris seems to be urging caution, regardless of any apparent changes in procedures at this point. I agree because, even if these posters' experiences reflect a real change, we are only just now beginning to see evidence of it and it seems to me to be too early to judge. I'd also like to see a few more reports from our posters before coming to a conclusion.)


Volodiya,

Here is the situation in great bureaucratic detail.

Under the new rules with the in-folio visa, when the new employer applies, on behalf of the applicant for a resident permit, they have the option of asking the PSB to either receive the applicant's complete history, or to apply as if it were a new application. If the employer chooses to request the employees full history, then yes, a letter of release, a letter of return of the Foreign Expert Certificate, a satisfactory discharge, etc., MAY and just may be required. If the employer requests that the application be entered into the PSB as a new application and considered as such (for reasons such as crooked past employers, etc., etc.), then none of the above is required. This was explained to me in great detail by the person responsible for securing me my papers at my previous position.

When I changed jobs later, but still within the duration of the previous in-folio visa, the paperwork that was required was minimal : my contract, a copy of the school's authorization to hire foreign personnel, my passport, my medical certificate, my university diploma, the PSB official form, and the Foreign Expert Certificate. In the case above, all of the papers were processed top-to-bottom within four working days. In the instant case, the Foreign Expert Certificate was obtained in one working day and the in-folio visa also in four days.

Truly an efficient system.
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clomper



Joined: 07 Oct 2003
Posts: 251
Location: Beijing

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 4:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You guys are lucky. My FEC took two weeks to process. They have to send it all the way to GZ and back to Zhanjiang. They didn't require the health certificate for the FEC. They do however require you to fill up a 3 copies of the same form, 3 pictures and a copy of your diploma.

As for my FRP.. they are still processing it.. Lead time is 3 to 5 days *sigh*.

Just an info.. my friend switch schools this term. He had a resident permit when he stayed in Qingyuan. When he came here, the resident permit is still valid. His school tried to get him a visa but was informed that he has to go back to Qingyuan and have it cancelled so he can get a FRP here.

Claudine
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