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Z Visas and Residence Permits
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andre818



Joined: 31 Jan 2011
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jaydizzle wrote:
andre818 wrote:
Alright, I know my questions have been answered before, but to be honest with you I am too tired to browse through 15 pages and try to find the answer that I am looking for. Anyways my question is this, how long does it take to get a Zvisa issued and also do I have to go to my home country to receive an invitation? Can my employer just send the invitation to the country where I am now? Thank you.

And yes the country where I am now has a Chinese Embassy.

Thank you


If you're too tired to look for it, I'm too tired to tell you.


Thank you for all your help buddy.
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bluetortilla



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 648
Location: Guangzhou, China

PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

andre818 wrote:
jaydizzle wrote:
andre818 wrote:
Alright, I know my questions have been answered before, but to be honest with you I am too tired to browse through 15 pages and try to find the answer that I am looking for. Anyways my question is this, how long does it take to get a Zvisa issued and also do I have to go to my home country to receive an invitation? Can my employer just send the invitation to the country where I am now? Thank you.

And yes the country where I am now has a Chinese Embassy.

Thank you


If you're too tired to look for it, I'm too tired to tell you.


Thank you for all your help buddy.


Hi. I understand your frustration. Your mileage may vary, but it took two or three weeks for my papers (invitation and work permit to arrive). My school told me to go to the consulate. The consulate told me to get a medical at 'such and such' a hospital. In some countries that will take a day, here it takes a week. The consulate said they could 'expedite' the visa meaning overnight. Otherwise it will take a few days. All in all, in MY case, it's taking about a month. It could be as fast as two weeks from what I can tell though, IF you have to go through your consulate (which you probably will these days).

To find you consulate, just Google 'Chinese consulate, (large city and country where you live). Or embassy if you live in or near your capital. I'm almost certain you can't do it by mail.

Stay in touch with your FAO. If you don't have one, you're not even ready for this process yet.

Best of luck!
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bluetortilla



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 648
Location: Guangzhou, China

PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ha! I'm replying to myself. Not much action in this thread recently.

I got my Z Visa today from the local Chinese Consulate. It has been very confusing because it seems the rules keep changing. This is the latest: although I have read in several places that one should NOT get a Z Visa overseas, I definitely had no choice in the matter if I wanted to work where I will be working (and I do want to).

As far as I can tell, if you are going to be working in a special economic zone like me, you will HAVE TO have residence in the country you are applying from. Some schools have gotten paranoid about this and insist you apply for your visa in the country that you are citizen of. That is not true, as proved in my case, but I did have to provide ample evidence of residency. Residency means a valid (work?) visa and alien registration (well, aren't we all aliens? : ). There was no problem at all in my case. Also, I HAD to provide health status documentation from a (and only a) consulate approved hospital. People have said don't waste your money on the exam as you'll just have to go through with it again when you arrive, but here again there was no choice in the matter. I had to provide the consulate with the docs, and all the tests ran up to about 250 USD (that's in Japan- hopefully cheaper where you live). They also took a week.

If you are applying out these zones, I don't think any of this applies. But getting my visa was very strict and complicated. I'm glad I started three months ago.... Now, on to China for the Residency Permit and hopefully another medical!
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morrisonhotel



Joined: 10 Feb 2010
Posts: 44

PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What are the exact current rules about flying in and finding a job on the ground then going to Hong Kong or somewhere else to change visas? I keep coming across conflicting advice. I'd like to live in Beijing. What exactly would I need to do that?
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bluetortilla



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 648
Location: Guangzhou, China

PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just followed the instructions of my FAO and the consulate here. I have my z visa and don't foresee any problems with the residency. Have no idea at all of course on what the procedure is if you're already in China. It will probably depend first on the school's policy. That's where the conflicts seem to be coming from.
Japan resident, American citizen, work in Guangzhou.
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Mike E



Joined: 06 Oct 2011
Posts: 105

PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

morrisonhotel, assuming that you mean flying in on a tourist visa and then changing to a work visa, I recently found this discussion of the arguments for and against. middlekingdomlife.com/guide/china-english-teacher-visas.htm
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morrisonhotel



Joined: 10 Feb 2010
Posts: 44

PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting article.
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Vigawla



Joined: 06 Jan 2011
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all, I'm in Dalian at the moment and the school has had our foreign teachers' passports for 2 weeks now for renewing our residence visas. The school has told us that we would get it back within a week, then 8 days, 12 days, 2 weeks, and now have said that 'they' could hold onto them for a month.
This worries us because we feel that the school is trying to prevent us from travelling to a different province for recreational reasons. They want us to stay for a training course/lesson planning (that they made up on the spot) and could be holding onto them for that reason.
I actually told them I was planning to go to Beijing BEFORE they told me of the training/lesson planning.
What is a reasonable time for a residence permit renewal? I'm a little sick of hearing the 'Well this is China...' excuses and am really started to get worried that the school is just holding onto the passports in their safe because they might be petty.
And do I have any recourse for trying to find out if the renewal is finished and whether the passport is available? Outside of talking to the people at the school?
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StringerBell



Joined: 15 Feb 2012
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, so I have been offered a job by a large chain language school in China, and they have presented me with 2 options, and I'm wondering which to take.

Firstly, I can just apply for the Z visa in my home country and wait a few months for it. Or, they say I can come on a tourist L visa, and then the school will apply for the visa documents for me and pay for me to do the Hong Kong run to get it changed to a Z visa.

Is the second option viable? I am 23 and without formal teaching experience - which they are aware of - and it seems from some of the posts that that will prevent me from getting a Z visa? I would much rather do the Hong Kong run than wait several months, being somewhat impatient, but then of course I don't want to jeopardise the job somehow.

Personally, I'm drawn to going for the second option, especially given that they're such a large and reputable language school, but I wanted to see if this seemed a little out of the ordinary for you seasoned ESL teachers...
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bluetortilla



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 648
Location: Guangzhou, China

PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

StringerBell wrote:
Ok, so I have been offered a job by a large chain language school in China, and they have presented me with 2 options, and I'm wondering which to take.

Firstly, I can just apply for the Z visa in my home country and wait a few months for it. Or, they say I can come on a tourist L visa, and then the school will apply for the visa documents for me and pay for me to do the Hong Kong run to get it changed to a Z visa.

Is the second option viable? I am 23 and without formal teaching experience - which they are aware of - and it seems from some of the posts that that will prevent me from getting a Z visa? I would much rather do the Hong Kong run than wait several months, being somewhat impatient, but then of course I don't want to jeopardise the job somehow.

Personally, I'm drawn to going for the second option, especially given that they're such a large and reputable language school, but I wanted to see if this seemed a little out of the ordinary for you seasoned ESL teachers...


I'm a newbie to China but if it's a large reputable chain school, I'm sure they're not going to bamboozle you on your visa. What good would it do them to have you come over and then not be able to get the visa? They have a reputation to uphold as well.

I work for a tiny college with no reputation good or bad (I'm their first foreign teacher : D, and they have gone the extra mile for me on everything from the all important visa and permits to class equipment. I've seen a lot of chintzy 'schools' in my day, and while there always the danger of things not being as good as you expected, especially in the private sector, I'm sure that if the school is offering that visa run option they'll be able to do it. Else they wouldn't offer it.

Take a lot of money with you though because you might not be working until you get your Foreign Experts cert., which can take a while and you're going to be up to your neck in red tape. They'll probably want you to pay for the HK trip yourself as well which won't be cheap. In any case I'm being reimbursed for various immigration expenses here, but I have to wait until my first paycheck to be paid back, so keep that in mind. Also look at your contract- mine is more binding than it looks and is fair. There is a legal representative involved as well in case of dispute. I never got a contract this good or worth more than the paper it was written on in Japan, but I could be whistling in the dark. Pretty sure where I'm at anyway is solid and trustworthy.

Good luck.
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choudoufu



Joined: 25 May 2010
Posts: 3325
Location: Mao-berry, PRC

PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

StringerBell wrote:
Firstly, I can just apply for the Z visa in my home country and wait a few months for it. Or, they say I can come on a tourist L visa, ...


caution. they seem to be playing up the waiting time to get you over
on a tourist visa. then when you arrive there can be endless delays
in getting the paperwork. or they can have you do a few demos, but
decide you're not qualified. sorry.

of course, once you apply for the z-visa in your home country, the
waiting time is usually 3-4 days. unless you pay a little extra for
the rush service, in which case you might get your visa the next
morning...maybe even that afternoon. a few months????

or perhaps they mean the time it takes them to submit your paperwork
for your invitation letter. that would be a couple weeks.
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bluetortilla



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 648
Location: Guangzhou, China

PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

choudoufu wrote:

caution. they seem to be playing up the waiting time to get you over
on a tourist visa. then when you arrive there can be endless delays
in getting the paperwork. or they can have you do a few demos, but
decide you're not qualified. sorry.

of course, once you apply for the z-visa in your home country, the
waiting time is usually 3-4 days. unless you pay a little extra for
the rush service, in which case you might get your visa the next
morning...maybe even that afternoon. a few months????

or perhaps they mean the time it takes them to submit your paperwork
for your invitation letter. that would be a couple weeks.


Well, I said I was a newbie so don't believe everything I say! Very Happy

choudoufu is right on about the zVisa. it took me quite a while (weeks, not months) to get mine I had to scan a bunch of documents to my caseworker and wait for her replays. Next came waiting for the letter of Invitation. Some things I had to redo or fetch again (e.g. original transcripts, proof of residence), and then there was the silly med. check (silly cause you end up doing it twice) which took a week, and then, finally, the pretty painless application and issuance itself, which only took two days.
So it ain't that simple…

I still say though that unless you're incompetent or difficult to work with the school is most likely good to its word. Treat your students well and you'll be treated well. That's how they make their money after all.
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StringerBell



Joined: 15 Feb 2012
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

choudoufu wrote:
StringerBell wrote:
Firstly, I can just apply for the Z visa in my home country and wait a few months for it. Or, they say I can come on a tourist L visa, ...


caution. they seem to be playing up the waiting time to get you over
on a tourist visa. then when you arrive there can be endless delays
in getting the paperwork. or they can have you do a few demos, but
decide you're not qualified. sorry.

of course, once you apply for the z-visa in your home country, the
waiting time is usually 3-4 days. unless you pay a little extra for
the rush service, in which case you might get your visa the next
morning...maybe even that afternoon. a few months????

or perhaps they mean the time it takes them to submit your paperwork
for your invitation letter. that would be a couple weeks.


Thanks for the replies.

As of yet I have sent no paperwork - although they have sent me a Letter of Intent (which states that I agree to the contract and that this LoI is simply a provisional document to one I will sign on arrival) and a document titled "required by SAFEA contract of employment", although the that is just 2 pages and is very basic info like name, D.O.B, address etc. I have a few days left to fill in, sign and return these by email.

Regarding which visa to get, they said in the email that if I took the L visa option, they would pay for the Hong Kong run to change it to a Z visa. It really does seem like the best option in so many ways, which is why I am thinking it may be too good to be true.

The alternative option - applying for a Z visa in my home country (the UK), says it may take "2 to 3 months" from the signing of the Letter of Intent to attaining the Z visa, as I must send them some documents, which they can then use to obtain visa approval papers, which they send to me and then I apply for a Z visa with the Chinese embassy in London...

Is that true, and is that really how long it can take? Are there any other dangers or precautions to take with the tourist visa option? I should note here that in the description for option 1 (getting my Z in the UK), they said that this is ideal for teachers with experience in getting a Z, as any ill-prepared documents can mean your visa application is rejected. They also said that most teachers chose the tourist option and it had the most success, with zero rejected applications. Clearly they would prefer this option, but surely there are also potential innocent motives for wanting to do so, other than what choudoufou said?

@Bluetortilla - may I ask what country you were applying for your Z visa from? Does the processing time vary in different countries?

Any help is genuinely greatly appreciated as it's all pretty unknown to me.
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Opiate



Joined: 10 Aug 2011
Posts: 630
Location: Qingdao

PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

StringerBell wrote:

Regarding which visa to get, they said in the email that if I took the L visa option, they would pay for the Hong Kong run to change it to a Z visa. It really does seem like the best option in so many ways, which is why I am thinking it may be too good to be true.

The alternative option - applying for a Z visa in my home country (the UK), says it may take "2 to 3 months" from the signing of the Letter of Intent to attaining the Z visa, as I must send them some documents, which they can then use to obtain visa approval papers, which they send to me and then I apply for a Z visa with the Chinese embassy in London...

Is that true, and is that really how long it can take? Are there any other dangers or precautions to take with the tourist visa option? I should note here that in the description for option 1 (getting my Z in the UK), they said that this is ideal for teachers with experience in getting a Z, as any ill-prepared documents can mean your visa application is rejected. They also said that most teachers chose the tourist option and it had the most success, with zero rejected applications. Clearly they would prefer this option, but surely there are also potential innocent motives for wanting to do so, other than what choudoufou said?

@Bluetortilla - may I ask what country you were applying for your Z visa from? Does the processing time vary in different countries?

Any help is genuinely greatly appreciated as it's all pretty unknown to me.


Unless the school is quite close to HK, I can't see any innocent reason why they would prefer to bring you in on an L. Sending you to HK will cost them money. A lot more money than getting the Z the proper way from your home country. Talk to them and be sure they are willing to pay for it and not just front it and deduct it from earnings later. You do not have any special skills or quals or experience to warrant a free HK run imo. Random bodies are not that difficult to find. Not being disrespectful, just realistic. Once you are here on the L visa...they can do with you what they want. Essentially, you are at their mercy. Even if they are well intentioned and honest (uncommon, but possible)....that would not be very comfortable for me personally. Though on the plus side, you'll have an opportunity to find work at another school without the potential headache of a release letter.

I hope this all works out for you but perhaps it would be wiser to come over on the Z.
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dean_a_jones



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 1139
Location: Wuhan, China

PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agree that you should really push for the Z visa. Yes, if you went on an L visa it would be quicker (you could in theory apply and go in a week). Although it takes slightly longer for the z visa paperwork, even if you came on an L and had to go to Hong Kong, it would still be with the exact same paperwork they would need to apply for to get the Z visa in the UK. The only difference is that they would not have to send it to you, and you would not have to wait for it to be sent. This would only save a couple of days.

The process does take a little while, but it shouldn't take months like the school is telling you. Once you have sent of the documents they need, it should take them three or so weeks to get the stuff they need, then send it over. It will then take you a few days to apply for and get the visa.

As others have said, a school that wants to delay this process (as they will need to do it at some point anyway) and get you over on an L visa is a bit of a red flag. They say they will pay for the Hong Kong trip, but basically as you don't even have a working contract or the right visa, there is little you can do when you arrive if they tell you they won't. Of course being on an L does mean you can walk away from them quite easily, but it also means you will have to find another job and survive on your savings until you do (and then likely have to pay for a Hong Kong trip for the visa run). It also gives the school the power to get you over, have a look at you, make you do a few classes and then decide if they want you or not.

It doesn't always work out poorly for people who come over on the wrong visa, but it certainly can. The fact that they are insisting it will be quicker, that the z visa process takes so long, while promising to pay for all and sundry once you arrive is slightly suspicious to me, but I tend to err on the side of caution.
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