Steps to Apply for a Work Visa


The visa application process seems really complicated, but as long as you have the right person to guide you through the process, it won’t be a problem. To avoid the “going to the embassy back and forth” situation, please stick to the following steps.

Step 1. Consular Legalization/Authentication

In line with international practice and consular practice in China, the purpose of consular authentication (legalization) is to ensure that notarial deeds issued in one country can be acknowledged by relevant authorities in another country, and the deeds can have its due legal effect, which shall not be affected by doubts on the authenticity of the seal or signature on the deeds.

For foreign teachers, what documents should I authenticate?

  1. Original Degree Certificate (either Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate)
  2. Criminal Record Check from your country of origin or country of staying (within the past 6-months)
  3. Original TEFL/TESOL/TESL/CELTA Certificate (if you do not have 2 years of teaching experience and if you are not an English major graduate)
    Steps to authenticate your diploma and police check


Step 2. Work Permit Application

Before you can get your working visa for China, you need to get your Chinese work permit, which is officially called Notification Letter of Foreigner’s Work Permit (外国人工作许可通知) or Work/Employment Permit. They are issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of the People’s Republic of China. Your host school and ISAC will apply for it through the online application system. The process usually takes about 2-4 weeks. You will need to prepare the following:

  2. PHYSICAL EXAM REPORT (Check with your host school to see whether you can do the body check after arriving in China)
    – Original Diploma authenticated by Chinese embassy/consulate
    Criminal Record Check from your country of origin or country of staying (within the past 6-months, must be authenticated)
  5. Original TEFL/TESOL/TESL/CELTA CERTIFICATE (if applicable)
  6. REFERENCE LETTER (if applicable): A signed reference letter of from employers over the past 2-years of teaching
  7. MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE and BIRTH CERTIFICATE (if applicable): If you married and you want to bring your spouse and kids, the original Marriage Certificate and original Birth Certificate are required. Both need to be authenticated.


Step 3. Work Visa (Z Visa) Application

This is fairly easy and straigtfoward, and is usually done in 2-4 working days. NLFWP comes with 2 pages, one in English and the other in Chinese. Print out both and take them to the Chinese embassy/consulate to apply for your Z visa. You will need to bring the following

  1. Passport
  2. Notification Letter of Foreigner’s Work Permit
  3. Visa Application Form and Photo (click for photo requirements)
  4. Proof of legal status (applicable for those not applying for the visa in their country of citizenship)


Do Ask the Following Questions to Your School:

1. Is criminal record check performed by local police acceptable? If not, what level of police check is required?
2. Does language teaching certificate like TEFL and TESOL needs to be authenticated?


Useful Resources:


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