How to get work visa for employment in China

For those looking to work in China, getting a work visa is of absolute importance. The Chinese laws require that any foreign national must obtain proper approval or documentation in order to work in the country. Violation of the laws can result in severe penalties: fines of up to RMB 500 a day (for overstaying a visa), deportation, or even worse, imprisonment.

Chinese work visa is known as Z visa. They are issued by Chinese embassies and consulates to non-Chinese citizens traveling to China for posting or employment. The Z visa is the only valid work visa. If someone works in China on tourist or other non-Z visas, or accepts part-time employment without obtaining proper permission, he could encounter serious legal problems with the Chinese government.

As an inexperienced foreigner, how do you get a work visa to China? Well, there is no need to panic, as this easy guide will take you through the whole application process and help you get your work visa quickly and efficiently. It is important that every step is followed or your visa could be delayed or even denied.

First, before applying for a work visa, find an employer in China. Again, don’t accept a job with a company that requires you to work on a travel visa as it is simply illegal.

Second, ask your future Chinese employer to apply for a government issued employment permit that you will need to enter the country for work. Teachers will need a “Foreign Experts Certificate”, which is issued by the China's State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs. Others will have to have an “Alien Employment License” issued by China's Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

An “Alien Employment License” will look like this:

Third, in addition to the work permit, you will need an “Official Invitation Notice for China Visa Application” from your employer. This official invitation notice will specify the number of entries, term of validity and duration of each stay that your work visa will allow. It is issued by authorized government agencies.

Here is a sample “Official Invitation Notice for China Visa Application”:

Fourth, visit the website of a local Chinese embassy or consulate and download the Chinese visa application. The application form is the same for all visa types. Be sure to check “Employment” under “Section 2: Your visit to China” on the form.

To give you an idea, here is a sample of the visa application form:

Fifth, prepare a recent passport photo and affix it on the corresponding place of the application form. The photo should be 2 x 2 inches, have a solid colored background and show your full forward face in the center. You should not be wearing your hat or glasses in the photo.

Sixth, prepare your passport and make sure it has at least 6 months validity left at the time of application and at least one blank page left in it.

Seventh, prepare all of the above-mentioned documents and apply in person at a local Chinese embassy or consulate. Standard processing usually takes 4 to 5 business days on the condition that you have all of your documents prepared correctly.




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