Having the right paperwork can make the visa application process simpler and faster. The requirements to get a work visa, also known as a Z visa, to legally teach English in China vary slightly from province to province. Here are the general steps:

Step 1:

After receiving and accepting a job offer from a school in China, prepare the following documents:


  • Passport
  • Authenticated Bachelor’s Degree certificate
  • 120-hour TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Résumé or CV
  • Authenticated clean criminal background check
  • Recent photo
  • Reference letter from a previous employer
  • Medical check (most provinces will require this)

Step 2:

Once complete, get a quality, colored scanned copy of the previously-mentioned documents and email them to the HR department of the school. Keep the original documents; you will take them with you to China.

Step 3:

Upon submission, you need to inform your future employer, who will be applying for your work permit, where you be filing and submitting your visa application. Waiting time could take up to 28 work days, depending on the province.

NB*Once your work permit is available, your school will send you an official invitation letter with your work permit documents. This is done electronically or via a courier to your home address.

Step 4:

Visit your country’s Chinese Visa Application Service Center website and download the visa application form, as well as other country-specific information.

Step 5:

Take the following documents to the nearest Chinese Visa Application Service Center or Chinese Embassy/Consulate:

  • Official paperwork from your future employer
  • Passport (valid for at least 6 months)
  • Completed visa application form
  • Passport photo

Your Z visa should take about 3-7 days to process. In some countries that allow submission via mail, the process could take up to 10 work days.