The Process to Get a Chinese Z Visa | ESL Jobs

China has a plethora of ESL English Teaching jobs!

I’m in the middle (yes, the middle) of the process of learning the ropes of ESL English teaching jobs in China, so I thought I’d start popping down what I’m learning along the way. It’s quite a lengthy process – so take a deep breath!


1st. The Chinese Embassy requires authenticated documents before issuing a work visa. In Australia, this is a 3-step process.

First, your documents need to be “verified” of their authenticity from the ORIGINAL source. China requires 3 documents: Bachelor or Masters Degree, TEFL or TESOL certificate and a police check – but not just your usual police check – they require an Australian Federal Police Check. This is different for each document.

FIRST DOCUMENT: For instance, tomorrow I’m going to the UNIVERSITY to have my Masters of Education authenticated. At the University a fully qualified staff has been allocated to do this officially – for overseas jobs.

SECOND DOCUMENT: The second document China needs is proof of my English teaching course either TEFL or TESOL. The TEFL English teaching certification I obtained online (very credible one based in Australia) has an “authentication number” on the certificate which can be directly confirmed on their website. However, the TESOL English teaching qualification I’m nearly complete has no understanding about authenticating the documents for overseas (so strange!). (Although, to note, the TESOL taught me more about how to do lesson plans – it’s the more extensive course).

THIRD DOCUMENT: The third document is the Australian Federal Police Check – which apparently needs no authentication process….er… although they might use the numbers on it to confirm.

NEXT STEP – PUBLIC NOTARY with your photocopies

THEN, as I found out at the DFAT OFFICE the morning of my appointment. IF, you have photocopies of the documents you want verified you need to get them all NOTORISED by a lawyer. Luckily, DFAT has a list of public notaries and I found one with a fairly reasonable cost of $100 for all three documents. One quoted me $220 per document!!

NEXT STEP – Department of Foregin Affairs (DFAT)

Once you have all the documents authenticated from the ORIGINAL SOURCE & public notarised take them to the Department of Foreign Affairs ( They verify all signatures and authenticate the documents AGAIN. They do this service very quickly – only took 10 minutes. At the time of writing, they charge $81 per document. Ugh!

chinese z visa process

NEXT STEP – Chinese Consulate

THEN, take the documents to the Chinese Consulate for authentication. They’ll authenticate the documents AGAIN. And this takes 1-3 working days depending on how much you want to pay. I opted for the $30 regular service of 3 days. It increases $30 per document per day. So, a rush job of next day would cost $90/document. And I had just paid $81/document at DFAT.

Here’s what the back of the documents look like after these steps.

NEXT STEP – Scan and send your documents to the recruiter or the school.

Once you’ve collected your documents at the Chinese Consulate scan them and email them to the recruiter or the school itself. They will apply for a WORK PERMIT. This process takes 5 working days….but arrived after 3.

NEXT STEP – Chinese Visa Application Centre

THEN, take your documents, the work permit AND your passport to the Chinese Visa Application Centre. They too have a service fee similar to the Chinese Consulate. If you want a rush job – you pay more. I waited 3 days and picked up my passport with WORK VISA in it on Friday… and flew out on Saturday morning.


But it doesn’t stop there…

The process continues when you arrive at your school in China.

The school first needs your PASSPORT because they have to tell the POLICE that you’re at the school. All foreigners need to be reported. That takes about 24 hours.

THEN, your passport AND authenticated documents are needed for them to apply for the WORK PERMIT. This takes about 5-7 days… so your passport and documents will be with them for that time.

(I got them back today – as I’m writing the blog over time).

THEN, once you have the WORK PERMIT – I’m told it comes as a WORK CARD…. the school then takes you to the EXIT AND ENTRY DEPARTMENT to get the residence permit.

I’m still waiting on the WORK CARD at this point. But I’m sure that’s enough information for you. 🙂

(blog was written September 2018 – so it may have changed if you’re reading this at a later date