China Teaching Visa Requirements
For a teacher to legally teach in China, you need a “Z” visa (for contracts of a year or more) or an “F” visa (for contracts of less than 6 months), and a Residence Permit. Visit the Chinese embassy website in the United States for current information on visa requirements to teach English in China.
The first thing that you should do is find an employer. They are responsible for obtaining a Foreign Experts Invitation Confirmation from the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs on your behalf. This certificate is necessary to prove that the foreign teacher coming to China is in the field of work for which he/she is applying. Once approved, your employer sends the certificate (original copy) to the foreign teacher. Then, the foreign teacher is required to visit the nearest Chinese embassy and present the certification and the invitation letter (from host school) to obtain “Z” visa.
Your employer should also arrange for you to be provided with a Foreign Experts ID card. Again, this ID is issued by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs. With a Foreign Experts ID, the teacher is able to bring with them to China their personal necessities (books, newspapers, teaching notes, visual aids, samples, models and photographic slides, small instruments and special materials needed in research, teaching, experiments, etc.) with no charge. It is necessary to undergo a full health check before coming to China.
Once in China, you are required to visit the local Public Security Bureau for registration within 48 hours of your arrival. At this time, you need to show your Validation Certificate of Health Examination Record, which can be obtained by presenting your health examination certificate to local quarantine department. Your employer then registers your application for a Foreign Experts Certificate, together with the introduction letter from the school, “Z” visa (or a copy), and 2 photos. The certificate is good for up to one year. Renewal is necessary upon expiration and in the event of any change of work and/or employer, this certificate must be returned.
Your employer then assists you in obtaining a residence permit. If the job you are hired for has a contract of less than one month, you would receive a temporary residence permit. However, for those who intend to teach for more than a year, your host employer would help you apply for a residence permit.
With both the Foreign Experts certificate and the valid Health examination certificate, a foreign teacher will be issued a residence permit. Renewal or extension of visa is to be done at the public security bureau with your valid passport, residence permit and letter from the host institution.
A general overview of what to expect teaching English in China
Detailed living costs for teaching English in China.