Steps to Get Your Working Visa for China

Josh Wilson
Josh Wilson

Don’t be 60 years old and say… "I could have done that!" Do it now!

 / May 28, 2017

Getting a working visa for China may seem daunting.  While it's true that there are a lot of steps and it can take some time, there's nothing to worry about.  Career China's dedicated visa team is here to answer all of your questions, and guide you through the entire process to make it as easy as possible.

Overview of a Working Visa for China

The China work visa is intended for expats who have been granted a Chinese government-issued work permit. The work permit should be arranged by the applicant’s potential employer in China and the organization must be licensed to employ foreign nationals, as well as the applicant being qualified in the respective occupation. 

The work visa (Z visa) is valid for 30 days, which enables your entry to China.  Upon arrival in China you will be assisted with obtaining your official Work Certificate and Resident Permit (the final step of the process).  


Before Your Arrival in China

1. Work Permit

Before you can get your working visa for China, you need to get your Chinese work permit.  China work permits are issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of the People’s Republic of China.  

However, before the employer in China can obtain the Work Permit, you must prepare and send the following documents to the Career China visa team, or the person in charge of your visa process:

l  Scanned copy of your passport information page

l  Medical examination report at an authorised hospital

l  Recent passport-sized photo

l  Reference letter 

l  Non-criminal record (background check) authenticated by Chinese Embassy/Consulate

l  Bachelor degree or above authenticated by Chinese Embassy/Consulate

l  TEFL/TESOL certificate authenticated by Chinese Embassy/Consulate (only applicable for teaching positions)

After our team receives these documents, they can get your Chinese work permit processed.  When that is finished, we will send you a PDF with all the approved documents (including your permit) - which you can print and take to the Chinese Embassy / Consulate to submit along with your Chinese working visa application.

*Each case is unique and there are differences between each city’s immigration and labour processes, and the Work Permit regulations can change on short notice.  So please check the documents checklist with our visa specialist and its specific requirement.

* It usually takes 10 business days to process

Sample work permit below


2. Z Visa application

The next step is to fill out the Chinese working visa application form online and take the documents to the Chinese Embassy / Consulate in your area.  Please take the following documents to apply for Z visa at the Chinese Embassy/Consulate where you reside:

l  Completed visa application form (you should fill this out online in advance and print it)

l  One recent passport-size photo

l  Actual passport (the passport should be the same one you sent us to process your work permit)

l  Work Permit (provided by the employer in China)

l  Any other required documents (per your Career China specialist)

When your visa is ready to pick up, you are ready to come to China!

*2-5 business to process, but if you apply for the visa through an agency it may take longer.



Upon arrival in China within 30 days

3. Temporary Registration and Medical verification

Temporary Registration

Expats staying in a hotel may be able to register there, but those staying with a Chinese resident, even if they are foreign nationals, will have to register at the local police station that governs in your apartment area. Some cities require expats to do this after every trip they make out of the country.  You need to present the following to register at the police station:

l  Your actual passport

l  Housing contract

l  Landlord’s ID copy and contact number (the police may call the landlord to confirm if you are actually living there.  The police station may also ask your landlord to show up with you.

*According to the regulation, expat should be registered at the police station within 24 hours after entering into China.

Medical verification:

International Travel Healthcare Centers are located in every city of China.  Generally speaking, Chinese authorities will not accept the English version of the medical report from other countries, so it must be translated into Chinese.  Most importantly, they need to verify your medical check report meets their official criteria.

A Chinese staff member from your company will assist you with the medical verification if your medical has fully competed at your home country.  If not full completed, you will need to get another medical check in China.

Things to bring with you:

l  Original medical check report from your country

l  Money in cash (100-600RMB)

l  One photo (the requirement)

* No alcohol and coffee the night before, no breakfast and water on the day of the medical check.


4. Work Certificate and Resident Permit

Work Certificate:

This must be done before you obtain the Resident Permit.  The company’s Chinese staff can help get this for you at the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, typically it is required to present/submit the following documents:

l  Your actual passport (it will be returned after the authority confirmed the entry date from your passport)

l  one photo (all photos are the have the requirements

l  Police registration from

l  Medical report verification

l  Other documents from the company

It usually takes 5 business days to process, the processing time for system approval is not included)

Resident Permit:

You must appear in person at the local PSB (Public Security Bureau) in China and bring the following:

l  You actual Passport

l  Police registration form

l  Resident permit application forms

l  One two-inch photo with white background

l  Original Work certificate

l  Other documents from the company

*The processing time should be 10-15 business days, depending on which city you are applying in.  Please note that the PSB will keep your real passport during this processing period. If you need the actual passport back before the collection date, the Resident Permit will not be granted.  

Congratulations - You Are an Official Resident of China!

Once you have completed all of these steps, you can rest assured that you are an official resident of China!  You are legally able to work in China with your visa, and you are also fully registered and have your residence permit.  With this permit, you are free to travel around the country, as well as outside the country.  You can come and go as often as you want, just like you would in your home country.

If you have any questions about this process, please let us know.  Our Career China visa team is more than happy to assist you.

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Josh Wilson

Don’t be 60 years old and say… "I could have done that!" Do it now!