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Clarification of Chinese Visa Process Queries

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Adrift43, Jan 23, 2019.

  1. Adrift43

    Adrift43 New commenter

    Hi everyone, it's me again,

    After a bit of difficulty getting my Canadian Diploma sorted out (As I'm pretty much a UK resident now) I seem to have all of the documents I need to get my work Visa for a job starting in China in June. Me and my wife now both have our Criminal Background Checks from the UK government and our medicals checks organised. I suppose the question now is what do we need to do next?

    Am I correct to assume we now need to do the following:
    1. Get Marriage Certificate, 2 Criminal Background checks, my wifes Masters Degree notarised by a notary public in England.
    2. Send these documents to the British Foreign Office for Authentication/Legalisation
    3. Bring the above documents to the Chinese Consulate in person for authentication?
    4. Schedule an appointment with the Chinese Visa Centre
    5. Go to our scheduled appointment with our completed application + all of the above mentioned documents + Medical Screening Documents
    6. Get Z Visa's?
    7. Profit?
    I'm just a bit concerned as so far the only direction I've gotten from my school is a checklist. Looking at the application for a Chinese Visa it doesn't really specify anything about medicals or criminal background checks either and I find the Chinese Visa Centre website rather confusing. Could anyone possibly point me in the right direction here?
  2. spanboy

    spanboy Occasional commenter

    It's a minefield. The problem is that it's changing all the time. When I began applying for mine a couple of years ago, each province seemed to want different things, I found. I would suggest contacting your school, emphasizing that they must tell you IN DETAIL what you need to do. For me, my degree cert could be stamped/notarized etc on a COPY, whereas my marriage cert HAD to be the ORIGINAL. Re: medical - in addition to the one in the UK, you'll probably need to have another one once you get to China, which your school should sort out. Here in Beijing they have a one-stop-shop medical examination centre where you go, get given a card, then go from room to room getting a stamp from each: one for eye test, one for BMI, one for bloods etc etc.

    As the visa process takes a while, I would make sure that you've left no stone unturned by getting it in writing what the school need from you. This way they have no comebacks if your visa isn't ready in time for you to start work at the correct time - though starting the process now should pretty much guarantee that all will be done in time. I started my visa application beginning of April and only just got it sorted a week before starting on August 1st. The rules actually changed mid application so I had to go back and redo a couple of things (can't remember what they were). Good luck with everything.
  3. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    Would agree with what Spanboy said. When I was applying in 2017 the rules changed between starting the process in Feb/Mar and getting the visa in July - and they did this without telling the schools so the schools only found out when new staff were having difficulties! (And it wasn't an excuse given by incompetent HR - it affected a number of colleagues applying to different schools.)

    My marriage certificate was allowed to be a copy - this is important because when you come to convert the Z visa to the resident permit once in China, you don't get the paperwork you submit with the application for your permit back.

    A little tip too - there often seems to be delays through the visa centre in London during the summer. However, I processed mine through Edinburgh (being that I am from Scotland) and there were no queues or delays there. If you're in Scotland or the North of England it might be worth looking at going through the Edinburgh office just for speed - it will mean a couple of day trips to Edinburgh, but that's not exactly a chore!
  4. Adrift43

    Adrift43 New commenter

    Thank you for the tips! What exactly does the process involve though? Right now we're getting our original documents certified, should we be getting copies made at the same time? Back to the process, does it require multiple visits to the Centre? I was under the impression that we went on our pre-booked date, handed the form in and then...well I wasn't sure what was meant to happen next.

    We are meaning to get our application in during the third week of February as we'll be on half-term then and actually be able to get to London on a weekday. We're flying over on May 31st. Is that too early?
  5. Hz101

    Hz101 New commenter

    I completed my Z visa last year for my current school in Hangzhou.
    You will need to gather your marriage certificate, educational certificates (for both of you, if both working in education) and an in-date DBS (for both of you). These will need to be taken to a notary for them to verify the documents. Then you will need to send them to the FCO for approval before finally having them stamped at the Chinese embassy.
    Once you have done that and have your full medical check done, send it all back to your school.
    For me, the whole process took around 6 weeks and cost around 1200 GBP but costs and time can vary.
  6. Hz101

    Hz101 New commenter

    Once you send your documents to your school, they should send it back with a letter of employment invitation which you will need to take to the visa centre in order to get your work permit.
  7. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    Hz101 has it pretty much correct. Once you've done that, your school will send through the paperwork which you need to get the Z visa - that's the point where you make the appointment online for the visa centre in London / Manchester / Edinburgh. You then need to take the passport (or get someone to take your passport for you) with the letter from the school, and your passport is sent away for a few days and comes back with the Z visa in it.
  8. Hz101

    Hz101 New commenter

    Yeah amysdad, that's exactly how it went for me. You get given a ticket after you give them your passport and come back about 5 days later to collect it.
  9. Ms_Love_

    Ms_Love_ Occasional commenter

    We needed two visits to the Chinese Visa centre in London, one to pay for it and one the week after to pick it up. But I have heard other people waiting for weeks and weeks.

    In terms of the medical check I would make sure your GP has the exact form you need and a copy of the exemplar form on the Chinese visa site to they know how to fill it out. Ours were giving us the run around saying we would have to go private but this isn't true - most GPs will do all of it except for the xrays. Make sure you also book your top-up vaccinations at the same time as well.

    Don't send any of your original certificates to the school unless they ask for them. Copies should be sent and even then I'd made sure that you do it via DHL just to be sure!
  10. spanboy

    spanboy Occasional commenter

    Any documents sent to China must be through a courier such a s DHL...too risky otherwise!

    Just reading some of the comments above shows how confusing the process is and seems to differ from person to person, as I came away with a 30-day L visa to get me into Beijing, despite applying for a Z visa on the form, together with an invitation letter from my school. When I got here it was immediately transferred to a Z without any problem. Also, in no way would the application entertain a COPY of my marriage cert - I tried, but no. On arriving in China, and talking to my new-found colleagues, they all had different stories to tell, depending where they came FROM (i.e. nationality) it seemed. I did get back my ORIGINAL marriage cert and original degree cert without any problems, though they did take a while to come back to me - not sure if that was the school or the authorities though!
  11. edmundstavros

    edmundstavros New commenter

    Uhh it's so confusing and so much different advice. Our HR guy has told us to post (courier) our ORIGINAL documents, but for us this is only the degree cert, DBS, and 2-year teaching experience letter. We will get the degree certificate back (apparently).

    We are using a service to do all the notarising, FCO, and Chinese embassy business... they will know the province we're going to so hopefully will get it right, providing it doesn't change halfway through...
  12. Adrift43

    Adrift43 New commenter

    Oddly my school is saying that they are currently waiting on the letter from the government. Even though I haven't sent them my notarised documents yet.

    When it comes to documents being stamped by the Chinese consulate. How does that work? I went down there over the holidays and went to the consulate and was told to go to the Visa Centre. Where precisely do I need to go and do to go there in person or can I just post the documents to their London Consulate?
  13. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Yep, DHL. It will not be cheap, but you must send them all by courier. You should also make sure that you get a proper Chinese WORK visa, a Z visa, and not some silly tourist or business visa.

    The medical nonsense can be annoying and then you will have ANOTHER medical done after you arrive in China. And yes, you will have to pee into the little plastic cups.
  14. spanboy

    spanboy Occasional commenter

    Once again, this shows just how inconsistent the whole thing is, as we didn't have to supply a urine specimen at all, but we did have to have a liver and kidney ultrasound! The whole thing seems to be 'lets make this up as we go along' lol! None of the teachers who came to China same time as me were given a Z visa, despite applying for them - we all got 30-day L visas. When we got here we went en mass to the PSB in Beijing to get them converted without problem.
  15. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    I had a medical from a doctor in Egypt (which is a whole story in itself....) but didn't have to have one once I got to China.....
  16. spanboy

    spanboy Occasional commenter

    Thinking back, some of us didn't have to, others did (me included). All my tests I had done out of China were all normal/fine, so it's not even as if there was something they needed to re-check. No consistency at all...but hey, it's China!
  17. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Well, it was a few years ago that the pachyderm had his medical for China. And maybe things vary a lot from city to city.

    I was very surprised to read about this L visa thing. After the Chinese Embassy in Qatar gave us business visas, Mrs Hippopotamus and I had to leave China, go back to Bulgaria, start the whole process all over again in Sofia, do not pass "Go" and do not collect £200. Nine weeks later, we were able to return to the Middle Kingdom.
  18. Hz101

    Hz101 New commenter

    I didn't get a medical in China either, they accepted my british report. Saying that, you will soon realise once you get to China, different things happen for different people. If you are okay doing paperwork, then you'll be fine... there's lots of it!
  19. jiveannie

    jiveannie New commenter

    Can you remember which company you used?
  20. MissTilscher

    MissTilscher New commenter

    I used i2visa. They weren't cheap but they were very good and fast.

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