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HELP ASAP PLEASE! Trailing Partner to Shanghai

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by megan62, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    As I am living in Shanghai I can say there is no law to prevent you living together, you can also drink beer and eat pork.

    I would point out the resent crack down on not having a work visa is you are employed in China.

    PM me if you want any other info without the nasties commenting.
    megan62 likes this.
  2. Stillstayingjohnson

    Stillstayingjohnson Occasional commenter

    Can I start a conversation with you Megan62? Talking to someone with a similar issue could be useful.
  3. megan62

    megan62 New commenter

    By all means, Stillstayingjohnson. It's always nice to know someone else is in your position!! :)
  4. Stillstayingjohnson

    Stillstayingjohnson Occasional commenter

    If anyone else has any advice on living and working in Shanghai, please let me know If I could start a conversation with you :) Gleaned loads of useful info from you lovely people already.
    Thanks in advance.
  5. teachers11

    teachers11 New commenter


    I live and work in China and have been out here for 14 years. My daily job now involves giving teachers advice about moving out to China and the things they need to know. Hopefully, I am in a good spot to be able to help you.

    Firstly, you are allowed to be on your partner's visa as a married dependent. This will allow you to stay in China for as long as he does.

    This is where it now gets tricky. You are not allowed as a married dependent to take on any paid work whatsoever. Paid work is around in the form of part-time work, but you are not officially allowed to take any on and there are police checks in schools. These are infrequent, but have been more commonplace during 2016 and 2017; it's not really worth the risk.

    The best thing to do is to also pursue employment as a TEFL teacher in Shanghai - there are literally thousands of jobs there to choose from. That way, you could get your own independent income (Shanghai is very expensive, especially to rent a flat) and be on a valid Z visa (work visa).

    If you enter on a tourist visa, then it is impossible to transfer this to a work visa whilst still in China, the local government offices will say no to the transfer and this is nationwide policy. You'll have to leave the country, usually to Hong Kong or South Korea, before returning. This is expensive and time consuming. Certainly the best bet is to pursue a job on your own near to where your husband is.

    Check that the school is SAFEA registered and is able to give full Z-visas BEFORE you leave for China.

    If you have any questions, then please don't hesitate to contact me and I would be delighted to help.


    Stuart Allen
  6. Stillstayingjohnson

    Stillstayingjohnson Occasional commenter

    Hope you don't mind, but i've Pm'd you @teachers11 :)
  7. orangepatriot

    orangepatriot New commenter

    Yes, and they will need to be notarized. Same with birth certificates of any dependents.
  8. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Some very wise (and I think well-informed) advice from Mr. Allen. YES, the Chinese government do check up on foreigners, from time to time. Two policemen turned up on the doorstep, about two weeks ago, and wanted to see my passport. Ditto on the MTR and this time there were also soldiers with rifles!

    However, Mrs. Hippopotamus does have a "spouse visa" and she has done some modelling. This is usually quite well-paid, but it is also rather unreliable. She was also doing some individual music lessons in Shekou.
  9. Stillstayingjohnson

    Stillstayingjohnson Occasional commenter

    You can have your passport amended by the passport office. In the official observations section, you can have written, the bearer of this passport is the wife of...
    Your certificate of marriage will need to be legalised by apostille prior to this being accepted by the passport office.

    (Going through this process now)
  10. Stillstayingjohnson

    Stillstayingjohnson Occasional commenter

    If you have any certification notarised, you can also add this into the official observations (really good idea if your name on the certification is different from your married or maiden name).
    i.e. 'the bearer of this passport is also known as "____" the named recipient of the award "_____"

    Helps to resolve any potential confusion. It's worth noting that these sort of matters are a case of evidence trails and absolutely NOTHING more.
  11. Ray_Bee

    Ray_Bee New commenter

    I am leaving for shanghai in 5 weeks to start a teaching job - going it alone and would love to start making some connections for the next cartoon!! Can I start a conversation with you too and also ask about visas etc as I am little worried about what I'm reading here about going out on tourist visa and not being able to change to work visa...
  12. Ray_Bee

    Ray_Bee New commenter

    Hi Stuart -thanks for your post, so useful
    I am due to go to shanghai shortly and was advised to come on tourist visa initially..... just been doing as was told!...HR dept fantastic at my new school but reading your post has slightly worried me... could I pm you?
  13. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Coming to China on a tourist visa, if you are intending to work here, is a bad idea, in my opinion. It's only March, so the school still has plenty of time to get a proper Z visa sorted out for you, Ray_Bee. If they are not prepared to do that, then the alarm bells should start ringing.
  14. Ray_Bee

    Ray_Bee New commenter

    I start after easter... like 5 days after arriving... and spoke w other staff who said was the norm in this company... ugghhhh
  15. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    I can confirm it is possible to convert Tourist Visa into a Work Visa and many schools use this method, UNFORTUNATELY, my school does do this occasionally especially for late starters in the year. If you have spoken to other members of staff then that is a very good sign that you will get your Work Visa, usually in less then 3 weeks.
    Ray_Bee likes this.
  16. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Perhaps if you are coming at Easter, then maybe it could be okay. I still think that it is a worrying sign and I would not like to be working in the Middle Kingdom without a Z visa.

    A week or two ago, several police turned up at our apartment, completely out of the blue. It was not a pleasant experience and I would not wish this on anyone else! Yes, I do have the Z visa stuck in my passport, but it is still not very nice when something like this happens. On a number of occasions, at MTR stations in Shenzhen, I have seen police checking documents. My general impression is that the authorities in China are getting stricter about this sort of thing. If you are caught working without a Z visa, then what is going to happen to you? A polite and gentle suggestion from the cops that perhaps you need to obey the laws in China? Or a few days in the slammer? Or just deportation? Do not pass "GO", do not collect 200 RMB? Of course there is no simple answer to this question and things may vary from one school to another or from one city to another.
  17. Looseseal

    Looseseal New commenter

    You don't need to carry a marriage certificate around with you or have it written in your passport that you are married to so and so. That just sounds strange.
    We got our visas (I was the one with the school position, other half came as my spouse) by showing our original marriage and birth certificates in person at the consulate. No making notorised copies necessary. We obviously took them with us to China just in case, but no need to carry them round. Once you have your visa, it's irrelevant- it's not like the police would be able to read them.

    There is an option that several unmarried spouses at my school did. They got a business visa that allowed them to be in China for a number of years, they just had to leave the country every so many months. I don't know what that entailed but it worked for them. Of course they couldn't actually get a job physically in China but at least one of them did run an online business. Similarly, several spouses (including my own) had jobs that allowed them to work online while in China. Even married spouses are not supposed to work, but if you can work remotely somehow, who would know? A few spouses were hired by the school as TAs- not sure what happened with the visa situation for them.

    If you want to get married anyway, it could be worth it. We only got married right before moving to China and had no problems with getting the visa in time, however I had mentioned it to the school in the interview. I know some teachers who got married while at the school and the school wouldn't give them the spousal benefits. Spousal benefits really can be worth a lot.

    If you're interested in TEFL however, I would look into doing that. You can still live with your partner. I'd just make sure your partner's school knows about you either way- it's nice to be included and not a "secret". My school never had an issue with those who came with unmarried partners. They just couldn't get them a spouse visa.
    Stillstayingjohnson likes this.
  18. Ray_Bee

    Ray_Bee New commenter

    thanks for feedback - anyway I am just going with it... I didn't feel it was something to worry about until I read the thread about it here. But good to be aware of nonetheless.

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