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When to Fly Out

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Adrift43, Feb 25, 2019.

  1. Adrift43

    Adrift43 New commenter

    Hello there, as some of the more regular posters here know, I am moving to China with my wife to work in an international school in a few months time. Now the school is encouraging us to come on the same date as all the other new teachers, but the pair of us would quite like to come earlier than that. I understand that you have a 30 day window upon arrival to apply for a residence visa and to some extent the whole process is a lot more painless if you arrive in the country and immediately get whisked around by your school. However me and the wife would quite like to arrive 2 weeks earlier so that we have some time to explore some of China and get our feet firmly on the ground. We don't mind having to pay for the hotels/inherent costs involved in this.

    I guess the question I have is if there is anything I'm missing here? Would arriving 2 weeks early carry with it the risk of jeopardising our application for a residence/work visa? I appreciate that the rules for work visa's are always changing with China, but perhaps some on here may have a clear idea of how realistic it is to arrive 2 weeks before the suggested date of your school.

    Looking forward to hearing from you soon!
  2. Jason_Bourne_

    Jason_Bourne_ Established commenter

    My advice would be to ask your school. They should be aware of the visa processing times and should be able to advise you more accurately than we can..
  3. SecondPlace

    SecondPlace Occasional commenter

    Part of it will also be the resources the school can commit to supporting you when arrive.

    They will have, or should have, a plan in place to support you on arrival that will likely involve holding your hand through the whole process. They will have staff who will be lined up to do this - local HR and probably other teaching faculty.

    This will be from a set date.

    I would ask them what the plan is and how they feel about you 'flying solo' until that point - either in the city you're moving to, or exploring some of China.

    Crucially you should ask them about visa validity as if there are strict deadlines you may not be able to travel around independently if you arrive early, or you may compromise your work visa application if you don't apply within x number of days. I have no idea about timeframes for this last point and you need to guided by the school.

    I would also suggest copying your relevant divisional Principal?HoS into any questions you send to the HR as the HR might be inclined to encourage their timeline as this will be more familiar and comfortable to them and they might be reluctant to do something that falls outside of their usual paramters.
  4. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    HR are normally OK about arriving early - certainly, the two schools we joined were happy for us to arrive early, as it meant that there were less people to deal with! :)

    That said, travelling around China might not be possible because of the formalities involved in getting your visa. Your passport is your ID card here, and you need it for things like travelling by train or plane and checking into hotels, even if you are not travelling overseas. However, if you are moving to Beijing or Shanghai, then there are more than enough things to do.

    The main reason we went early though was to get a head start on things like getting an apartment and finding your way around. It sounds like a great plan, everyone arriving together, but actually it can be an incredibly tiring, frustrating and sometimes emotional period, especially if it's your first time away. Going early and just getting settled before the hurly burly of school starts really does make a difference and if you have to find an apartment then it's a lot easier.
  5. Adrift43

    Adrift43 New commenter

    Hi again Amysdad, always great to hear from you!

    Our HR department seems to want us to show up at the same time as the others as it's more convenient to some extent. The other factor is the fact that the school won't be open really until the encouraged ,,date of arrival. The school is 40 minutes by train from Shanghai so if we can't leave the province we should have plenty to do. I do agree with you that getting your feet on the ground and settled is important. I just don't want to do anything which terribly upsets my new school and/or possibly screws up the residency process. Part of the problem I suppose is how unclear instructions/process from the school has been. They've given us a good list of what we need to gather/submit to get a visa but haven't really fleshed out the practicalities of how you apply for a work visa, particularly once you actually get to China, although I assume that's simply because they deal with all of that stuff once we actually arrive on the 'desired date'.
  6. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    It is - the process you go through in the UK is getting the Z visa, which allows you entry into China - the school then are responsible for getting the actual residence visa within the set timescale. The problem is that there are slight but sometimes significant differences between the cities / provinces - Beijing has slightly different requirements to Shanghai.

    For the school, it probably is simply "for ease" that they want everyone arriving together, because then they can take all the passports at once to the visa office instead of making a number of trips. What you could consider doing, if you want a holiday, is to go to Hong Kong for a bit - for visa purposes, China still treats HK as overseas so when you enter the mainland from HK you go through the international channel.
  7. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    A good idea to get there early for all the reasons mentioned, but as amysdad rightly says the school would like all new staff to get there at the same time to do all the paperwork at the same time. As most school HR departments don't get school holidays they should be available to help you. On the other hand, in my experience, Chinese HR departments often use the school holidays to arrive at work late, leave work early and spend much of their time on tao bao or asleep, so they might not look too kindly on you arriving early. Give it a shot though and see what they say! You could also make it a fait accompli, if you are booking your own flight and being reimbursed!!

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