China Work Visa (Z)


A work visa is a necessary requirement for those intending to work in China. It is also issued to foreigners who come to China for commercial reasons or entertainment performances. It is only granted if you and the employer meet certain requirements. Firstly, the organization must be accredited to employ foreigners. You must meet the requirements of 'foreign expert' and the employer must obtain a certificate stating that you comply. The most common employment currently is teaching English, for which the minimum qualifications are stated as having English as a first language and having at least a Bachelors degree and two years teaching experience. The age limit for male applicants is 24 - 65, and 24 - 55 for female applicants. However, there is some flexibility in these requirements so if you can find a willing employer there remains a chance of approval.



The employer will send you a government-issued Employment Permit and Visa Notification Letter which you must submit with your application. Accompanying family members should apply for a new S1 or S2 visa with an invitation letter from the relative with the work visa along with a 'proof of relationship' such as marriage or birth certificate.


The initial Z visa is valid for only 30 days from the date of arrival during which time you and your employer must sort out a Temporary Residence Permit for the duration of your contract – for a minimum of 90 days and the maximum of 5 years.



1. Valid passport with at least six months before expiration along with at least one blank page.
2. One completed Visa Application Form.
3. One recent passport standard photo affixed.
4. Invitation Letter issued by an authorized entity or Confirmation Letter of Invitation issued by relevant Chinese entities.
5. Work Permit (one of the following work permits):
  a. Foreigners Employment Permit issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of the PRC.
  b. Permit for Foreign Experts (Foreign Experts Certificate) issued by the State Bureau of Foreign Experts of the PRC.
  c. Registration Certificate of Resident Representative Offices of enterprises of foreign countries(regions) issued by Chinese authorities of industrial and commercial administration.
  d. An approval document for commercial performances issued by the Chinese government authorities for cultural affairs.
  e. Invitation Letter to Foreigners for Offshore Petroleum Operations issued by National Offshore Oil Corporation.


How to Apply

You can go to the Chinese embassy, consulate or other diplomatic missions in person for application. You can also entrust a legitimate travel agency or visa agency to act on your behalf. Always check your local Chinese embassy website for the latest procedure requirements.


Processing Time

It usually takes about 4 working days for processing. An additional US$30 is charged for 1 working day processing, or US$20 for 2-3 working day processing.


Visa Fees

The fee is the same as for other types of Chinese visa.. If you’re applying in the States, it will likely be around US$140 for American citizens, US$30 for other nationalities.


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