Before applying for an ESL teaching job in China you must first check that you will be eligible to apply for a Z-Visa. The Z-Visa is a work visa for China, and there are specific documents and processes that are required to ensure that your application is successful. These may vary slightly from province to province, but the process is largely similar across China.
To apply for a Z-Visa as an ESL teacher, you must meet specific criteria. I have briefly outlined these below. Please be aware that if you do not meet this criteria, you will not be eligible to apply for any of our ESL teaching positions.
- Native English speakers from Canada, USA, UK, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland or South Africa.
- There must be at least 6 months before your passport expires.
- At least a Bachelor’s University degree.
- An acceptable teaching certificate such as a CELTA, 120-hour TEFL or TESOL
- A clean criminal background check
- Some cities may ask you to submit a basic medical report, but this is more often done shortly after arrival in China
Applying for a Z-Visa
The actual application process can be daunting for first-time teachers, but luckily your employer will have visa experts on their staff who will assist you throughout. However, be aware that you will need to get your degree, teaching certificate and criminal background check notarized, authenticated by your local authority and legalized by the Chinese embassy.
This can cause some confusion for teachers, so it is useful to contact your local foreign affairs department for advice. They will also assist you in getting your documents authenticated. Some selected websites are below:
- UK Foreign Office
- Irish Department of Foreign Affairs
- Global Affairs Canada
- US Department of State
- Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Travel
- New Zealand Foreign Affairs and Trade
After Arriving in China
Once you have arrived in China you will meet your company’s foreign teacher liaison. Often this person will meet you at the airport and help you with opening a bank account and getting a Chinese SIM card. They will also bring you to some important appointments to register your arrival in China. To avoid any surprises after your arrival, please just be aware of the following:
- You will need to apply for a foreigner Work Permit within ten days of arriving in China.
- You will need to apply for a Residence Permit within seven days of arriving in China.
Overall, the application for a Z-Visa is not incredibly difficult, but getting your documents in order can be time consuming. It is important to bear this in mind before you apply for a job as getting the necessary authentications and legalizations can delay your arrival. In a best case scenario you will already have this done before applying to facilitate a quick application process and speedy arrival in China!