You Can Apply and Obtain Employment or Work Z Visa in China

If you want to work in China, you need to apply and obtain an employment or Z visa. A work or Z visa is a legal documentation that the Chinese government requires for any non-citizen who wants to work in China. An approved visa coming from the Chinese Embassy and Consulate's General will allow you to enter and work legally up until the time that you'll leave from China.

Most foreign citizens that come from other countries are required to apply and obtain an employment or a Z visa before they are allowed entrance to the country. The Z visa is generally issued to people who are hired by the Chinese companies in order to work in China along with their family members. 

The validity of your duration of stay including the number of entries of the Chinese visa will be decided by the consular officers discretion and the decision could be based on Chinese laws and regulations. The consular officers have the final authority to refuse any application inconsistent with their Chinese laws and regulations.

They are entitled to change or revoke any issued visas, without providing any explanation. Be sure to fill-up completely and correctly the application form so that you'll avoid any delay in processing or even refusal of your requested work visa. The Z visa is valid for one entry in three months and the holder of a work visa shall go through residential formalities through the local Chinese public security department within thirty days of his or her entry to China.

Moderately Challenging


things you'll need:

  • A good employer that will sponsor you to work in China
  • A passport valid for at least 6 months
  • 1 completed Chinese visa application form (Q1)
  • A pen with black or blue ink
  • 1 colored passport photo glued or stapled on the application form
  • Permission to work document
  • Official invitation notice
    • 1

      Look for a good employer before you start to apply for an employment or work visa in China. Take note that it's your employer who will officially apply for the necessary documents that you'll need in order to enter the country for the legality of your employment. 

      Never accept any job with a company that will ask you money in order to enter and work through a tourist visa because this is illegal in China. You can also research about your employer for additional information so that you'll feel safe and secure before starting your work visa application.

    • 2

      Check whether your passport is still valid for your application. Applicants are now required to appear in the Visa Office for their application. In case if an applicant cannot come personally, he or she may entrust a relative, travel/visa agent or a friend to come and submit the application on his or her behalf. 

      The Chinese Embassy and Consulates no longer accept visa applications by mail. Their office no longer require any appointment for visa applications. You may submit the work visa application to the Visa Office of the Embassy or Consulate General that holds consular jurisdiction within the state where you currently reside.

    • 3

      Attach a 2 x 2 inches colored passport photo to your visa application form or Q1. It needs to have a solid colored background that will show your full forward face in the center of the photo. Remove your hat if you're wearing one since both ears must be seen in your colored photo. 

      Never crop your pictures to fit into the photo box of your application form. You can just staple it in order to attach on your photo box of your application form. 

      Avoid printing your own colored picture for submission because this could only delay your visa application. The colored passport picture must be clear and taken by a professional photographer in order to have a good photo result.

    • 4

      Fill out your employment or work application form legibly using a pen with blue or black ink. Avoid using pencil because your application form will not be accepted if you'll use one. 

      Write all the required information then print your visa application form on a white and non-perforated paper. The right time for you to apply with regards to your visa application is probably between the first and second months before your departure date. In case that you already have your passport, there is a big possibility that you can get your visa more sooner.

      You may also apply for a single entry visa as early as six months prior to your departure. It's advisable that you get your double or multiple entry visa within the second or third month before your trip. 

      Applications without discrepancies can be processed in just one business day. You should also prepare your other important papers in case the Chinese Visa Officers may require additional documents relevant to your employment application.

    • 5

      Apply for an employment or Z visa with the necessary documents through your future employer who will allow you to work in China. Many of the foreign applicants who know the English language well are usually teachers in their own countries and may need to provide a " Foreign Experts Work Permit". 

      This permit shall be requested and applied for by your future employer and it will be issued by the Chinese State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs. You also need to have a visa notification issued by the authorized Chinese unit and a "Work Permit for Aliens" issued by the Chinese Labor Ministry or Foreign Expert' s License issued by the Chinese Foreign Expert Bureau.

    • 6

      Acquire an "Official Invitation Notice for China Visa Applicants" for your work or Z visa application. This official notification issued by the Chinese Government Department or authorized agency will designate the term of validity, number of entries and also the duration of every stay that your employment or work visa will permit. 

      If you have family members who are also applying for a visa, they need a visa notification issued by the authorized Chinese unit for proof of kinship, like a marriage certificate, birth certificate or any legal document that will be accepted. Generally, a single entry Chinese visa could be valid for up to three months from the issue date while a double entry visa may be valid for six months and a multiple entry visa would last up to a year. 

      So you need to enter the country before your visa' s expiration date. Take note that the visa is valid from the date of issue and not based on the date where you entered China.

    • 7

      Gather all of the necessary documents and apply in person at the Visa Office of the Embassy or Consulate General under the consular jurisdiction in which you currently live to submit your application. US citizens will be asked to pay $130.00 for their employment or Z visa and $30.00 for citizens who come from other foreign countries. 

      An applicant could request an expedited process with the approval of the Chinese Consular Officers and an additional payment of $20.00 will be charged per visa if he or she wants the 2 or 3 business-day urgent processing. If you want the same day rush service, you may opt to pay an additional fee of $30 for one working day processing but this could only apply for those applications presented before 12:30 pm that could be picked up between 2:30-3:00 pm on the very same day. 

      You need to pay through your Master card, Visa, money order, cashier's check, through bank or company check. Do not bring personal checks because these are not acceptable. Your payment should be made payable to the "Chinese Consulate". It is important that you check the official website of the Chinese Embassy and Consulates General to read all the recent changes with regards to your work visa application before you even start applying.

    • Tips & Warnings

      • The Visa Office of the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC will no longer provide the "mail back service" starting on February 1, 2010.

      • The employment or Z visa is for single entry and valid for three months. The holder of this Z visa should enter China within three months of the date of issue then undergo certain procedures for acquiring a residence permit in the local public security bureau upon his or her thirty days of entry in the country.

      • Take note that the duration of your stay is printed on the visa that you received. If you want to stay longer, you should apply and request that your visa will be extended.

      • If you are a person suffering from a psychological or mental disorder, AIDS, leprosy, venereal diseases, contagious tuberculosis or other such infectious diseases then you will not be permitted to enter China.

      • Be aware that working in China on a tourist visa is punishable under Chinese laws for both the visa applicant including the employer.