Working abroad and expatriation are goals only slightly more complicated than relocating and finding new work in your home country.  This page should clear up any basic questions one might have concerning these topics.


What are the basic requirements for teaching in China?

There are several basic requirements that the Chinese government has for foreigners to receive the Chinese Work (Z) Visa and the Foreign Experts Certificate:

  • Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited 4-year college or university
  • If teaching, 2-years work experience or a 120-hour TEFL Certification
  • Recent health check by approved clinic
  • Clear criminal background check (federal, state, or local)
  • Native-English Background
  • Two professional or academic letters of recommendation
  • Passport issued by country with English as the official language (e.g. US, UK, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, Australia, Canada)
  • One-Year Commitment

Are there any exceptions or variations of the requirements for teaching in China?

Yes, but only in Beijing, Shanghai, and some outlying provinces.  As Beijing is the nation’s capital and center of education, and Shanghai also a very important city, there are special rules.  Outlying provinces, such as Jilin Province, are under certain circumstances rendering unique, and often more lenient, government policy on issuing work permits.

Some are more lenient and others stricter.  Please inquire directly with our recruiters for more details.


What is the step-by-step process to obtain a Chinese Z-visa?

If you are already residing in China, the employer will assist you in transferring your Foreign Expert Certificate.  The process is easy.

If you are residing in your home country, after you have connected with Opportunity in China please consider the following step-by-step bullet-list as a road map to obtaining a Chinese Z-visa to teach in China:

  • interview with a recruiter at Opportunity in China
  • provide the following documents for the job placement service
    • electronic copy of passport ID page
    • electronic copy of resume / CV
    • electronic copy of Bachelor’s Degree Diploma
    • relevant work references
    • electronic copy of TEFL Certification or equivalent
    • electronic photograph (professional) and/or short self-introduction video
  • our team will consider your preferences and then find you a suitable job opportunity
  • you will interview via Skype, Wechat, or other medium with school HR
  • when you pass an interview and negotiate details, then you will receive the official offer
  • If you for any reason dissatisfied with the job offer, we will negotiate on your behalf, or we will find another suitable job opportunity, the interview process will occur again
  • then you will need to retrieve the following:
    • a proof of no criminal background report from the FBI, your local state/provincial government, or municipal court system
    • a Foreigner Physical Examination Form filled out by a local health clinic
  • then you will need to have your degree diploma, TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate and background check notarized and verified as follows:
    • bring your background check document to the local police department or justice of peace and have their in-house notary notarize the document (if possible, it is often helpful to have the notary create and affidavit stating that you were present to have the document notarized.)
    • bring your degree diploma, TEFL certificate, and a scanned color-copy of your degree diploma and TEFL certificate to a local notary, Secretary of State, at a bank, attorney, etc, to have the copies notarized (if possible, it is often helpful to have the notary create and affidavit stating that you were present to have the document notarized.)
    • in the US, bring both your notarized background check, TEFL certificate and degree diploma copy (keep the original degree diploma with your notarized copy) to your local Secretary of State to have them verified
  • ***then you will need to visit your nearest Chinese Embassy or Chinese Consulate to authorize both your notarized background check, TEFL certificate (bring the copy with the original), copy of degree diploma (keep the original degree diploma with your notarized copy), and document verification application filled out
  • after authorizing your background check and a copy of your degree diploma and TEFL, gather them and all following documents and send digital copies to your new employer or HR agent in China:
    • health check document
    • two references
    • degree diploma
    • background check
    • passport ID page
    • TEFL/TESOL and any other certification
    • resume
  • then your employer will retrieve the work permit from the Chinese government
  • once you receive the work permit in the mail, complete the Chinese Z visa application
  • discuss your itinerary with your employer and book a flight and any necessary accommodation.  Book your flight no fewer than 5 business days in advance as this is the typical time it takes to process the visa, allow for more time if you have chosen to use the services of a visa processing company (see below)
  • ***go to the nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulate (yes, again) and provide the following:
    • completed Chinese Z visa application
    • health check document
    • degree diploma (keep the original degree diploma with your notarized copy)
    • background check
    • passport
    • new passport photo
    • TEFL/TESOL and any other certification (keep the original with your notarize copy)
    • itinerary (when you plan to arrive, where you will stay, etc, all with supporting documentation)
  • Fly to China, and staff from your employer or our firm will pick you up
  • Finalize residence status affairs, get settled in to your new home, begin job training, and good luck!

***If bringing documents to the Embassy or Consulate yourself is not feasible, you may hire a third party to perform this task for you.  If you live in the jurisdiction of the Chinese Consulate in Chicago, our staff at Opportunity in China may perform these tasks for you.  Also, please make scanned copies of all your documents, and bring/attach them with the originals in case the Consulate or Embassy wishes to keep the copy.  Sometimes this is required, and having the printed copies on hand will save you time and prevent hassles.