Red tape for ESL teachers in China

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China is one of the top ten ESL teaching destinations: apart from being “a big country, inhabited by many Chinese”, it is also one of the most fascinating countries that you could ever choose work in as an ESL teacher. Here is a brief guide about how to deal with the red tape if you are applying to work in China.

Before you can work as an ESL teacher, you will have to obtain a Z visa from the Chinese embassy: you do not have to attend an interview; however, you should apply at least one month before entering China and no more than three months prior to your departure. The visa will allow you to stay for up to one year. http://www.chinese-embassy.org.uk/eng/visa/ Assuming that you have been offered a post, your employer will be responsible for providing the following documents:

(1) a Foreign Experts Invitation Confirmation (FEIC) – this proves that you are qualified for the teaching post;

(2) a Foreign Experts ID from the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs – this document allows you to bring all your “personal necessities” without extra charge; and

(3) a Confirmation Letter of Invitation – this confirms that you have been offered a teaching post. Once the FEIC has been approved, your employer should send the original document to you for the Z visa application process. The host school will also provide you with an original hard copy of the Confirmation Letter of Invitation: the letter will have the full name and passport number of the ESL teacher, the length of stay, and the job description is written on it.

It should be borne in mind that both the FEIC and the Confirmation Letter of Invitation must be used within six months of their date of issue. On receipt of the necessary documents from your employer, you will be able to make your application to the Chinese embassy for your Z visa. To this end, you will be required to complete a visa application form, and you will also be required to undergo a medical check-up. The documents that are usually required to be submitted for a Z visa are as follows:

(1) Passport Sized Photos;

(2) Valid Passport;

(3) Completed Medical Report;

(4) A Confirmation Letter of Invitation;

(5) A Foreign Experts Invitation Confirmation certificate;

(6) A Foreign Experts ID. Once you have collected all the necessary information and completed the required documents, you should now be ready to submit your application to your local Chinese Embassy. Lastly, within 30 days of your entry into China – you will have to apply for a Residency Permit: this can be obtained from the “Exit & Entry Administration of the Public Security Bureau” in the nearest city.

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