All foreigners who travel to China for paid work will need to obtain a Chinese work visa – or Z visa as it’s also known. There are various requirements and a set of documents you will need to gather and prepare for a successful application and requirements differ across countries making it essential to do plenty of research before the date you travel to work in China.
MSC Notaries can notarise or certify a number of legal documents for business or personal use, to ensure a smooth application process. Read our guide below on Chinese work visa requirements and what you will need to complete the process, or benefit from our range of other guides on how to obtain a work permit in other counties such as Thailand or Vietnam.
What is a China work permit?
A Chinese work permit (Z visa) is issued for non-Chinese citizens who are taking paid employment in China. They are also issued for anyone undertaking commercial entertainment in China.
Chinese work visas only last for 30 days from when you arrive in China and you and your employer must also apply for a Temporary Residence Permit for the duration of your stay alongside this.
A work visa in China is a single entry permit, meaning you aren’t able to leave China and return during this time. In addition, when you apply for a Temporary Residence Permit, it is down to the Chinese authorities to determine the duration of your stay. This can be a minimum of 90 days or a maximum of five years, depending on the role you’ll be performing, your skills, the reason for working in China, and several other factors.
What documents are required to apply for a China work permit?
You will need the following documents in order to apply for a Chinese work permit:
- Passport – this should be valid for at least six months and contain a minimum of one blank page
- Passport photocopy
- A recent passport photo
- Visa Application Form – signed and completed accurately and truthfully. The application form must be typed in black capital letters. Handwritten is not accepted
- Notification of Work Permit – obtained via employers in China
- Supporting documents – if required on a case-by-case basis, these may include medical or criminal background checks which need to be notarised
China work visa requirements
In order to apply for a China work visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must be aged between 18 to 60 (although there is some flexibility – speak to your employer)
- Have a valid passport and the required documentation listed above
- Have an official letter of invitation, an official employment licence from the Chinese authorities and a health certificate
- Must comply with Chinese Exit-Entry Administration Law and register with the Public Security Bureau within 24 hours of arriving in the country
You’ll also need to check qualification requirements depending on the type of employment you are seeking.
When should I apply for a China work visa?
You should plan ahead and leave plenty of time to apply for your work visa. It’s advisable to allow at least one month before you plan to enter China. However, you are not able to apply any earlier than three months before, as your visa is likely to expire before you need it.
Visa applications usually take around four working days to process.
How do I get a work visa for China?
- Download the visa application form. You will need to fill this in on your computer in black capital letters, so use a pdf editor such as Adobe Acrobat.
- Check that all information is correct.
- Print and sign the document.
- Take your completed visa application form, passport, passport photograph, Work Permit (from your employer in China) and any supporting documents to your nearest Chinese embassy to complete your application.
Legalising your documents for a China work permit
Although your employer has an important part to play in your China work visa, it is your responsibility to source all the necessary documents for your application. You must ensure that your passport is valid and that you meet all the above requirements to avoid your application being refused.
MSC Notaries can assist you in the process by legalising and notarising personal documents such as any qualifications, degrees, or medical or criminal background checks. As notaries we can often bundle several documents together to make 1 document, meaning that you only need to pay for one apostille and 1 China legalisation fee. Learn more about our notary services or use our enquiry form to book an appointment.