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How to Get a Work Visa in China

China has opened its doors to foreign enterprise, and more and more companies have begun to invite Western professionals to work with them. If your company wants to send you to work in China or you want to try finding a job there, a work visa is a must. You’ll find the process--while a bit time-consuming--isn’t too complex, and you should have no problem getting your Chinese work visa!

What You Will Need

First off, you’re going to need a valid passport. The passport must be valid for at least 12 months at the time when you apply for the Chinese work visa. There must be at least two blank visa pages available (the last three pages don’t count). Get a photocopy of your passport (the ID part--with your face, name, DOB, etc.).

Next, you will need to fill out the Visa Application Form V.2013. This form provides the Chinese government with all of the information they will need on you: your name, DOB, employment details, purpose of visiting China, etc. Check the form carefully before printing it out. If there are errors, you’ll need to fill it in all over again.

You are going to need to take passport-type photographs, but they must follow the exact specifications listed by the Chinese government. The photo must be no less than 6 months old at the time of applying for the visa, and it must be attached to the form using a paper clip. The photo will be used on your Chinese work visa as a form of ID.

If you are a teacher applying to work in China, you will need a "Foreign Experts Work Permit" signed and stamped by the China State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs. If you are not a teacher, you will need an "Alien Employment’s License of the People’s Republic of China", issued by the China Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

In order to apply for the work visa, you will need a company to invite you to work for them. That company will need to contact one of the following agencies:

  • International Trade Promotion Commission
  • Municipal Foreign Affair Office
  • Foreign Economic Relations & Trade Commission
  • Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau
  • Municipal Bureau of Commerce

It takes around a week for the company to obtain a letter from these agencies, and they may need a copy of your passport in order to obtain the document. The agencies will send a Confirmation of Invitation letter when you are approved.

Once you have all of these items, you must take them to your local Chinese consulate or embassy. You may also consider hiring an agency or lawyer to help you, and there is no need for you to fill out a power of attorney in order to submit the request.

It will usually take about 4 business days for the request to be processed, and you will be notified that your visa is accepted. You will need to pay the visa fees, as well as pay for the visa to be sent to your address.


See, not too difficult, right?


Image source: INS Global Consulting

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