Traditional Chinese roof

Important information

Make sure you have everything you need when coming to China. Some are obvious, like the right visa, some might be less on your mind but are as important, as the access to your Western Social Media fix.

Work visa in China (Z-visa)

How long can I stay in China with a work visa?

With the work, you can only stay legally in China for a period of max 30 days after arriving in China. After your arrival, you, with the help of your employer, need to apply for a Temporary Residence Permit for the duration of your contract. Which allows you to stay and work legally in China for a minimum of 90 days and a maximum of 5 years. Please be aware, that the work visa is usually a single entry. The stated duration being 000, which means the duration is to be determined by the Temporary Residence Permit after you have entered China.

Is there an age limit for the work visa in China?

The legal age for the work visa is 18 – 60. Sometimes exceptions are possible. In case you don’t fall within the age range and you have to work together with your employer to make a convincing case. But the exceptions are rarely given and it takes a lot more efforts to obtain.

Work visa in China requirements & documents
1. Passport

Applicant’s valid actual passport with at least six months before expiry and at least one blank page left in it.

2. Application form

One accurately and truthfully completed China Work Visa Application Form.

3. Recent photo

One recent passport standard photo affixed to the Application Form.

4. Work permit

Applicants need to submit one of the following work permits obtained through their employers in China:
a. Foreigners Work Permit – issued by the Department of Science and Technology of the PRC.
b. Registration Certificate of Resident Representative Offices of enterprises of foreign countries (regions) – issued by Chinese authorities of industrial and commercial administration.
c. An approval document for commercial performances – issued by the Chinese government authorities for cultural affairs.
d. Invitation Letter to Foreigners for Offshore Petroleum Operations – issued by National Offshore Oil Corporation.

5. Supporting documents

Applicants might be required to submit supporting documents on a case-by-case basis. This could include a medical form and criminal history check, which has been notarized and authenticated. If you are not required to submit the medical form, you still need to take a medical check when applying for the Temporary Residence Permit in China. Download Physical Examination Record for Foreigner to check the tests you need to go through.

How to apply for the work visa in China

As for other visa types you need to apply for your work visa with the Chinese embassy or consulate. Also possible is to appoint a friend or agency to apply on your behalf. Applications have to be made in person and mailed applications are not accepted. In case within your country of application, there is a Chinese Visa Application Centers (CVASC), you should submit your application to the center. Some CVASC’s accept mailed application but you should inquire before to be certain.

Processing Time

Normal processing of a work visa takes usually 4 working days. E.g. an application you submit on a Monday will be ready for pickup on a Thursday. Express applications are possible for an extra fee. One working day processing costs an additional US$ 30, and US$ 20 for 2-3 working day processing.

Work visa fees

Fees for the work visa in China are the same as other visa types. The work visa will generally be issued as a single entry by the Chinese embassy or consulate. Hence, all listed visa fees listed here are single entry Z visa fees for some major countries. For more details, please click China Visa Fees.

US Citizens

Canadian Citizens

UK Citizens

Australian Citizens

USD 140

CAD 142

GBP 151

AUD 109.5


Are family members allowed on a work visa in China?

If family members want to join your stay in China, they should apply for an S visa by submitting an invitation letter from the relative with a work visa in China. Documents to provide ‘proof of relationship’ need to be provided, such as a marriage certificate for a spouse, or birth certificate for a child.

Note: The most common employment in China for foreigners is teaching English for which the minimum qualifications are stated as having English as a first language and having at least a Bachelors degree and two year teaching experience.

Cost of living in China



It is cheap. A subway or bus ticket costs around 20cents per trip. Taxis from the airport to the center cost around 5$. Even China’s famed highspeed trains are inexpensive, considering the distance they cover.


Not just delicious but also very affordable. Of course, it depends on the occasion and taste as well. Simple but delicious noodle or dumplings will cost not more than RMB15. A candlelight dinner only sets you back with RMB100 – 200 per person.


While buying luxury goods in China can actually be quite expensive, some experiences that would be considered “luxury” in other countries are actually quite affordable in China.

For example, going to the spa or getting a massage starts around RMB50 to 80 per hour at a local establishment. But there are also luxurious spas, especially in major cities in China where you can be pampered for a whole evening for just a few hundred RMB. 

Sichuan and Chengdu

We are based in Chengdu / Sichuan. The cost of living here is also way cheaper than the ‘big’ cities like Beijing or Shanghai – almost half for most items. So even when the teaching salary in Shanghai or Beijing is likely to be higher, at the end of the day you will probably get more out of your buck here in lovely Sichuan.

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Government supported short- and long term TEFL programs in Sichuan, China. Member of SEAIE under the Education Department of Sichuan Province.

Government supported short- and long term TEFL program in Sichuan, China. Member of SEAIE under the Education Department of Sichuan Province.

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