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How to Apply For a Z Visa For Work in China

Here, we explain how to apply for a work visa for China, also referred to as a ‘Z’ visa, the eligibility rules, and how to apply. For expert assistance with your immigration matter, contact Reiss Edwards, immigration lawyers and solicitors in London.

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Business across China is booming due to a prolonged period of strong economic growth. In turn, this growth is fuelling a growing demand for skilled labour from outside of China to fill roles for which there are insufficient suitable local candidates. Due to the need for foreign workers in China, in recent years, the Chinese immigration authorities have made the process of securing a visa more efficient and straightforward. If you will be travelling to China for work in the near future, it is essential that you choose the correct entry visa for your needs. Here, we explain how to apply for a work visa for China, also referred to as a ‘Z’ visa, the eligibility rules, and how to apply.

What Is A Z Visa For China?

The Chinese Z visa permits entry for foreign nationals who have been offered paid employment in China.

The Z visa is issued for up to 30 days, during which time the visa holder will need to secure a temporary residence permit to enable them to reside and work legally in China for the whole period of their employment contract. Temporary residence permits can be granted for anywhere between 90 days and five years.

Am I Eligible For A Z Visa For China?

To make a successful application for a Z visa for China, you must:

  • Be between 18 and 60 years (some discretion may be exercised for applications from those outside this range)
  • Have a job offer from a Chinese employer for between 90 days and five years
  • Have a Foreigners Worker Permit (FWP) – this will be applied for by your employer on your behalf. Only when you have your FWP approved should you apply for your Z entry visa for China

If you are unsure if you are eligible for a Category C work permit for China, speak to a lawyer specializing in Chinese immigration policy who will be able to assess this for you.

How Can I Apply For A Z Visa For China?

Before applying for your Z visa for China, your employer will first need to apply for your Foreigners Worker Permit (FWP). Once this is granted, your employer will then let you know that you can proceed to apply for your entry visa.

The application process for a Z visa can vary from country to country. In some countries, you will need to visit your nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulate, where you can complete an application form. In other countries, you will need to complete an online application and then make an appointment at your nearest Chinese Visa Application Centre.

In addition to submitting your application form, you will need to provide evidence of your eligibility for a work visa in China; this may include one of the following documents:

  • Your ‘Notification Letter of Foreigner’s Work Permit’ proving that you have been granted an FWP by the immigration authorities in China.
  • A ‘Letter of Invitation to Foreigners Engaged in Offshore Petroleum Operations in China’ - these letters are typically issued by China National Offshore Oil Corporation to foreign offshore petroleum operators/ technicians who work in China.
  • A ‘Registration Certificate of Foreign Enterprises Permanent Office in China’.
  • An ‘Approval Document For Commercial Performances’ – these are issued by the Chinese government authorities for cultural and tourism affairs to foreigners travelling to China for commercial performances
  • A ‘Confirmation Letter of Foreign Culture Centre Employee’ – these are issued by the Chinese government authorities for cultural and tourism affairs to foreign staff working for foreign culture centres in China
  • A ‘Confirmation Letter of Tourism Representatives’ issued by the Chinese government authorities for cultural and tourism affairs to foreign staff working for resident representative offices of the foreign governmental department of tourism
  • A ‘Certificate of Registration for the Representative Office of Overseas Foundation’ – these are issued by Chinese government authorities for civil affairs

If you need any assistance with your China Z visa application, speak to an immigration solicitor who will be able to guide you through the process, check you are applying for the correct visa, and that the application and supporting documents submitted are correct.

What Is The Application Fee For A Z Visa For China?

The application fee for a Z visa depends on which country you are applying from. The amount also depends on whether you are paying for the regular, express, or postal return service, the length of the visa, and whether it is for single or multiple entries. A schedule of fees (in pounds sterling) can be found online.

What Is The Processing Time For A Z Visa For China?

Processing times can vary by country. For the Chinese Embassy in the UK, for example, the processing times for the Z visa for China are as follows:

  • Regular Service applications: Visa will be ready for collection on the fourth working day
  • Express Service applications: Visa will be ready for collection on the third working day

Can I Bring My Family Members To China?

Yes, dependant family members (i.e. spouse and children) who wish to accompany the principal visa holder will need to apply for an S visa. To support their application, they will need to provide evidence of their relationship with the Z visa holder.

Can I Extend My Z Visa In China?

In some cases, Z visa holders in China may wish to extend their stay, assuming that their employment is also extended. To extend a Z visa, holders must apply for an extension at their local immigration office in China with evidence of a renewed or extended work contract.

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"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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