Z Visas (work visa) & Permits
Working abroad requires a legal process. Here you can find a few documents and steps you need to take to obtain them.
*NOTE* Although, this may apply to many countries, this post is specific to China. It is is a general reference list. Please check with your employer and local laws to ensure an accurate process.
These are the steps for those in the U.S. It may vary by state. Make sure to check with your employer and state requirements.
STEP 1: Obtain a Background Check
This can be requested at a local, state, or national organization (FBI). I used the local police station. It costed $10, took less than five minutes and I walked out with the report in hand. In most cases FBI checks aren't required, but in case it is, for more information, visit the FBI’s official website.
STEP 2: Authenticate Documents
The following documents requires authentication:
University degree: Bachelors or higher (in any subject, unless specified)
Your background check
A teacher qualifying document which is one of the following: A teaching license, TEFL Certificate (120 HOURS+) or a reference letter for 2+ years classroom teaching experience.
Get documents notarized by a local notary. Where you can get the certified copy or original document authenticated will depend on the city/province/country that you'll be teaching in.
For Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, or Tennessee: Notarized documents must be authenticated at the county level after they're notarized. County authentication can be obtained from a circuit clerk, circuit court, county clerk, probate judge, or a superior court clerk.
Documents should be certified by the local Secretary of State's office. All documents should be certified by the Secretary of State’s office in the state where the document was notarized. They will verify the notarization received in step 1 and put a seal on the notarized document.
For Washington DC, Delaware, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, or Wyoming: Documents issued in these states must be authenticated by the U.S. Department of State after being certified by the local Secretary of State’s office.
Documents must authenticated by a Chinese consulate (your documents MUST be delivered to the consulate in person - NO EXCEPTIONS). After they're authenticated by the Secretary of State’s office and/or the U.S. Department of State, the documents can be authenticated by the Chinese consulate. The consulate should holds consular jurisdiction over the state where the document was certified.
STEP 3: Work Permit
After all documents have been authenticated, scan and email them to your employer. They will apply for your work permit. This normally takes an estimated 5-20 business days. It's important to tell them which Chinese consulate you will use to apply for your work visa. YOU CAN’T CHANGE THIS LATER. So if you plan to use an agent, you may want to consult them at this point.
Step 4: Work Visa
Once approved, your employer will email your work permit approval to you which you can take to the consulate or to the visa agent assisting you. It’s easier to find the consulate nearest you. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of State’s website and choose the visa type that’s right for you.