Document Authentication for the Chinese Work Visa (Z Visa)

28 Jul

As many of you know, the rules for the Chinese Work Visa has changed a lot over the last year.  This confusing and more complex system had three purposes:

  1. To simplify the process (at least that’s how the government proposed it)
  2. To sift through and minimize the number of fake diplomas, liars, and cheats getting through the system.
  3. To modernize their system in line with International Standards.

As someone currently going through this process, here is what I have learned so far. **Remember that this system is complex and new. The nuts and bolts haven’t been worked out yet. My experience may not be your experience. I highly recommend you speak with an agency for help if you need it. 



Chinese Consulate Juridiction

In the United States, there are five Chinese Consulates (Houston, New York, San Francisco, LA, Chicago) and one Chinese Embassy (Washington, DC)


Each Consulate and Embassy divides up jurisdiction over different states.  Each state (except California) belongs to one Consulate or Embassy.  California is special because the Northern States belong to the Consulate in San Francisco while the Southern States belong to the Consulate in L.A. 

Do you care? Yes!  This is a very important concept for the Visa process.  


Step 1: Document Authentication

This is the step that is killing everyone in a horrible, confusing, bewildering maze of rules that don’t work and steps that can’t be done.

Here’s what is happening (so far as I can tell):

You must have an ORIGINAL copy of your Highest Degree Diploma and a Police background check from your last state of residence (**If you have been living in China, just go back to the last place of residence before China).  A federal background check does not suffice. A photocopy of your diploma will not suffice.  It must be originals.  TIP: You can get the diplomas from your university, but they usually don’t know what you’re talking about. Tell them you want the “Notarized Copy of a Diploma given to people taking Certification and Board Exams.”  The copy that the Chinese Government wants is the same thing that people give to all the Medical, Accounting, and professional offices when they take the professional exams.  It is an official diploma notarized by the county clerk there.  Usual cost is about $10-$15.  It takes about 1 week to mail to you.  

PROCESS OF AUTHENTICATION: The rules for certification at each jurisdiction can be different. Application forms, the processes — the Chinese embassies and consulates are not always the same on how to get the documents certified.   Visit the website of your Chinese office to ask what exactly is required before they will look at it.  In general, the process has 3-4 steps:

  1. Notarized by a State Notary. I find the easiest way to do this is simply to tell the school or state that you need a “notarized” document when you ordered the originals.  For both my diploma and state police search, I requested a “notarized” version and they sent me that. If you get one that is NOT notarized yet, you should go to a bank and ask them to notarize it for you.  It must be notarized in the state where it came from! Not just any state notary will do!
  2. The Secretary of State must Authenticate the Original Document. For some, this means a stamp – for others they will staple an extra stamped / signed paper on the back of your document.  DO NOT remove any staples or anything once the State has handled the document.  Just leave it alone.  To find out how to get your state to authenticate the documents, click here.  In some states, they will give you an Apostille (similar but only used for certain countries).  In others, they are giving you a “Certificate of Authentication” which is slightly different.  Follow their rules to see which one you need from them.  It must be authenticated in the state where it came from!  
  3. If your document came from Delaware, District of Colombia, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming you get to have an extra step! Yay!  These documents have to also pass inspection with the Department of Authentication in Washington, DC.  The link to their instructions is here.  You can either mail your document in (what they recommend) or set up a walk-in appointment (only for emergency cases).  You should probably call ahead and make sure you qualify as an emergency case. Otherwise, you”ll waste your trip (like a friend of mine did).  Many DC agencies who process Chinese visas will also help you do this step for a fee 🙂  
  4. Certified by the Correct Chinese Embassy or ConsulateThis process varies from place to place. Please visit the website of the proper location for their specific instructions.  **Remember this is according to where the document originated, not where you live For example, I have a University Diploma from a college in Virginia. Even though I am an Iowa resident, this document came from a Virginia school and was notarized in Virginia. So it MUST go through the Washington DC embassy.  On the other hand, my Iowa background check has to be certified at the Chicago consulate.  Confusing and requires a lot of travel and mailing plans.  Also costly.
    1. Washington DC.
    2. Chicago
    3. Houston
    4. LA
    5. New York
    6. San Francisco

Step 2. Collect all your documentation & Email photocopies to the Chinese Organization representing you

  1. Original Passport (with 8 months remaining and at least 2-3 pages empty)
  2. A Photocopy of your Passport.  
  3. A Passport-Sized Color Photo of you.  No smile. No hats or hair coverings. Stare straight ahead. Try to show your ears (**yes, this is a requirement I’ve run into — just do your best).  
  4. Photocopy of Diploma & Certification from the Chinese Embassy
  5. Photocopy of Background Check & Certification from the Chinese Embassy

The Chinese University / Workplace will have to do a bunch of work online to set everything up first.  That’s why they need photocopies right now, not the originals.

Step 3: Chinese Workplace will Apply for your Chinese Documents (Alien Work Permit) 

You don’t have to do anything here, just wait.  The Chinese workplace will do all this paperwork and later mail or email you the document.   

Step 4: Apply for your Visa

So, according to my university — the foreign expert bureau requires you to actually EXIT America on this visa. So you can apply for the visa through an Agency but you still have to get it in America and fly to China directly with it.  No third countries in the middle allowed. I’m not sure this is true for everyone (I don’t really get the point of it), but that is what I’m told.  For example, I’m in China but apparently have to leave the country, go to the US for a week while they do the visa application process, get it, then fly back to China directly.  

***I haven’t actually done this step yet – I’ll let you know what was required as soon as I do.  But I have asked about it, and this is based on what I was told.

Anyway, you need:

  1. Original Passport
  2. Photocopy of Your Passport
  3. Passport Photo (2×2)
  4. China Visa Application – TYPED!
  5. Your Work Permit from the Chinese workplace
  6. Any other documents you Chinese workplace provided.

Go to the Chinese embassy, drop off your papers, wait.  Pay and pick it up when it’s ready!

Step 5: Get your Foreign Permit Card

Once you take your visa back to China, within 30 days they will take all your original documents — passports, diplomas, background checks, certifications, etc. and apply for a foreign permit card.  Once you have that, you can go back to traveling within China.

Step 6: Get your Foreign Residence Card

The school will apply for this for you. It takes about 20 days to receive.

That’s It! 



Beautiful Day for a #Stroll in #Seoul

28 Jul

From my #Seoul2017 trip! Beautiful background on a lovely day ❤ One of my favorite views in the city

Still looks like #Spring! #Nofilter

26 Jul

#Changchun is full of green and flowers. Everywhere you look people are growing & planting things! #nofilter

Document Authentication & Apostilles

26 Jul

Many countries and international university may require Americans to get what is called an Apostille or Authentication of their Diplomas and other documents.  If you are applying for a university abroad, a job internationally, etc. they will usually ask for your diploma and maybe a police background check as well. Initially, they will just ask you for a “photocopy” of the document, but maybe later they will want you to “authenticate the document” or include an Apostille.  

What does this mean exactly?  What it means is that they don’t trust your document precisely, in fact they don’t trust anyone’s documents.  These countries are asking you for a “second-level” of security to make sure your document is not a fake or copy.  It isn’t enough these days to just get an original copy of your document and mail that to them. Now, they want your state and federal government to also attest to their validity.  

Basically, the international standard for “verifying the legality of documents” is to have the State and Federal government notarize or “certify them.” This involves sending the original and a copy to your state department, then send that to the United States federal government, and sometimes then onto that foreign nation’s embassy for a final stamp.  

Obviously, such a process is long and costly in terms of time and money.  So many countries got together and signed an agreement that you can instead get a document called the “APOSTILLE.”  This document is given to you by your state department and does not require the federal or embassy steps.  Much faster right?   Sometimes — not all countries actually follow that rule, and it kind of depends on your state.  

But regardless, you always have to start with this step – get the State Department to sign off on your document to prove it is legit.  Below are links to the websites for each state where you can order document authentications and apostilles!

1. Alabama 
2. Alaska
3. Arizona
4. Arkansas (Rules)
5. California 
6. Colorado
7. Connecticut 
8. Delaware
9. District of Colombia
10. Florida 
11. Georgia 
12. Hawaii 
13. Idaho 
14. Illinois
15. Indiana 
16. Iowa 
17. Kansas
18. Kentucky 
19. Louisiana
20. Maine 
21. Maryland 
22. Massachusetts 
23. Michigan 
24. Minnesota 
25. Mississippi 
26. Missouri 
27. Montana
28. Nebraska 
29. Nevada 
30. New Hampshire
31. New Jersey 
32. New Mexico 
33. New York 
34. North Carolina 
35. North Dakota 
36. Ohio
37. Oklahoma 
38. Oregon 
39. Pennsylvania
40. Rhode Island 
41. South Carolina 
42. South Dakota
43. Tennessee 
44. Texas
45. Utah 
46. Vermont 
47. Virginia
48. Washington
49. West Virginia 
50. Wisconsin 
51. Wyoming

Yellow Caterpilkar

25 Jul

I made a new #friend today. Isn’t he cute! He needs a name though. . .

It’s #Time! — #Changchun here I come!

23 Jul

The big change has arrived! Tomorrow, I am closing up my home in Henan and moving to Changchun, Jilin. Northeast Normal University (#NENU) has been amazing and very helpful in this long process. They have really gone above and beyond with the resettlement process! We have been in Henan for three years now, and had some wonderful experiences. It’s really made me grow as both a teacher and a person. I have loved my students here so much from my first Bus. Eng. 1, Bus. Eng. 2, and Finance 7 classes to this year’s international students, Statistics kids, and Finance 1. I’m gonna miss you guys so much! Of course most of you already graduated so I would miss you anyway 😛 Very sad to leave so many great friends and “in-my-heart” family members behind, but I promise to stay in touch with everyone and we can always communicate on #WeChat / #Weixin! Everyone is welcome to come and visit some time, we’re very close to the ice sculptures of #Harbin

Excited to meet my new students and for the opportunity to meet new friends! I’ll post pictures soon!


#Cheonggyecheon Stream

16 Jul

The World Through #Tech Eyes

14 Jul

The #Tech world – always communicating behind glass, usually with filters distorting the view.  Looking each other face – to – face might help us see one another more clearly.

#Cheese Erasers! 😂

11 Jul

Haha! My Uncle used to own a #Cheese plant – this picture is for him.  He is the totally awesomest dude ever! Miss you!  And Everyone who has lived in China and knows the tragedy that is life without cheese!


Some Latin Phrases Use in Law (A-D)

10 Jul

Latin Phrases for Law (A – C.jpg

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