Tag Archives: visa

Applying for a #ChinaWorkVisa (#ZVisa) as an American

9 Nov

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. This is NOT a legal “What to Do” article or anything from a legal or professional perspective. I’m not a professional immigration lawyer or professional immigration / visa worker.  This is just an overview of MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE!  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 Counties belong to the Consulate in San Francisco while the Southern belong to the Consulate in L.A.

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

I have actually already written about the whole pre-application process in another post over here.   Including an in-depth explanation of Document Authentication and what is required.

But here is a small overview again with more details under STEP 4 — actually applying for the VISA.

Step 1: Get Certain Documents “Authenticated” by the CORRECT Chinese Embassy in the US.

  • Criminal Background Check — A federal check will not suffice, you need a STATE or LOCAL police check.  I got mine from the Iowa State Criminal Background organziation, but I’m not sure where your’s would need to come from.  It cannot be older than 6 months. It should be from your last US residence — so if you lived in China for 4 years, it should be from your last US home.
  • Highest Degree Diploma

You will need to have both documents “certified” or “authenticated” by the Chinese Embassy that has jurisdiction over the ORIGIN of the document. So if your Diploma comes from the University of Virginia, it should go through the DC embassy.  If your background check comes from Florida, it should go through the Houston consulate.  My understanding is that DC may be able to authenticate ALL the documents since it is the official Embassy.  But you have to have the process done all the way through DC.  

If you have a document bound for DC, I recommend Roca Services. They got mine done within 10 days, although the others were quoting months.   If you are going somewhere else, I might recommend CVSC – I wasn’t thrilled with the Houston customer service and they take a few days to respond, but their Chicago service was pretty good.  

**For more information on how to get things authenticated, go here

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
  6. Health Check from an approved institution.

Email photocopies and then mail or give the hard copies to the Chinese Organization you will be working for.

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.   The only thing is to make sure that the paperwork does not list the wrong consulate or Embassy as the “application location” and that it does not use the word “Chinese Embassy.”  If the document SAYS “Chinese Embassy” you will be forced to do your stuff in DC where the actual Embassy is.  If you are not from the DC jurisdiction area, they will make you do it all over again in the right jurisdiction with modified paperwork.  It takes about 20 days to get this part done.

Step 4: Collect the Documents You Will Need for the Application

For some reason, I was told I absolutely, 100% had to return to America to get my Chinese work visa.  Although the Chinese embassy in Seoul said they could process everything, the local provincial office said that would not be accepted. They demanded that I return home instead. However, I have a close friend who got his done in Thailand without going back to the States. I’m gonna go with “It depends on your province.”  Talk to your company very early on and see if you have to be in the States to do the application process or if you can get it done somewhere else that might be more convenient.  For me, it meant a special one-week mad dash on my holiday. 😦 

Also, once again that JURISDICTIONAL stuff comes in handy.  Because my legal residence is in Iowa, I was required to do the application process in Chicago. I would not be able to go anywhere else–I had to go to my jurisdiction. 

Anyway, you need:

  1. Original Passport
  2. Photocopy of Your Passport
    1. They gave this back to me and took their own copy. But bring one just in case.
  3. Passport Photo (2×2)
    1. Do not actually ATTACH this to the application. Just bring a loose copy. If they want it attached, they’ll glue it on.  
  4. China Visa Application – TYPED!
    1. It absolutely MUST be Typed.  They will not accept a written form.
    2. If you do not have an answer, type N/A instead of leaving it blank.
    3. For 1.9 – ID or Citizen #, you can include your Driver’s Licence #.
    4. For 1.15 – I put down my current employment status WITHOUT the job I was getting in China. For example, I was getting a work visa, but without that job I was UNEMPLOYED 
    5. For 1.17 – I typed “Last Employer” first and then put the Company Name of my last workplace.  Someone said you can leave it empty, but others say don’t. I just put “Last Employer – XXXXXX University”
    6. For 2.1 – I put down “Work” as my Primary Purpose of Visit.
    7. For 2.2 – I put down “One Entry valid for 3 Months from the date of issue.” Even if you requested more, this is all you would get for a Z Visa. So I chose Option 1.
    8. For 2.5 – I put down 365 days because that was the length of my work contract. 
    9. For 2.6 – I put down the address of the university and my contract dates on the first line.  I know that with tourist visas, you have to  do day by day. But for this one, I just put my address down with “XX/XX/XX to YY/YY/YY” 
    10. **For 2.5 and 2.6, I got the opinion that wasn’t terribly important to them. It’s more for tourist visas, so I wouldn’t worry too much. 
    11. For 2.7 – I put “Self-Supported”
    12. For 2.8 – I left it with N/A.  I did not need an inviter since I had the Work Permit. So I marked it N/A.  I was told that if you put the company down as an inviter, you would need to include the letter of invitation. It was not necessary for a Z Visa.  
  5. Your Work Permit from the Chinese workplace
  6. Any other documents you Chinese workplace provided.

Step 5: Apply for the Visa

Go to the Chinese Embassy or Consulate or your jurisdiction. I’ve been to a few in my time, and so far the process was ALWAYS the same (even in other countries).

You want to arrive about 15 minutes before the office opens. They almost all are only open a few hours in a day. They open later in the morning (sometimes 8am, but usually 8:30 or  9am — check the office’s website).  They’ll do the first wave. Then they’ll close for break at lunch and may be closed more than an hour.  They they’ll open for a few hours in the afternoon.  I’m gonna be honest, they aren’t GREAT about timing.  Although I was told to be there at 8:30am, the office “officially” opened at 9am — they just started the line at 8:30am.  And in reality, they started more around 9:10am.  Whatever is going on, it’s best to be as early as possible (definitely be there before the doors open).  It’ll pack out fast and stay full all day.  

You walk in the door and go to a machine to get your number.  If you need a passport photo, now is a good time to go get it.  It Chicago, there is also an office on the same floor who can help you print your application.  But the embassy will direct you to a different building outside, so don’t ask them for directions.  🙂  Sit in a chair and wait  your turn.

They aren’t known for friendliness in these offices. To be honest, I really hate talking to them. They are particularly bad about answering questions–I’ve never met one person there who was nice when I asked a question.  So avoid messing with them as much as possible.  Hand them the number and paperwork.  Wait while they see what needs to happen. Do whatever they tell you to do.  They’ll give you a receipt – KEEP IT!  YOU NEED IT TO GET YOUR PASSPORT BACK AND PROBABLY FOR REIMBURSEMENTS WITH THE COMPANY LATER.  

Notice there is no longer a ONE DAY SERVICE option offered at the Chicago Consulate. It might exist at others, but I wouldn’t count on it.  I know DC doesn’t have it anymore either, and I was told they do not do “Rush” either.  Chicago was still doing rush, but I found it more economical to do express service instead. Just one day more, but less $$.

On the appointed date (they’ll tell you when to come back), return to the office.  Check their times for “pick-up” — some of those times aren’t the same as the office hours.  Pay the person at the pick-up desk.  Many do not accept cash any more.  Some don’t accept credit cards. Try to read their website and see what they do before you come. If you aren’t sure, ask when you drop off your papers.  Chicago did not take cash, so I used my card. 


Step 6: 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. Later you will be taken to the local PSB (Public Security Bureau) to apply.  They’ll take your photo and collect your passport again. After about 3 weeks, they return everything with the Foreign Residence Card.  Once you have that, you’re good!  Don’t forget to go to the local Police Station and register your residence! The school should help with that!


That’s It!

Get a Chinese #Visa in #Seoul

7 Jul

china L visa에 대한 이미지 검색결과

Lived in China for 3 years, but there is still so much we haven’t seen!  So we were planning a tourism trip around some famous spots, but our Residence Permits expired in early July, leaving us no time.  

We ended up booking a last minute trip to Seoul, South Korea (beautiful city and country! Definitely recommend a visit.) in order to leave before our visas ran out and needed to get new tourist visas to go do our travel plans. But I had a pain in the neck time figuring out if I could actually GET a Chinese visa in Seoul.   

A couple websites told me that only certain embassies offered it.  Other sites said I had to have an ARC (Korean Alien Resident Card).  Since those cards are only give to foreign residents, that was kind of a blow for me.  (THIS IS ACTUALLY NOT TRUE — SEE BELOW).  I did learn from a few people that having a Chinese visa in the past could help.  

I decided to run with it and here is the step-by-step process I used for getting a Chinese Tourist Visa (L Visa) in Seoul! 


Contact Information:
Call:  1670-1888
Fax: 02-6260-8855
E-mail: seoulsquarecenter@visaforchina.org


1) Many “copies” are needed in this process (passport copies, visa copies, etc).  Black & White were acceptable. My hotel didn’t have a printer, so I went to a local Kinkos in Seoul.  Just google “Kinkos in Seoul” to find the addresses. They are open 24 hours and weren’t a bad price. The copies were EXCELLENT quality paper–perfect for me.  Continue reading

#TMI – So Much Fun! 0_0

20 Jun

Had my annual #physical for the #Chinese residence permit & #Visa! 😷

Managed it alone without a #translator – quite a feat! Look at my bold self go 😜

For #China 🇨🇳 you need: Blood Analysis, Urinary Analysis, X-Rays, Ultrasound, ECG/EKG, and Blood Pressure.

 The X-Rays 📷 are competely #Topless with other people (men included) waiting in the room 😱 for their turn – no protection. 😓 The ECG requires baring it all in front of a major, street level window with no curtain and a ferris wheel🎡 right outside❗ Goodbye dignity, hello #crosscultural oversharing! 😂

Life In Japan: Week One is Done!

22 May

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Oh my gosh, I am so sorry!  I swore to myself that I would keep this blog updated as I went about my trip and I totally screwed up. I just realized I haven’t posted in weeks, and I sincerely apologize!  Everything has just been so incredibly hectic.  But I hereby promise that from now on I will keep everything updated and going, and I will get up the stuff I haven’t posted on.

The trip getting here was one problem after another; if I didn’t know better I’d swear a poltergeist was working against me.

It started when I started working on getting my Chinese visa. Continue reading

Getting a Chinese Tourism Visa (for US Natural Citizens)

14 May


US Passport

For someone who wants to work in China after graduation, I have to admit, I’m none to desperate to run through the whole getting a Visa thing again any time soon.  I mean, oh my word, that was a total disaster from start to finish.  Since the process outlined on their website is a heck of a confusing mess, I failed to realize that it would end up taking me weeks to get my Passport and Visa back. I literally only got it the day before my flight; and that was after calling my senator who called higher-ups who called higher-ups to track it down and then stopping the postal services to grab ahold of it. What a mess! In the hopes of helping clarify the process for some other poor soul Continue reading

Off I go!

8 May


I officially leave Iowa City for the Chicago airport sometime tomorrow.  My mom is driving me up there (no point in leaving a car there for 3 months) and then coming back.  Since the drive is so far, we’ve decided to stay in a hotel overnight since I have to be at the airport at 3:30 a.m. on Friday.  I have to say this whole thing has been horrible (Chinese Embassy lost my passport, resulting in three six-hour trips up to Chicago in a week during final exams, etc.) but I am so happy it is finally getting underway.  I did learn a lot during the process, so I’ll upload some of the tips in the next few days.  Wish me luck!  I’ll start posting again here in the next week or so as I arrive in Japan.  Praying everything works out perfectly!




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