In order to legally work as an English teacher in China, you are required to hold a Z Visa. All of the schools and institutions that Teach English Global work with provide Z visas for their teachers and will handle all of the admin and paperwork that is required to be done inside China! However, the process of obtaining a Z Visa is still quite a complicated one, so here is a clear step-by-step guide of what you, as a teacher, need to do in order to complete your Z Visa application. Although this guide is primarily focused on helping teachers from the UK, the process for teachers living in other countries is exactly the same but time, costs and the methods of authenticating your documentation will slightly vary.


  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • TEFL Certificate
  • Criminal Record Check (DBS)
  • Passport (Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, UK, and USA)

Step 1

First, if you don’t already have a criminal record check (DBS) then you will need to obtain one. This can be done on the UK government website.

Time: 10-14 days

Cost: £23

Step 2

The next thing you will need to do is get your Bachelors’s Degree, TEFL Certificate and criminal record check notarised in your home country by a Notary Public. The Notary Public will make a copy of each document and attach a Letter of Attestation. You will be able to easily find a local Notary Public through a quick online search.

Time: 3-4 days

Cost: £90 (£30 per document)

Step 3

Next, you will need to send all your notarised documents to the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) to have them legalised. A government official will inspect the documents and then attach apostilles to the Letter of Attestation. Instructions on how to do this can be found on the UK government website.

Time: 10 days

Cost: £90 (£30 per document)

Step 4

Once all relevant documents have been notarised and authenticated by the government you will need to take them to your nearest Chinese Embassy to be legalised. You will typically need to make an appointment online in order to do this.

Time: 10 days

Cost: £50

Step 5

After all your documents have been returned from the Chinese Embassy make scanned copies of them and send them to your employer in China.

Step 6

Your employer in China will now use these documents to submit an application for a work permit. Once a work permit has been issued they will email you a copy of this along with a job invitation letter.

Time: 15-25 days

Cost: £0

Step 7

You can now apply for your Z Visa! Book an appointment online with your local Chinese Embassy and take the following with you in order to complete your Z Visa application: Passport, passport photo, work permit, job invitation letter and completed Z Visa application form. Once your Z Visa has been granted it will take the form of a physical sticker in your passport.

Time: 4-5 days

Cost: £150

Total Time (Roughly): 60 days

Total Cost (Roughly): £400

Arriving in China

Once you arrive in China your employer will assist you in converting your Z Visa into a Residency Permit. During this process, you will be without your passport for roughly 6 weeks and will be required to have a full medical examination completed in China. All of this will be paid for by your employer.