As part of the Chinese Z Visa process teachers are required to undergo a medical examination shortly after arriving in China. These assessments are mandated by the Chinese entry-exit bureau and must be conducted at a government-recognised hospital. These medical checks serve dual purposes. Firstly, the Chinese entry-exit bureau aims to prevent individuals with serious infectious diseases from obtaining long-term visas, considering them a public health risk. Secondly, it ensures teachers are fit and healthy enough to do the job without complications.

Although not mandatory, some schools in China will request newly hired teachers to complete a similar medical check in their home country prior to coming out to China. This is typical done as a preliminary screening process, ensuring teachers are healthy and will meet the medical requirements upon arriving in China. This prevents the costly and inconvenient scenario where teachers go through the entire visa process, fly out to China, and are sent back home due to medical issues. However, most schools will only require teachers to undergo a medical after arriving in China. Among the schools Teach English Global works with, only about 15% require the medical check before departure.

In this blog post, we explain what you can expect during a medical examination upon arriving in China. We also advise how to complete the medical in your home country, if your new school has requested you do so at the start of the visa process.

Medical Form

Known as the ‘Foreigner Physical Examination Form’, the two page medical form shown below is used when undertaking a Chinese medical. This form is the exact same for medicals done before and after entering China. 

Medical Inside China

During your first week in China, your school will arrange your medical examination. As previously stated, this must be conducted at a government-recognised hospital. The medical itself is straight forward, well organised and non-invasive. Typically you’ll walk down a long corridor within the hospital, going from one room to the next and undergoing various tests which include:

  • Blood tests
  • Ultrasound
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Eye examination
  • Measurement of weight, height, and BMI
  • Blood pressure check
  • Respiratory assessment with a stethoscope
  • Chest X-ray
  • Abdominal ultrasound

The medical usually takes around an hour, and each doctor you see will fill in sections of the medical form where appropriate. Once your medical is finished, the form is then used to obtain your work permit and residency permit in China.

Medical Outside China

If your school requests you to undergo the medical before coming out to China, then you will need to organise this yourself. We recommend that teachers contact their usual doctor, send them over a copy of the form, and ask if this is something they can help you with. This is usually the cheapest way. If your local doctor is unable to help, then you’ll need to search online for an alternative place to undertake the medical. 

Since the form covers various health aspects that may not be pertinent for a generally healthy person, such as Chest X-rays, it’s advisable to approach it strategically. In many countries like the UK, routine Chest X-rays aren’t standard practice and can be costly and cumbersome to obtain privately. In fact, most schools will tell you that the X-Ray and ECG sections of the medical aren’t required before entering China. Instead of completing the entire form and incurring significant expenses, it’s recommended to have your doctor fill it out with your medical records. They may need to take a blood test and some other basic tests, but it should be pretty straight forward for them to complete. 

Medical Form Tips

  • In each body part box, assuming there are no issue, have your doctor write ‘ok’.
  • For the X-Ray and ECG sections, your doctor can state ‘not necessary’.
  • In the suggestion box, if your doctor deems you fit for travel, a simple statement like ‘individual is fit for travel’ is adequate.
  • Make sure you attach a photograph in the top right corner of the form.
  • Ensure the form is stamped twice. Once diagonally across your photo, and once on the back along with the doctors signature. 

As you can see, the medical examination required during the Chinese visa process is relatively straight forward. As we’ve highlighted, the medical form is easy to navigate for any teacher who’s been asked to complete a medical in their home country. Furthermore, upon entering China, teachers can expect the final medical check to be completely arranged for them by their school!