Minimum Requirements for Teaching in China
If you want to teach in China, there are at least 3 basic requirements you should meet:
- You should have a bachelor’s degree
- You are a native English speaker
- You have 2 years of relevant job experience (teaching)
Most people should have no problem meeting the first two requirements but may have trouble meeting the third one. However, it is not a hard rule so there are ways around it.
First, you should know that each city in China sets their own requirements. Tier 1 cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou have the most stringent requirements. The more you move into the interior of China, the more relaxed the requirements are. So if you don’t have the 2-year teaching experience, you may consider applying for jobs in other cities. Also, some companies may be able to get you a work visa with only 1 year of job experience.
Visa Requirements to teach in China
There is only one type of visa that works if you want to legally work in China and that is the Z (work) Visa. The Z Visa can only be issued in your home country or Hong Kong, so you should have one issued before you leave your country. It is highly recommended that you get your Z Visa your coming to China because it shows that your employer is legally allowed to hire foreign teachers.
While there are many teachers in China working under a tourist visa, it is something we don’t recommend. Since you are basically working illegally, if the school is caught, there’s a chance you will be deported. Even if that doesn’t happen, it is easy to be exploited by your employer since your contract is worthless.
Before moving on, it should be noted that the Z Visa is not what allows you to legally live in China. For that, you will need a resident permit. However, the Z Visa will get you into Chinese and from there, you can easily get the permit. Getting the resident permit must be done within 30 days of arriving in China and your employer will walk you through the whole process.
Steps to Getting Your Z Visa
First, after you’re finished with your job interview and got the job, you’ll have to send your employer a number of documents to confirm you are who you are and have the qualifications. Your employer will then go to the Ministry of Foreign Experts to get you your Foreign Experts Certificate & Invitation Letter.
Second, you will present those documents along with a number of other documents to your embassy and apply for your Z-Visa. This step has to be completed in your home country. It is possible to do this in Hong Kong, but only if your employer has stated that you’ll be applying in Hong Kong.
Third, once you got your Z visa and have arrived in China, you have 24 hours to register at a police station which your employer should help you with. Now there are two more things you should do. If you are getting a residence permit for a year or longer, you will need to get a health check. Next, you need to get your Z-Visa converted into a one year residence permit. Again, your employer should help you get these steps done.
After all that, you are now finally legally allow to work and live in China!