Raoul's China Saloon (V4.0 Beta)

The Bar Room => The Legalities Board: Visas, Permits, Taxes, and More! (ON-TOPIC) => Topic started by: kitano on September 21, 2019, 06:58:38 AM

Title: Visa 2019. I just got a visa (very boring post)
Post by: kitano on September 21, 2019, 06:58:38 AM
Hello again. I finally made it to China after a fairly epic visa ordeal, so as promised, here is an account of the visa process as it stands for a UK citizen currently

1) Getting a job.
This is the same as always, there are plenty of jobs available and I always got one sorted out by email before I came so nothing to write about here except that one school that I contacted told me that I could come on a tourist visa and sort out the business visa from within China. Just a stupid idea, don't do it kids!

2) Getting the invitation letter. This is likewise the same process but where it gets tricky is that now they want documents authorised by your home country and the Chinese embassy there. Your degree and a criminal background check both need these two stamps.

To get the letter you need to send scans of the following to your new boss by email

1)Scan of passport 
2) Passport style photo
3) Police background check (authenticated)
4) Scan of teaching certificate
5) Scan of degree(authenticated)
6) signed copy of contract
7) letter of recommendation - not necessary, but apparently it helps if you can get one from a former employer

Everything is straightforward except the authenticated documents.

The criminal background check needs to be recent, in the UK you go to ACRO website and request the certificate, and ask them to authenticate it as well. For the degree, it needs to be sent to the civil service in Milton Keynes. I will put the links at the bottom of this post, I have no idea about other countries but altogether this cost me about 30 pounds per certificate. The online help service for the police and the civil service were pretty brilliant, I asked them for support using the contact forms and they emailed back within a day and then were happy to reply to my questions etc

This is not such a difficult process, but it is quite daunting. What I wish I had done is just used a visa service. I have put a link to one that I ended up using after several problems who were very efficient at a good price (I think that they add on five pounds per thing they do, you can do it yourself, but I think it's worth the peace of mind of having someone else doing it)

3) Getting the Visa
So I emailed everything off to my employer in China and they said to wait two to three weeks for the invitation letter. About 2 weeks later it arrived by email. Now it was time to go to the Visa centre. Any visa centre is valid, I did mine in Hanoi, but you need to tell your boss where you are going to do it because it's on the visa letter where you are going to get your visa (I will put more about that at the end).
So you bring to the Visa centre

1) Passport
2) 2 passport photos
3) Invitation letter
4) Photocopies of previous Chinese visas. If you have an old passport with Chinese visas bring that along

I was able to use printouts of the invitation letter (in Chinese and English) but in the past I have been sent it by post.

The rest is standard, go to the visa centre, give them the documents and then wait for 4 days etc etc

Visa Abroad) I was living in Vietnam when I got my visa and this was a worry for me because there is no information online and the Chinese visa people are very slow to respond, but the actual visa process was fairly painless. I did have two problems, one was that getting all of the documents authorised in the UK and then getting the invitation letter took such a long time that my VN visa expired so I had to sort that out before applying to China. You also need a copy of your visa/work permit for the third country, but in Hanoi I had all of the documents and it was no problem.
I would highly recommend doing it in your home country if possible. It is just less stress and gives you an excuse to visit your family, but if it's not possible then I can vouch for Hanoi, they have a big new service centre and are very efficient and everything

Sorry that is a very long post, it took a lot more to write it out than I thought
Title: Re: Visa 2019. I just got a visa (very boring post)
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on September 26, 2019, 04:12:05 AM
Kitano, was fingerprinting needed at any step?  That question seems to be cropping up recently.

Now we just need someone to do the same for a fresh Z visa for people from the US, that cold place north of the US, New Zealand, West New Zealand (aka Australia), etc.
Title: Re: Visa 2019. I just got a visa (very boring post)
Post by: kitano on September 26, 2019, 06:36:27 AM
I was fingerprinted at the airport.
Went up to the passport conyrpl, they checked my visa and made sure everything was in order and then took my prints on a machine
Title: Re: Visa 2019. I just got a visa (very boring post)
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on September 27, 2019, 03:15:42 AM
I think they're fingerprinting all inbound foreigners at the border now.  Once done, you can just slap your hand on a scanner at the desk instead of doing it at the machine.  If you go for an eChannel pass, you can get to use the same lines as the locals.  Just expect from 1-3 border guards to ask if you are in the right line and/or try to redirect you. This has been getting better over time as the number of foreigners with eChannel registration goes up.

What's odd is that there seem to be cases where they are asking for fingerprints before issuing some visa types.  Hopefully someone who has to do this will report back with details.
Title: Re: Visa 2019. I just got a visa (very boring post)
Post by: kitano on September 27, 2019, 08:21:23 AM
They have added some more documents in recent years but the process was fairly straightforward and overall I'd say that for someone from a rich country with a Z visa invitation letter it's still relatively straightforward.
Title: Re: Visa 2019. I just got a visa (very boring post)
Post by: AMonk on September 27, 2019, 07:23:50 PM
Good to know agagagagag