Some Z-Visa Details Unclear

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  • coryg

    Dear friends,

    Have any of you recently gotten a Z-Visa outside of China? I’m hearing different stories around town and I wanted to see if anyone has had any experience with this in 2017. I have heard a rumor that foreigners can only apply for a Z-visa in their home country. Has anyone done this in Hong Kong or one of China’s neighboring countries? I just got a new university job and I am currently in China on another type of visa which expires in early December. The university doesn’t know if they will have all the paperwork ready for me before I leave so they may have to mail it to me in another country. Heading to Nepal for 2 months and I was going to see if I can do it at the embassy in Kathmandu. Any experience/suggestions would be appreciated. Also I won’t be able to reenter China until February, as that is when I plan to return from my trip so I don’t need a visa to come back this year.


    I got a new Z-visa processed last summer without having to return to the states. Unless the law has changed since then, it should be possible here in Chengdu. Maybe someone else has some more recent info.



    Just went to the visa department by Tianfu Square. There have been some significant changes in 2017. To get a new Z visa, you now need a certified background check from the police of your home country AND you need to get your college degree certified by the Chengdu department of education. It takes 6 weeks to get the certification which you must have in order to apply for a Z visa.

    If you already have a Z visa, you do not have to do this. If you renew your current visa, your grandfathered into the old rules.

    Also you must apply for the Z visa in your own country or in Hong Kong. The guy didn’t know which embassies can do the Z visas but Hong Kong is guaranteed.

    If your like me and are trying to submit the paperwork correctly the first time, it might be best to call yourself: 6188 8214. He speaks English and is the head of the visa department in Chengdu.

    This is most likely going to cause a lot of headaches…



    Follow up:

    I called the US embassy and you can’t get a criminal check through them. This is the link they sent me:

    Criminal and Vital Records

    Just got off the phone with the Sheriff’s department in the state of Florida and in this state, I can have a family member get a certified copy of a criminal record printed out for $4.00. Other states may have different protocols. The visa office didn’t specify which certified copy they needed.

    I was told that you can get your degree notarized at:

    (Thanks to Nigel who posted this useful info on UK PPl in Sichuan Wechat group)

    Good luck if your in the same situation.

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    I thought I would add to this post for future reference. Just came back from the ministry of education. You can register for the website at the government office and they have several computers available. One of the clerks spoke English and helped me do the application. You have to pay a 385 RMB registration fee. They only accept Unionpay credit cards and you cannot use cash. I found someone who put it on their card and I gave them cash on the spot. When you go to this office you will need:

    Your diploma and a certified translation of it which you can get across the street. They will give you the address.
    1 passport photo
    1 copy of your passport page and the diploma
    cash (385 + 200 for another agency + 100 for the translation)
    a transcript from your university. You should be able to print this out online.

    According to the department, it takes 2 months for them to certify your degree. Contact your school/university and make sure you get receipts for everything as you will most likely get this all reimbursed. Whole process took me 2 1/2 hours including waiting for the translation of my diploma.



    Just to second Coryg’s posting, I went through this procedure myself online at (although you still need to go in person to show them your original documents). I submitted my docs on the 12th September and received my degree certification by EMS post on the 13th November, so pretty much 2 months on the dot.



    The last update on this post:

    That site has all the information on getting your work visa. With the information on this page, you should have all the info.

    Chris Ziich
    Chris Ziich

    Thanks for sharing. Sounds like a pain.



    Chris or Charlie,

    I just added a few more links and my post got removed. Can one of you reinstate it? It was just more useful info but I guess it automatically got flagged cause I edited the link a few times. Also please remove this message after. Thanks


    PS – Charlie I sent you a PM but when I checked it, it was blank?



    (Please delete the post above and this message)

    Sorry I made a mistake when posting the information about the police clearance letter. The letter must be notarized, authenticated by your state (for Americans at least) and then sealed by the Chinese consulate in the US. This whole process is a pain in the ass. Also there are several consulates in the US and they all have zones. You have to make sure you hire an agent in the right zone. Here are some useful links:

    I am guessing this whole process will take at least 5-6 weeks. If your lucky, your family/friends might live in a state where they can do this on your behalf.

    Last bit of info that I’ve recently found out is that you are also going to need a reference letter / release letter from your previous employer if they sponsored you for a foreign expert certificate. I thought that this was only if your employment was continuous but I was wrong. I had to contact a university that I worked at 7 years ago and get these papers. Luckily I was still in the computer system.

    Good luck if your dealing with this!

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