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China Z visa in Bangkok

How to Get a China Z Visa in Bangkok


I recently got a China Z visa in Bangkok. Despite what other online articles may say, it’s totally possible to get the Z (working) visa without any real hassle. Long queues and tedious paperwork make it a little stressful, but it’s actually a piece of cake. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting a China Z visa in Bangkok (the first time you apply).

I will specifically talk about teaching jobs in this article, but this guide isn’t just for teachers seeking a Z visa. It’s also applicable for any type of employment.

Step 1: Find a job in China

Surf the net for job opportunities. Send a resume, cover letter, copy of diploma, copy of TESOL/TEFL (if you have one), and a photo of yourself to all corners of the Chinese interweb. Expect to hear back from about 80% of the jobs you apply for.

Dave’s ESL Cafe – This site is a goldmine for finding teaching work abroad.

eChinacities – This site narrows your search to only China jobs (I found my current job here).

Once you find a job that you like, the school will ask you to email them copies of a few more documents. They’ll likely ask for proof of employment (copy of your Thailand work permit), and a copy of a medical certificate from a Thailand government hospital.

Step 2: Ask your new employer to mail you documents

Ask your new Chinese employer to mail you a couple of documents to prove that you are, in fact, hired. They will send you a letter of invitation from the Chinese government, and likely also send you your work permit.

China Z visa in Bangkok

China invitation letter

China Z visa in Bangkok

China work permit

Step 3: Gather all of your documents

Now that you have all of the documents you need from your employer, it’s time to gather everything together.

  • Passport
  • A few 2×2 passport-size recent photos
  • China Invitation letter
  • Photocopy of China invitation letter
  • China work permit
  • Photocopy of China work permit
  • Photocopy of passport page
  • Photocopy of Thailand visa page with any additional visa stamps
  • Photocopy of Thailand work permit
  • Original Thailand work permit (if you still have it)
  • Thailand medical certificate
  • Photocopy of Thailand medical certificate
  • Proof of flight booking

The following documents aren’t required, but I brought them along just incase.

  • University diploma
  • Photocopy of university diploma
  • TEFL/TESOL certificate (if you have one)
  • Photocopy of TESOL/TEFL certificate (if you have one)
  • Resume
  • Letters of reference
  • College transcript
  • Criminal background check
  • Recent bank statement.

It’s better to be over-prepared. I’ve read other stories and guides about people who had bad experiences applying for their China Z visa in Bangkok because they didn’t prepare their documents properly ahead of time.

Step 4: Apply for the Z visa

Go to the Chinese visa office in Bangkok (NOT the same as the Chinese embassy).

Get in any taxicab and say “Ratchadaphisek, Soi 3.” The cab driver will know where to take you. It’s the AA Building.

(Migrationology has more detailed instructions on finding the China visa office in Bangkok)

The China visa office is open from 9am – 11:30am.

I arrived at 9am sharp on a very busy day and my application went smoothly. Some people suggest arriving up to an hour and a half early, but that’s nonsense. Just don’t show up at 11:00 and expect to have enough time to apply.

China Z visa in Bangkok

Queue at the China visa office in Bangkok

You’ll wait in line for a while, then take a number once you enter the queue room.

You’ll see a man sitting at a desk with many documents in front of him. Tell him what you are applying for and he’ll give you the correct application forms. You should receive:

  • Visa application form of the People’s Republic of China
  • Supplementary form of application

Do not print off these application documents from the internet and fill them out before you arrive. It’ll just be a waste of time, trust me. Just wait until you arrive at the visa office and fill the forms there.

If you’re American like me, you have to fill out 2 of each form. It’s a bitch, but when it comes to visas, what isn’t?

Glue your passport photos to your filled-out application forms. Glue is available all along the back wall. You can’t miss it.

Place the application forms on top of your stack of documents.

Wait until your number is called, then hand over everything to the person behind the counter.

They’ll look over your documents thoroughly while you anxiously squirm and hope everything is okay. Just stay cool.

Specify when you want to pick your visa up. Either same day, 2-3 days, or 4 day processing.

If all is well, they’ll take your passport and give you a pink piece of paper. Once you have the pink paper, you’re set.

Step 5: Pick up your Z visa

Return to the same visa application office with your slip of pink paper.

Pick-up time is 3:00 – 4:00pm.

Overall, the process was a little stressful because of all the hoops you must jump through. But once you have your ducks in a row, it’s a piece of cake. Despite everything I read before applying, it is possible to get the coveted Z visa the first time you apply.

If you have any specific questions, leave a comment below or email me.

Living in Thailand and need to do a visa run?

My friend Roxana Guinea has had her fair share of visa run experiences in Thailand and wrote an excellent post on her blog about completing a Thai visa run in Hanoi. Click here to read her visa run guide.

Author: Kevin Cook

I want to inspire you to pursue your own dream of traveling and/or living overseas!


  1. Great post, Kevin. Reminds me of those seven “P’s”: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance. Those government employees probably enjoy dealing with someone as prepared as you appear to be!

  2. Great article! Very useful. Random question here, but how do you obtain a Thai medical certificate? I’m guessing the reason for it is to ensure you’ve not caught malaria, or anything else which may still be in your system?

    • Sandy,
      To get a Thai medical certificate, you can either:
      1. Ask a Thai friend to come to a government hospital with you so they can tell the staff that you need a medical cert.
      2. If you can’t get a Thai friend to help you, go to the visa office and pick up a blank copy of the medical certificate, then go to a nearby hospital and hand it to them. They’ll know what to do.

      The dumb thing is, once you submit the medical certificate to get the Z visa, you have to get ANOTHER health evaluation right after you enter China!

      Hope this helps!


  3. Very useful guide! I also have a question. I accepted a uni teaching job in Dalian and I am currently on a student visa in BKK and have been on it while working and studying my masters degree. Will my student visa be a problem when applying for a Z-visa? I thought it only matters to show residence in Thailand.

    I have all documents in hand and am ready to apply. Tell me what you think.


    • Congrats on getting a job in China!

      I don’t think it will be a problem for you to get a Z visa. It can’t hurt to bring a work permit if you have one, but otherwise you should be okay. If you have a TEFL/TESOL, your chances of getting the Z visa are even better. Just bring along your diploma (and/or a copy of your diploma) so you can prove you’re qualified. They’ll give you the stamp.

      Good luck!


  4. Kevin,

    Were you asked for your flight booking? I have bought a one-way ticket. Will they want to see a return ticket? I can always go to a travel agent here and just have them make up a BS ticket to fulfill the need of a return ticket. What do you think?

    • Ben, sorry it took so long for my response. I brought my flight booking with me when I applied. The clerk asked me when I was departing for China so I showed her my ticket, just for proof. They do not require a return ticket. One-way is fine.

      My advice: Buy a ticket with a few days of wiggle room incase something goes wrong the first time you apply.

  5. Kevin, great guide¡¡¡,
    I have a question, I have a new job in China,now I am living in Thailand but like a tourist, Can I get the Z visa?? Thank you

    • If you have a job lined up, then all you need is for them to send you a letter of invitation. Then you can get your z visa. Even though you are a tourist, I believe you can still get the working visa for China. Hope this helps!

      • Hi there. I am also in the same position – I am on a tourist Visa in Thailand but I have been accepted to a School in China as an english teacher. I do not have a Thai work permit but all my other documents are in order – do you think it will be a problem to apply for a Z visa? Did you manage to obtain a Z visa in Bangkok without a Thai work permit?

        • Zain,

          I get this question all the time. When I submitted my Thai work permit, I handed it over to the clerk in a package with all of my other documents, so I’m honestly not sure exactly what all was necessary and what was just overkill. I will never know if I “needed” the work permit, but I highly doubt it. You should be just fine to get a Chinese work visa in Thailand without a Thai work permit. It just couldn’t hurt if you have one is all I’m really trying to say.

          Best of luck,


          • Thans so much, Kev. Been trying to contact the Bangkok embassy as well as the Chiang Mai and Songkla Chinese embassy with no success to confirm whether I would need a Thai work permit or not. And the area im staying in is a 14 hour bus ride to Bangkok so its difficult to visit them to find out. But thanks so much for the input, its really appreciated. I already have my medical performed in Praram 9 hospital and my Chinese School is almost done prepping all my other necessary documents. Its just this thai work permit which has been worrying me… Hopefully it will all work out – if I am successful in obtaining the Visa without the Thai work permit I will post it here.

            Great guide by the way-really helped alot!

  6. Hi Kevin,
    Thanks for the info. I’m teaching in Thailand and really want to make the move to Zhuhai over the next few months. I’ve found several great jobs there only to get repeatedly told I have to go back to my home country (UK) to apply. Schools/ agents say there’s a different rule for Zhuhai and I can’t get a Z visa from BKK or HK . Do you know of any visa agents in Thailand who might be able to help? Or can you think of any way around it? I’ve had my heart set on Zhuhai for ages now but I really can’t afford the flight to the UK and then to China….I also don’t have a UK residential address anymore for my application. Any suggestions?

    • Emma,
      I am not aware of the specific visa laws of Zhuhai, so I can’t give you a definitive answer. Since September 2013, the visa laws for foreigners planning to work in China have heightened, so this situation you’re in is probably a result of that. Maybe you could look into work elsewhere in China, or save up and fly to the UK to begin the application process. Or, if you’re feeling risky, ask if they can provide you with a student visa or something similar (not a work visa). It’d be illegal, but if you MUST live in Zhuhai, it could work. I know a few illegal teachers and workers here in Rizhao and they aren’t in any real danger of getting caught.
      Hope this helps!

  7. Thanks Kevin 🙂 I’ve just been speaking to a recruiter who says that I can only apply from Thailand if I have a resident permit, not just a work permit? Am I right in thinking you need to live in Thailand for several years before you can get a resident permit? I just want to check with you that you definitely didn’t have one? As for the criminal record check, was it done in Thailand or back home? Thanks Again 🙂

  8. Sorry, I also meant to ask if you got your criminal record check translated into Chinese? I’ve been told that I have to get this done and it has to be by an official/ professional translation service in China?! Aaargh!

  9. great post and precious information
    so you can apply for a z from bkk no need to return to your country


    many thanks 🙂

  10. Hi Kevin,

    Can you tell me how thorough the medical exam needs to be. On the form I see you need a chest x-ray, an ECG test, and blood tests(for aids etc). Is that really necessary?

    • Hey man,

      I have been through the process and unfortunately it is necessary. Just go to the hospital closest to the chinese visa place and tell them you need test for a chinese visa, or even better to bring the exact form to show them. Hope that helps. It should cost about 2500 baht.


  11. Hey great post. How much is the medical examination?

  12. Hi Kevin

    This is a great post.

    I am trying to get a China Visa medical (the one that China requires for X visas) in Bangkok with all the required tests, such as:

    Chest X-ray
    Resting ECG
    Blood group
    Liver function tests
    Hepatitis B & C

    Did you find anywhere in Bangkok that did these tests, which are Chinese Government approved?

    Thanks for any help that you can give me.

  13. Hi, I thought I would share some information which is accurate to today’s date (06.02.15)

    Due to new legislations being introduced in October 2014, the following documents are required when applying for a Chinese Z visa in Bangkok.

    1. Passport with at least 6 months validity.
    2. Invitation letter from the school or company hiring (officially stamped and signed)
    3. Chinese Labour Office Work Permit.
    4. Contract of employment signed and stamped.
    5. Either a Thai Residency Permit or Thai Working Permit.

    Please note: The Thai permits being produced are now the only way that you may be issued with the Z visa. This is to show that you are actually working or residing (albeit as an alien) in Thailand. Without one of these documents, unless someone can prove me wrong?, will not allow you to be issued the Z visa.

    Good luck to those who are seeking to live and work in China, you won’t regret it as its a wonderful country to see and experience.


  14. Hi,

    thanks for such an informative blog post!

    I have a couple of questions. It would be a godsend if anyone could answer them.

    My first issue is that my invitation letter states on one page that I can apply at the nearest Chinese embassy, yet on the following page it states that it should be done in my home city, Perth, Australia. Does anyone know if this will prove a fatal road block?

    Has anyone enlisted the help of an agent to weasel their way through such problems?

    All of my other documents are in check, however I am yet to buy the plane ticket to China for fear that I might be rejected at the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok.

  15. Hi !!!! I wondered if you could help with where to get a thai health check? I am at the stage where they wont send me the invite letter without it, but I cant get hold of anyone to tell me where this health check can be done that is approved by the Chinese Embassy. Can you help?


  16. I just got info from the chinese embassy in Seoul/Korea that for applying there for the Z visa, you need a “Copy of your chinese visa page that you used it with entry and departure stamp in china within 3 months (IF YOU DON’T HAVE PREVIOUS CHINISE VISA, CAN NOT APPLY IN KOREA)” -> Original Email Quote. Does anybody know if they require the same in Bangkok now, if you’re just a tourist? Or isn’t it possible at all to apply then any more? Or don’t hey require this that at all?

  17. i want to apply for z visa in china.i am a indian citizen.plz tell me is it important that i have to go my home country for z visa.

  18. hi Kevin, when you are in china, about the medical, what are the things that they checked?

  19. This is very informative, thank you.I am also planning to apply for a z visa here in Bangkok, however i am a little bit worried because my working visa here in Thailand expired last april 2018.Is it still possible to apply without it?thanks in advance to whoever can answer my query.

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