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.
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.
- 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)
- 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.
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.