January 2012 China Visa Update


It’s time for an update on the current visa situation in China. This post is based on emails that we receive here at the China Teaching Web as well as conversations that I have had with teachers and schools around China.

Choose carefully before you come to teach here. Due to the increased difficulties of obtaining a visa to teach in China (and finding teachers), schools are not just going to let you walk away from your contract. 

I have a friend who tried to break his contract recently (for what I thought was a pretty compelling reason) but his school threatened to take all sorts of measures to prevent him from leaving. It’s hard to find teachers right now and the school couldn’t afford to lose a foreign teacher for the coming semester. Of course, he could have just walked away, but this could make it difficult for him to return to teach in China in the future.

The Chinese government is cracking down on hard on teachers who are not working on valid work visas

Take a good look at your residence permit. If the city on the permit doesn’t match the city that you are teaching in, this could get you in big trouble. And don’t think that you can get away with teaching on a tourist visa in China. If you are caught doing this, you are on the hook, not your school. Teachers have been arrested,deported and blacklisted for this offense. If your school refuses to provide you with a valid working visa, you need to get out of that situation. It’s not worth the trouble.

Use some common sense and leave when BEFORE your visa expires. If you do overstay, DON’T give your passport to the first schmuck who says he can help you get a valid visa. Pay the FINE and get out!

We receive too many emails from people begging us to help them because they overstayed their visa in China. If their own government can’t help them, what can we do for them? The fact is, overstaying your visa in China (like any other country) is a crime. But unlike other countries, the consequences for overstaying are not overly harsh. You have to pay a fine of 500 RMB per day overstayed with a maximum of 5000 RMB. Of course, if you can’t pay the fine, they can arrest you.

We keep hearing stories about people in this situation who are giving their passports to special ‘agents’ who claim they can help them obtain a valid visa. BAD idea. Never surrender your passport to someone else.

Again, when you come to China, you need to make arrangements to get out on time. If you don’t think you can do that, then don’t bother to come at all!

For more information about overstaying please see this link: http://shanghai.usembassy-china.org.cn/acs_faq.html

Do you have story or word of advice to share with us about visas in China? Please leave a comment below.


8 Responses to January 2012 China Visa Update

  1. Pamela says:

    Why doesn’t anyone teach the Chinese people American history at the start of each English class to help correct the thought that only Caucasians know English? America has many minorities that are born in America. Their first language is English. It is ridiculous to assume that proper English can only be taught by Caucasians. The Chinese people have no idea that they are passing up some very smart English speaking minorities, whom, by the way, are smarter than some caucasians. To assume that Caucasians are the better teachers are incorrect. I am an American born and bred. Smarts is not isolated to the color of ones skin. With this type of closed minded thinking, China is passing up a great deal of very good English teachers, whom skin color happen to be brown.


  2. Disillusioned says:

    I’d like to share our experience about a particular international school in Zhengzhou, Henan. My colleagues and I were hired from the Philippines about a year ago. We had to pay more than twice our salaries just to be able to join this school. All our starting salaries were set at 3,300RMB regardless of our qualifications and educational background. Anyway, what we didn’t realize was that we were in for the biggest surprise of our lives upon joining them. As it turned out, the 40 working hours per week that we were told we would be doing did not include preparation time, post class work and attending meetings and training sessions. Because of this, most of us were made to teach from 830am until 730pm on weekdays and the luckier ones even had a six hour workload either on Saturdays or Sundays on top of the weekday workload. The school’s justification was that we were still within our 40hr/week agreement. Our contracts also stated that since we reside inside school premises, all our utility bills were to be shouldered by this school. For the past few months, we’ve been made to pay our electric bills from our measly salaries. We kept encouraging each other and telling ourselves that everything will be alright once we complete our contracts so we carried on. This international school refused to give us the documents we needed in order to be able to move to another school such as a recommendation letter. They told us that as a new policy (no black and white), only teachers who have stayed for at least two years with them will be given recommendation letters. Furthermore, they said that they will only give us our certificates of employment the day before we leave the country. So, if you know anyone thinking of joining this school that wears Wonder Woman’s garb for a teacher’s uniform, please think again. There’s a reason why the retention rate of that school’s foreign staff is so much lower than its resignation rate.


    Judith Reply:

    I am so sorry to hear what happened to you and your fellow Filipino teachers, my dear kababayan. It is good I read what happened to you because I was tempted to join this school in Henan. I think I know this school…It is not the “Best” international school after all. No wonder they prefer to hire Filipinos. They know they can take advantage of the poverty Filipinos want to escape from in the Philippines. I hope and pray that all of you will be better employed elsewhere.


  3. sky says:

    when i worked in Shanghai most teachers that had lived in China did not want a work visa. They preferred to have a tourist visa and just renewed it in hong kong or other place,,it gave them power over school,,,and they got payed more working several jobs part time,,but they had built up work contacts

    many people do this,,,police do not care ,,schools just pay bribes,,even legal schools pay bribes to police

    i was at work and every teach had work visa but the boss told us to leave via back door because police were in his office,,,i thought this was strange,,,it was just after a black teacher was fired and he said he would make trouble for school

    buy why i had to run out door was crazy i had permit

    China is full of threats 99% are bluffs


  4. Mia says:

    I would like to know how long should your residence permit be valid for if you signed a contract for a year?


  5. kim says:

    Hi I was intending to come to China in 2012 to teach English. I told schools I didn ot have a degree but diplomas and associate diplomas as well as completing 2 years of a 3 year degree. Fine, they said, we will offer you a job after talking to you on Skype but now on reading about the visa conditions I find it strange schools say they can offer me a F visa and still say I can work in China on a 12 month contract. Having never been to China and knowing the vagaries of the laws there that change from place to place I dont believe I can work there legally without a Z visa. It seems I would be foolish to think I could work on a contract for 12 months or more on a F visa.

    I am 56 yeas of age and would like to know if this would affect a visa application or ability to teach in schools. I have no real formal english teaching qualifications apart from CELTA and several years teaching as part of the Adult Migrant Education program in Australia.
    Comments are appreciated on fawkeskim7@gmail.com, cheers Kim


  6. Sean says:

    Don’t trust a school to “Fix” things. Ensure that your school has arranged for your new visa before it expires. The “Don’t worry we have a special relationship with the government” is generally rubbish.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *