Discussion » Travel » Getting a Z Visa

  • SoulCreative Web Studios
    SoulCreative Web Studios wrote:

    Hey everyone,

    I have been in correspondance with some people, and have recieved different advice about getting a VISA.

    Some companies offer VISA assistance in return for signing a contract. I really don't want to sign a contract though. I would prefer to go to China on my own terms, and get a job on my own terms.

     

    Does this mean that I will HAVE to find a job first in China, and then travel to HK to get my Z Visa?

     

    Thanks,

     

    Daniel Lessor

  • Maggie Wang
    Maggie Wang wrote:
    RULES FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF EMPLOYMENT OF FOREIGNERS IN CHINA (1)18 years of age or older and in good health (2)with professional skills and job experience required for the work of intended employment; (3)with no criminal record; (4)a clearly-defined employer; (5)with valid passport other international travel document in lieu of the passport (hereinafter referred to as the "Travel Document"). actually you have to get a job first. i can send to you what documents to apply Z visa.
  • pommie
    pommie wrote:

    Obviously you will need some kind of visa to enter China.

    You can pay agents to supply you with a Z visa. It's quite expensive (RMB 5000-8000 for the first year) and technically illegal which means it's not terribly reliable. Also the rules are complex. Some agents may not be able to convert a tourist visa to a Z visa, for instance. They can only do the F to Z conversion.

    I've never heard of anyone getting a Z in Hong Kong. I think the Hong Kong visa run is usually done to get the F visa.

    Technically, you should not draw a salary from a Chinese employer on an F but many, many people do.

  • pommie
    pommie wrote:

    No.

    You could fly to HK and get an F then enter mainland China (probably). Some people manage to get six month F visas.

    You could enter mainland China on a tourist visa and convert that to a Z using an agent (maybe).

     

  • Minger
    Minger wrote:

    I got my Z visa in Hong Kong, and I believe that's where the vast majority of people get them, except for those lucky few who get expat packages and get their Z visas in their home country, and those who pay an agent to bribe the appropriate official and get the visa without leaving China.

    One thing that Maggie above didn't mention, which I brought up before, is that you need a bachelor degree to work legally in China (that means in order to get your Z visa). This means you have to go through an agent if you want one. Having a fudged Z visa will offer you no legal protection, but will allow you to reside in the country without leaving for a year straight (actually your related residence permit is what lets you do this, but I don't want to confuse you too much).

    If they still give multiple entry year validity tourist visas with 90 day duration of stay in the states, I would suggest you get one of those. Then you can come here and just cross a border to Korea, Mongolia, HK or Macau every 3 months.

    "Visa assistance" sounds like a nonsense term where your employer isn't committing to anything, and I'd be wary of it. Depending on their mood, "visa assistance" might be the equivelant of what I've just written for you, except with the added weakness of being inaccurate. I would suggest your contract read "Employer will be responsible for the arrangement of employee's working (Z) visa, and all related fees including travel expenses if necessary."

    This might make you feel better, but since forged documents would be involved in getting said work visa, I am not confident that it would provide you any legal protection in China.

     

    Cheers.

  • Minger
    Minger wrote:

    I should clarify that when Thorstan says "The above comments are all correct in my experience," he means my comments, which directly contradicted Pomegranate.

    Besides the diploma and translation of it, you also have to submit your proof of two years work history. In my case, this was a signed letter of recomendation from my former boss that stated the dates I worked for him and that I was no longer working for him. This also needed a certified translation.

    I think some of those "agents" will forge all of this stuff for you. The only benefit IMO would be that you don't have to leave the country every few months. I was quoted 7400 CNY by an agent in Beijing just to switch my visa to a shell company, and I have all the required documents already.

  • pommie
    pommie wrote:

    - - - I should clarify that when Thorstan says "The above comments are all correct in my experience," he means my comments, which directly contradicted Pomegranate.

    Not really.

    I said "I think the Hong Kong visa run is usually done to get the F visa." You said that you personally went there to get the Z. There's no contradiction.

    The Hong Kong option sounds like it involves more paperwork than getting a Z in Beijing and, obviously, travelling to Hong Kong.

  • Simen Wangberg

    Forget about getting a Z visa, man. It's gonna be way too expensive if you don't meet the requirements that Maggie Wang outlined, and even if you do pony up the cash, it won't be a "legal" visa.

    As Thorstan said, that might not've been a big deal at one time, but the fuzz are definitely getting a little more strict about this stuff. The day I got back from HK with my Z visa, they started calling me and hounding me about updating my residence registration. Serious business, I guess.

    I lived and worked here for eleven months, under two different employers, with an F visa. I've known people that have done the same for literally years. Just get your F and take it from there.

  • Simen Wangberg

    Actually, Maggie didn't even list all the extra paperwork and stuff that you need. I didn't catch that she's an agent cos I skipped over the last sentence of her post. Oops.

     

  • Minger
    Minger wrote:

    Ok Pomegranate, fair enough. There are I'm sure more people going to HK to get F and L visas than there are Z visas. Most anyone who gets a legitimate Z visa does it in HK though. You can only get on in Beijing if you go through agents, and the cost is higher than making two trips to Hong Kong.

    But anyway the point is that our new friend should work here on whatever visa is most convenient for him, since it won't be legal regardless.

  • Petter Meisfjordskar
    I have an F visa but get it extended. I have periods of at least a year. No one cares what visa i have for a job here.
  • Malin Aaker
    Malin Aaker wrote:

    In my case they even asked for my actual diploma, not a copy. Which I kindly refused and I instead sent a certified copy and an original letter from my school telling that I actually graduated from there.

    The process of getting all this stuff is:

    1. get a job in China
    2. get a Z visa (from wherever you are outside of China). Note this is a single entry visa!
    3. come to China
    4. transform your visa into:
      1. a residence permit (your new visa for one year and multiple entries)
      2. a work permit / foreign expert certificate
    5. Congratulations you did it!

    At some point you need a medical check up. It's supposed to be only in step 4.1 when you want to make the residence permit, but I actually had to do it twice: one to get the Z visa and one to get the residence permit.

     

  • pommie
    pommie wrote:

    - - - - You can only get on in Beijing if you go through agents, and the cost is higher than making two trips to Hong Kong.

    What's the fee for a Z in Hong Kong? In Beijing, for the first year it's 5000-8000 and about 3000-4000 for each year's renewal.

    If you go to Hong Kong you need to add up: transport, accommodation, time off work (possibly), then the visa fee.

    - - - - But anyway the point is that our new friend should work here on whatever visa is most convenient for him, since it won't be legal regardless.

    Yes. Convenience and RELIABILITY. If an agent in Beijing says they can do you a Z for RMB 5000 then gives you a call three days before your visa expires to tell you that actually they can't convert a tourist visa to a Z then that's an enormous pain in the ass.

     

  • Malin Aaker
    Malin Aaker wrote:

    @Pomegranate:  you don't renew a Z visa, you renew a residence permit and a work permit. The Z visa only gives you the right to land in China the first time and ask for those 2 documents.

    The real cost of renewing those 2 documents when you're in a legal situation is 400rmb. You only need to pay for one of them, I think it's the residence permit, but not sure.

  • pommie
    pommie wrote:

    - - - - I was told you can't get a Z Visa inside mainland China. You have to get it externally. True or false?

    I'm pretty sure that's false.

    I think that could only be true if it's a new ruling and applys on for the first year of a Z visas. You can certainly still get renewals.

  • pommie
    pommie wrote:

    - - - - you don't renew a Z visa, you renew a residence permit and a work permit. The Z visa only gives you the right to land in China the first time and ask for those 2 documents.

    There is such a thing as a multiple-entry Z visa. It lasts a year, then it has to be renewed. Along with this visa you need a 就业证, which is called an employment permit or employment certificate. Once you have this visa you can leave and enter China as many times as you want.

  • pommie
    pommie wrote:

    Actually, you know what?

     I just looked at the multiple-entry Z visa in my passport and it calls itself  a "residence permit for foreigner in the People's Republic of China"

     

    So I'm afraid that muddies the water somewhat.

     

    Whenever I talk to any official about this document they call it a 签证 - visa.

     

    Whatever it is, I need a new one each year. It's this document that I have been describing in this thread.

  • Malin Aaker
    Malin Aaker wrote:

    That's it, the Z visa only let's you get inside china the first time and entitles you the right to ask for the residence permit and the work permit. Once you have the residence permit, you don't need to care about the Z visa again. (except of course if your residence permit expires and you didn't renew it and need to start the whole process over again!)

  • Minger
    Minger wrote:

    Everything Saibo said is accurate.

    Cost of a Z visa in HK (or any other visa):

    ~900 HKD for Americans, ~300 HKD for most others.

    Cost of a Z visa in Beijing (or any other visa besides the residence permit):

    ~900 RMB for Americans ~300 RMB for most others. Plus several thousand to pay the agent, because you can't really get a Z visa in Beijing, so the agents bribe people and charge whatever they want (captive market).

    The residence permit costs 400 or 800, i don't remember. You get it in Beijing. It takes the place of your Z visa, but you must get the Z visa first and then get the employment license (就业证) in order to get the residence permit, which is a year long multi entry visa.

    Why do we all insist on beating this dead horse when we all agree that it doesn't matter because Danial shouldn't be trying to get one in the first place?

  • Klisklass Kjærlighet

    I would advise you to go for F visa as u like to be independent without any contract, some of my friends work in F visa and they dint have any problems, its actually illegal to get paid in F visa, but seems like its not a problem.

    I worked here for a few months in my F visa till i got my Z visa recently. F visa for you is pretty easy and simple as you are from the US. I had a lot of problem with Z visa, so many documents, i'm still on the process of getting my residence permit. I took a lot of leave to collect all the documents, though my company sponsered me and helped me in a lot of ways to get it, its still a hassle and tiresome.

    For F visa i just gave some money to my agent and he took care of everything including temporary residence form, but again each document has a price and u need to negotiate with them to bring down the price or u gonna end up spending more, its advisable to contact different agents to check the price for getting F visa.

    For Z visa, u need 2 years working experience certificate, bachelors degree which i guess u dont have it, if u apply through agents u dont need it, but as people said above it will cost you a lot.

    I strongly advise you to enter China with a F visa, get the invitation letter from your company or any visa agent. Its pretty simple for US citizens, there are some online agencies aswell which can help you get F visa without any documents. Good luck.

  • Simen Wangberg

    "Why do we all insist on beating this dead horse when we all agree that it doesn't matter because Danial shouldn't be trying to get one in the first place?"

    Could potentially be useful for other folks looking at visa issues; lots of relevant, helpful information in here. Thorstan, this could make for a good article?

  • Minger
    Minger wrote:

    There is a good article on Z visas on the shanghaiexpat forum, written by a Mr. Yu. It's a couple years old and still getting good feedback.

    Unfortunately thebeijinger is not a place where one can ask visa questions, because it's riddled with agents that don't know the difference between a Z visa and a residence permit.

  • Petter Meisfjordskar
    It is not illegal to work with an F visa. It is a business visa and the Chinese assume that the company you are doing business with invited you. So they do not mind the type of business. Business is this case is not defined to buying and selling of goods. What i know is that it runs for a year and you have to go out and back and then get another year. It is one easy visa in China and has no strings attached like so many others. It is greatly illegal to work with a tourist or students visa. That will land you into hot soup. But Z and F are ok. I have an F visa and can still get a temporary resident permit from the authorities which is fine. And more over, i work for a Chinese company.
  • Malin Aaker
    Malin Aaker wrote:

    F visa is supposed to be only for business trips or internships, you're not legally allowed to get paid and get a job in China with it. But it works for almost everyone. They only enforced this rule before the olympics as far as I know.

  • Simen Wangberg

    "I have an F visa and can still get a temporary resident permit from the authorities which is fine."

    That's a good point - as I said before, many people have lived and worked with an F visa here with no problems, myself included. The 5-0 didn't inquire much when I registered for residence with my F visa - they were more interested in whether or not I was paying rent and dealing with a landlord.

  • Minger
    Minger wrote:

    "I have an F visa and can still get a temporary resident permit from the authorities which is fine."

    Actually that's an incorrect point.

    I'm being picky about these terms because they mean different things and will cause a lot of trouble and confusion. Cool has an F visa, and he has registered his residence at the police station. He does not have a residence permit (居留许可证), which is a type of visa that you get after you enter China on an X (study) or Z (work). No matter what visa you enter China on, you can and must register your residence at the police station, unless you are staying in a hotel or school dorm (and then only because the school or hotel registers you.)

  • pommie
    pommie wrote:

    Yeah, I don't understand why you would have/need a residence permit with an F visa.

    As said above, you have to register with the police station so they know where you are staying but that's something different.

    ---

    When an alien wishes to lodge at the home of a Chinese resident in urban areas,the host or the lodger shall,with in 24 hours of the lodger's arrival,report to the local public security organ with the lodger's passport and certificate as well as the host's residence booklet and fill in registration forms of temporary accommodation.In rural areas,the host or lodger shall report to the local police station or residence registration office within 72 hours of the lodger's arrival.

    ---

    Actually, they are not strict about that 24 hour time period. Your landlord doesn't have to drop everything at a moment's notice for you to register.

    I believe most F visas are for three months. I believe most F visas are single-entry.

    You are not supposed to draw a salary from a Chinese company on an F visa. People do this ALL the time and don't get in trouble. However, if you make an enemy the police might get you on this.

    There was a recent incident of a stalker on thebeijinger.com who was deported. He was working on an F visa and I believe that gave the PSB officer an easy way to get rid of him.

    A Z visa is a good option if you are living long term in Beijing. It's not too expensive (RMB 2000 - 3000 for a years extention) and you have peace of mind. Even if you obtained the visa within lets say a "legal grey area", I personally believe that won't matter. In my experience of China, a certificate obtained through bribery is equally as valid as one that was obtained with all the correct documentation. The way that Chinese officials work is that if you've got the correct paperwork they process you and couldn't give a flying kick how you got it. If anything is out of place or unusual they will take the opportunity to screw with you.

     

  • Petter Meisfjordskar
    Look, i said a "temporary resident permit" just to show where you stay. Like Mike said, they only need to know where you stay and your relationship with the landlord about payment. The moment the landlord shows that you have an agreement with him about rent and that your F visa is valid, then the authorities have no problem. I once stayed in a hostel and it can give you a temporary resident permit. You can only get this temporary permit from the authorities if you are renting an apartment.
  • Minger
    Minger wrote:

    Daniel,

    How many hours will you be expected to teach the family's child? You can find these arrangements yourself on thebeijinger.com. The agent introducing you in this case will be taking most of your salary, as the family will actually be paying a fair bit to have you live there. If you can cut the agent out, you'll be in better standing.

    Remember that agents jobs are to make money off of you, and they will often be unscrupulous about it. Don't expect them to be honest about the living conditions, working conditions, convenience of location, etc. They will talk up the program and you may fidn yourself disapointed. I suggest you read Dave's ESL Cafe for a lot of placement horror stories all over Asia. You may find yourself living a two-day bus ride away from the nearest city if you're not careful.

  • pommie
    pommie wrote:

    From www.chinahomestay.org

    1) The foreign visitor is responsible for one placement fee to Beijing Homestay for finding and negotiating the stay. This fee is 6000RMB for 3 months or less, 9000RMB for 6 months and 15000RMB for 1 year.

    So presumably the Chinese family pays China Homestay quite a bit more than RMB 6000 for finding them a foreigner for three month. They're pretty much going to want you to teach their kid English 24 hours a day, aren't they?

    If I was going to teach English for free, I would do so through a non-profit organisation such as Globe Aware - www.globeaware.org. Or for Xi'an there is Cross Cultural Solutions www.crossculturalsolutions.org

    I really should do something like that one of these days. Help some poor little orphan kiddies learn English and have fun with the foolish foreign guy :)

    Either that or get a cat, I haven't decided.

     

  • Minger
    Minger wrote:

    Thanks Pomegranate, I completely forgot to mention that the agents take money from both sides of these things whenever they have a chance. I've also seen "internships" where you're expected to pay the agent for setting you up with "experience" in a Chiense firm. The Chinese firm also pays the agent to get your white face. There are a lot of these offered by "yourinternshipchina".

    If you want to do the family thing, I would suggest you check out the expat websites. www.thebeijinger.com, www.echinacities.com, and www.cityweekend.com.cn . I don't think most Chinese people know about Craigslist, but agents do.. You could try it though. I think these are probably all your options until you learn Chinese. Actually, there is a housing section on this website as well.

    If it were me, I guess it would be a lot more fun living with a cool Chinese roommate than it would be to live with any family... Figure your rent in someone else's home is 2000 CNY per month, which is equivelant to 3 or 4 hours of teaching per week. Consider how much you'll be expected to teach and whether or not it's worth it. There are no shortage of teaching jobs for white people...

  • Minger
    Minger wrote:

    4 hours a day....

    *Does math* 96 hours per month, equalling 9600 CNY if you were to teach that much. I'm calculating at 100 CNY per hour only because you have no degree, but I don't doubt that you can get at least 150/hr even without one.

    You can rent some of the best flats in Beijing for that price. 100+ sqm new places near the center of the city.

    Sounds like a really bad option. Most of the homestay things I see offered are for 1 hour of teaching per day, which kinda balances out the cost of what I think the rent would be there. You can do a homestay with someone and then still spend a few hours a day teaching elsewhere; I think you will find yourself much better off. Paying 4000 a month for rent also guarantees you a large clean place with internet... It would also give you the freedom to decide you hate your students and don't want to teach them anymore. Jesus, I wouldn't even want to spend 4 hours a day with my girlfriend, never mind some rotten kids who expect me to speak English to them.

  • Simen Wangberg

    Foreign governments only grant residence permits to guys with great skills

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