So, you want to teach English in China. That’s great news! China is truly a land of opportunity for those who are willing to step out of their comfort zone and work hard.
In this blog post, we’ll tell you what you need in order teach in China. Particularly, which documents you need to qualify for a Chinese Z Visa (and a Chinese work permit).
What do I need to teach in China?
What are the qualifications needed to teach in China?
What documents do I need to teach in China?
In order to teach in China, you will need the following qualifications (there are no exceptions to this):
- Citizenship in a country whose main language is English. The big 7 that China recognises are: USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and South Africa. Right now, China recognises just these 7 countries, however, there are a few more small countries that qualify but are not advertised by the Chinese government (for example Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, etc.). This is of course, for English (the most in-demand language teaching subject for foreign teachers). Other languages will have other country requirements.
- Completed a four-year university degree from a recognised university and have the diploma in your hands. This document must be notarised and authenticated.
- At least 2 years of relevant work experience. These two years of work experience cannot be done concurrently with your degree. China does not recognise work experience completed while in school (even if you were in school part-time and working full-time). These two years of relevant experience can be replaced with a teaching certificate (either a teaching license from your country or any version of a TEFL course above 120 hours) as long as your degree is in English or in the subject and language you are going to be teaching. For example, if you will be teaching chemistry in English, your degree must have been completed at an English speaking university and the degree must be in chemistry.
- A clear criminal record check from the national register that uses fingerprints. A local criminal check will not do. This document must also be notarised and authenticated.
- A clear medical check. This is actually done when you arrive in China, but is important in order to qualify for your work permit. They will give you a whirlwind assessment of everything including vision, blood, x-ray, ultrasound, etc. They are mainly checking for highly contagious diseases like HIV and tuberculosis but also look for things like schizophrenia. The medical issues that disqualify you for a visa are not clearly outlined.
- A positive attitude. You need to be prepared to go to a completely different country all alone. It will be up to you to make the best of the situation. If you are not ready to do something like this, don’t put your family and your new employer through this process.
If you have all 6 of these items, you are in great shape to find a job in China. Some of these documents take a while to acquire, so expect this process to last about 2 months. For a regular August/September start date, I would start preparing these documents by May.