More and more people are choosing China as their working destination. The country welcomes expats from all over the world.
In this article, we’re going to discuss one of the most popular topics for Canadian citizens who have already decided (or are just thinking about) to work abroad – Chinese Work Visa for Canada.
You’ll probably won’t be surprised if we say that the majority of rules are the same for Canada as for other countries.
But it’s also obvious that there are some issues peculiar to this very country.
So, how to get a visa to China from Canada?
The detailed guide below will answer all your questions.
Can I legally work in China with a Tourist, Business or Student visa?
It depends on your situation and purposes.
Actually, there is a special work visa, also known as Z visa, that allows you to be employed in China for a long period of time. Obtaining this very visa to work in China for more than three months is the best option for any expat.
But if you travel to China with another visa and plan to work there, agree on all conditions with your employer.
China Work Visa Requirements & Documents
Visa requirements for Canadian citizens don’t differ much from those for applicants from the UK, the USA, or Europe.
Yet, some additional requirements can take place. So, if you’re applying for a visa to China from Canada, here is the list of necessary papers.
- Your valid passport with blank pages for visa stamps.
- A photocopy of your passport information page.
- Your passport photo of a certain size taken in accordance with certain rules. As all Canadian citizens make their photos for visas in CVASC centers, you can be sure your photo meets all the requirements.
- An application form. You can download it from the web. Make sure you fill in all the information correctly and honestly.
- If you’ve already got a Chinese visa before, you should submit its copy.
- If you are a Canadian citizen but aren’t living in Canada currently, you’ll need to have a proof of residence.
One more thing we want to mention is that all Canadian citizens applying for Chinese visa (and aging 14-70) must submit their documents in person. The reason for this requirement is compulsory fingerprinting.
Canadians who are younger than 14 and older than 70 don’t need to do this.
One more group of people who aren’t required to apply for a Chinese visa in person is tourist groups. People traveling to China together for tourist purpose can even apply online.
How long does it take to get a work visa to China in Canada?
Getting a Chinese work visa usually takes 4 business days. It is called regular service.
You can also use an express service and have your visa done within two working days.
In case of urgency, there’s a chance to use a rush service that implies your application is processed for only one day. To order this service, you need to submit your application no later than 11.30 am.
Business days are from Monday to Friday. Keep in mind that the Chinese embassy and visa centers don’t work on Canadian and Chinese national holidays. That’s why you want to make sure you apply for your visa on a working day.
How much does a Chinese Work Visa cost from Canada?
Regardless of the visa type, you apply from Canada, it will cost you about 100$ for regular service.
Understandably, if you need your visa to be ready faster than 4 working days, you’ll have to pay more for urgency.
You might also have some minor expenses to pay for making copies or sending your documents to your employer in China.
How long is the duration of stay of Chinese Z visa?
Employment visa performs the function of an entrance ticket to China and is valid for only 30 days. But worry not!
It doesn’t mean the maximum period you can work in China is one month.
Once you arrive in the country, your Z visa must be converted to residence permit – the document that gives you the right to stay and work in China for as long as your contract implies.
When should I apply for the Chinese work visa?
Although visa processing time seems to be rather short – just 4 business days – visa applicants are advised to start visa obtaining process in advance.
Usually, a month (count from the day of your arrival in China) is enough for all proceedings. But if you aren’t sure, it’s better to contact the visa service that is in charge of your region to find out exact information.
Where can I get a working permit for China?
Your employer is the one responsible for providing you with a working permit. He/she gets it at the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. Once the permit is received, your employer sends it to you.
Bear in mind that your employer will need some documents to get the permit. Thus, you’ll have to send a pack of papers to the HR department of a company you’re going to work. Here is the list:
- A copy of your passport
- Passport photo
- A medical form
- A criminal check (is a must if you plan to work in teaching or healthcare spheres)
- A copy of your diploma (and TEFL certificate if your school requires it)
- A reference letter
As a rule, it takes about 2-3 weeks to get a working permit.
What is the age limit for Z visa application?
People aging 18-60 years old are allowed to work in China legally. So, if you are within this range, you can apply for an employment visa.
In case you’re older than 60 and you want to work in China, you should discuss it with your employer.
And if you’re a foreigner of high talent, you’re allowed to come and work in China even if you’re older. At least, Shanghai authorities give this opportunity.
What are the different types of Chinese Visas (and the additional requirements for getting them)?
Depending on your goal, you’re free to choose among twelve visa types for foreigners who visit China. Make sure to pick the visa that describes your aim in the most accurate way.
This is the visa you need to obtain if you want to work in China legally.
In addition to all the basic documents, you need to have an invitation (or confirmation) letter from the company you will work for.
Foreigner’s work permit is one more crucial document to have with you.
The purpose of obtaining this visa is quite obvious. Students planning to continue their education in China need X visa.
There are two types:
- X1 visa for a long-term stay
- X2 visa for a short-term stay
If you need to stay in China longer than 180 days, you’ll need to submit a special document from the Chinese Ministry of Education – so-called JW201 (or JW202) form. You might also be required to have a medical certificate.
A family member or relative of Chinese citizens (Q)
This visa is issued to relatives of Chinese citizens (or foreigners who have permanent resident status) in case they have some family matters. They can be a reunion or foster care.
There are two types:
- Q1 visa for a long-term stay
- Q2 visa for a short-term stay
If you’re going to stay with your relatives in China for less than 180 days, you need to have an invitation letter with you.
Those who plan to stay longer than 180 days will be required to submit more documents.
Depending on the purpose of the visit, you might need to show marriage, birth, or kinship certificate as well as many more.
The list of documents is large, so it’s better for you to address the Chinese Consular Office in your country and ask which papers you need in your situation.
Personal matters (S)
This type of visa is similar to the type Q. You might need this very visa if you need to visit relatives or friends. If you have some medical care issues in China, you’ll also have to obtain this visa.
There are two types:
- S1 visa for a long-term stay
- S2 visa for a short-term stay
The same as for the type Q visa.
Foreigner of high talent or specialist (R)
R visa is given to people who can benefit China. They might be scientists, politicians, or other genius people who can have a positive influence on China development.
As ‘talent’ is quite a vague notion, people might be asked to have very different documents with them. But in general, these are certifications that prove their skills.
Commercial trade (M)
This visa is given to those who go to China in order to carry out some commercial activities.
You should have an invitation letter from the trading company you’re cooperating with.
No need to mention, this visa is given to people who go to China as tourists, either alone or with group or people.
In order not to allow people from other countries to stay in China illegally, Chinese visa rules require that you have the following documents:
- Return plane ticket with dates and surnames (copy)
- Chinese hotel booking with dates and surnames (copy)
- An invitation letter if you stay at your friend’s home
- Sometimes, you’ll need bank documents that confirm your financial background
China transit visa is given to people who travel through China when the country isn’t their final destination.
However, you might not even need a G visa in case transit takes place in specific Chinese cities and lasts no longer than 72 or 144 hours.
If you do need to get a transit visa, be ready to have an onboard ticket to your final destination close at hand.
If you work in a foreign news company and are going on a business trip (for a long or short period of time), you’ll need a J visa.
There are two types:
- J1 visa for a long-term stay
- J2 visa for a short-term stay
Be sure you have an official letter from the media company you work for.
Plus, it’s necessary to get a Visa Notification Letter in the Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China.
Exchange, visits, study tours or other relevant activities (F)
Whether you go to China for the purpose of academic, cultural, or religious exchange, volunteering, or similar activity, F visa is what you need.
You should have an invitation letter.
Permanent residence (D)
The visa is given to people who want to live in China on a permanent basis.
To get this visa, you also need to address to the Ministry of Public Security of China to get the Confirmation Form for Foreigners Permanent Residence Status.
Once you do it, you have to submit the original and the photocopy of this document together with other documents.
Crew member (C)
If you work on an international aircraft, train, ship, or work as a driver in a company that provides international transportation services, you need this visa type. C category visa is also issued to the family members who travel with crew staff.
You need either an invitation letter or a letter of guarantee provided by the international company you work for.
What is the difference between a Chinese tourist and business visa?
The names of the visas speak for themselves, so there is no need to explain the difference.
The only thing we’d like to mention is that “business” means trading activity.
Thus, if you’re visiting China to take part in some trade event or attend a conference, etc., M visa is just what you need.
However, these two visas are also somehow similar. For example, both of them have 10-year validity for Canadian citizens.
It means that once you apply for L or M visa, you can travel or carry out commercial activities in China for 10 years since the date of visa obtaining.
Which visa applies to accompany family members of Z visa applicants?
Accompanying family members in China is considered a personal matter. Thus, the S visa is required for this purpose.
When you or your relatives decide to apply for Chinese visa of this type, make sure that except for standard documents like passport and application form, you have to submit the papers that prove your family relationships.
They are usually marriage or birth certificates.
Plus, don’t forget about an invitation letter – an additional requirement for S visa applicants.
Is it possible to apply online?
Speaking about applying for a Z visa online, it’s hardly possible. The thing is that in this case, you’re going to apply in person via one of the CVASC offices that are located in five Canadian cities.
Unfortunately, you even don’t have a chance to use the postal service to send your documents as all Canadian citizens are fingerprinted and photographed at visa service centers.
The only thing you can do online is to download an application form.
But you still need to submit all the documents personally.
However, if you apply for a Canada tourist visa as a group, there is a chance to get it online through the China Visa Direct site.
The full process of applying for a Chinese Z visa step by step
- Check the list of the documents you need to submit for getting Z visa. Call a Chinese embassy in your area for additional information if you need it.
- Gather all the papers and make all necessary copies.
- Download, type-write, and print out an application form.
- Make an appointment on the CVASC
- Come to the CVASC office in your area on the chosen day and submit the documents. Please note that all Canadian citizens aged 14-70 are required to come to visa centers in person to fingerprint.
- Wait until your visa is ready. Come to the embassy again, pay for visa service and collect your passport with visa.
What Visas must be converted into a Resident Permit once I enter China and how to do so?
Chinese visas can be short-term and long-term. The former ones imply that you stay in China less than 180 days while the latter ones allow you to live in the country longer than this period of time.
There are only five visas that give you an opportunity of long-stay – study, work, journalism, family reunion, and personal matters. And they are the ones that should be converted into a resident permit.
To get this document, you need to address the Public Security Bureau (PSB) Exit and Entry Administration in your area no later than 30 days after your arrival in China.
Can I extend/change my Visa once I enter China?
You have a chance to apply for visa extension or change once you are in China. But keep in mind that you can’t do it soon after obtaining your visa.
The possibility of extension is provided for people whose visa is becoming invalid soon.
If you need to extend your visa, the Entry/Exit Bureau is the authority that can help you.
However, not all visa extension applications are accepted.
What happens if I overstay my Visa?
Overstaying your Chinese visa is considered as breaking a law. There are several possible penalties for staying in the country longer than your visa implies.
- If you overstay your visa for less than 20 days, you have to pay 500 RMB for each extra day. The maximum fine is 10,000 RMB.
- Detention camp. This punishment is applied to those who overstay their visa for longer than 20 days. There is even a possibility of deportation.
- You can be prohibited to re-enter China for the next 10 years.
- Hotels, train stations, and airports might refuse to serve you if your visa has expired.
As you can see, the penalties are rather serious. So, we advise you to check your visa expiration date in order not to overstay.
Why does my Chinese work visa application gets rejected?
The reasons for visa rejection can be different. As a rule, a counselor at the visa center doesn’t explain why your visa is denied.
That’s why the best thing you can do in order to prevent this unpleasant situation is to make sure all your documents meet the requirements of visa application.
By this, we mean the following:
- An application form should be typed. Chinese embassy doesn’t accept hand-written applications.
- All information should be accurate. If it turns out that you lied or concealed some facts about yourself, your application will be refused.
- Proper passport photo. But as a rule, Canadian citizens don’t have problems with it since they are photographed at visa centers.
Contacts of Chinese embassies in Canada
Chinese embassies in Canada are located in 5 cities. Check the list below and choose the closest one to you so it’s easy for you to submit your visa application.
Address: 220 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 1450, K1P 5Z9
Phone number: 613-563-8472
E-mail: [email protected]
Address: 250-999 West Broadway, BC, V5Z 1K5
Phone number: 604-336-8866
E-mail: [email protected]
Address: Suite 1501, 393 University Avenue
Phone number: 416-345-8472
E-mail: [email protected]
Address: Suite200,855,8th Avenue,SW, T2P 3P1
Phone number: 403-930-2288
E-mail: [email protected]
Address: 7th Floor, No. 2000, Mansfield Street, suite 700, H3A 2Z6, Quebec
Phone number: 001-514-680-8472
E-mail: [email protected]
All the offices work from Monday to Friday.
But keep in mind that they are closed at the weekend as well as during national holidays.
There are 19 Canadian holidays on which Chinese embassies don’t work.
They are likely to be closed on Chinese national holidays, too. So, make sure you know about business days and hours of a Chinese embassy in Canada before you go there in person.