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Z-VISA in the UK

Michael Tyler


Owner and main contributor to the blog.

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Single entry Chinese Z-VISA
Single entry Chinese Z-VISA

Timescales and costs involved in getting a Chinese Z-VISA in the UK.

1) Getting a CRC (Criminal Record Check) for an Individual in the UK

The first document you’re going to require – CRC or Criminal Record Check. Background check. Whatever.

In the UK this document is surrounded by Bureaucracy and red-tape. Arranging one for an individual is ‘not possible’, they can only be done for organisations.

This is a lie. Of the many people I spoke to, they all told me this. “You need to be from a company”.

This is to prevent individuals abusing their lack of criminal record, like you might abuse your medical records… I guess…. But in the UK, it’s very important that the only people to KNOW you’re not a criminal are companies. You cannot be trusted with the truth.

That’s what they tell you.

It’s actually a lie. I guess, to make money.

You need to go the right website This site will give you a background or criminal record check for the UK.

The site will provide any individual with a basic disclosure about their criminal records as held on file by the UK police service.

This disclosure is now a requirement for any UK national wishing to take up a teaching position.

Total time 5 days.

2) Invitation Letter/Experts Certificate

The experts certificate takes two weeks.

The invitation letter, much longer. I ended up waiting for nearly a month for mine.

Some provinces in China require that all foreigners arrive with a Z-Visa. The province that I work in, Zhejiang province, has this requirement.

Total time (30th Sept – 22nd October.)  22 days.


Formal documentation is required.

My company chose to post DHL express. Originals are required by the passport office.

Total time 2 days.

4) Apply for Z-Visa + Processing

At the Manchester consulate. 3 and 4 day services. I took 3.


Total time 3 days.


Total time:  32days (not including non-working days and weekends).

Total cost: £115 + travel


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  1. Hi, I am waiting for my invitation letter etc. for a teaching job in China, Shanghai. It should be here any day now and I am looking into the best way to get my Z visa. I’ll be doing this in Manchester but looking into it I am so confused. Can you please give me the website of the place where you got yours? I thought it cost a couple of hundred quid but you’ve put £90. Any help would be much appreciated.

  2. Thank you so much for the help
    I’ve just received my paperwork now so I’m making an appointment with them


  3. Hi,

    Do I need to get copies of my degree and Criminal Check apostilled? And then get it authenticated by the Chinese embassy?



    1. I don’t think so.
      They do in Saudi and Vietnam. Not the case in China yet.
      Individual schools may have additional requirements. They’ll let you know what’s required when you apply.

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