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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.

    2. Hi Shaun,

      Probably too late to be of help to you now but might be useful for others reading this.
      Yes, you will need a notary to sign degrees from most UK universities. They will also have to sign the Police Certificate if it hasn’t been signed by the issuing authority (although I don’t know why it wouldn’t have already been signed!).
      After that they need to be sent to the Foreign and Commonwealth office to be legalised before they can be sent to the Chinese embassy for authentication.

  4. Ive been told I need a health check so where do I get one in the UK…? Isnt it possible to just get a letter from a GP and then do all the tests in China.??

    1. You’ll need to do all the health checks in China whatever you do.
      The school will require a letter certified and stamped by the provincial authority.
      Stuff from the UK is not recognised.

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