WORK IN CHINA?
Those readers who know me will remember I lived and worked in China for several years. The city I lived in was Shanghai, located on China¡¦s central eastern coast. Living in that city of 20 million was among some of the most fun times I ever had – and I strongly recommend that you go there, either as a tourist or even to work.
While there is plenty written about touring and living in China, there is relatively little information about working there, specifically what kind of formalities you would need to go through to legally work in China. For those of you interested in working in China, I have assembled some information about getting registered for your Work and Residence Permits with the assistance of a true friend and former work colleague, Ms. Robyn Shi.
GET REGISTERED FOR RESIDENCE & WORK
The information I provide here is specific to Shanghai and is subject to change at any time. If you plan on working in another city in China, you should expect to find drastically different procedures. I suggest you contact a relocation company that can assist you with the formalities for that city.
Also, this info is for foreign citizens – not Chinese nationals returning to work for a foreign enterprise under the guise of a foreigner. While there are several business formats that a foreigner may work under, most of them fall under the joint venture (JV) and wholly-owned foreign enterprise (WOFE) categories. These instructions apply mainly to folks working under these umbrellas. Also assume that you will be assisted by a competent relocation company – don¡¦t try it alone.
If you wish to speak with me about my hands-on experience working in China, feel free to contact me by clicking on the ¡§Contact This CP¡¨ button on this page or the main content page.
Now, info as follows…
ROUND ONE: HEALTH CHECK
The applicant and accompanying family members (age 18 years and above), must all undergo a health check. There are two options for this procedure.
Option one: Applicant (and family members) should have a health check in an appointed hospital in their country of residence. Applicant needs to bring original medical exam forms and results including original X-ray films to China. Upon arrival in China, go with an assistant from your relocation company to the Shanghai Quarantine Bureau for verification. Don¡¦t expect everything to be done in one visit. Frequently, there is a chance the Quarantine Bureau may ask you to redo some forms after checking them.
Option Two: Applicant (and family members) undergo the health check in Shanghai. Your relocation assistant should accompany you during the health check. The process usually takes 2 hours, but plan on more time if needed. The health check is usually conducted at:
Shanghai Quarantine Bureau
15 Jin Bang Road
Telephone: 021- 62688851
Hours of Operation: 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (Monday thru Friday)
Documents you and your family need to bring:
1. Original Passport
2. Copy of passport ID page
3. Copy of your sponsoring company¡¦s China Business License
4. Three 2-inch color photos
5. Exam fees to be paid in cash – about RMB 732.00
NOTE: Go on an empty stomach. Don¡¦t eat anything as some blood will be drawn and analyzed for glucose content.
ROUND TWO: EMPLOYMENT LICENSE & INVITATION LETTER
NOTE: This applies for applicants of a Single Entry ¡§Z¡¨ Work Visa AND if your sponsor company¡¦s registered capital is below $3 million USD.
Your relocation assistant can fill out your application for your Employment License and help craft an Invitation Letter from your sponsoring company. Once your application is approved and your Invitation Letter and Employment License are issued by the authorities in China, it will be sent back to the assignee.
You will then need to visit a Chinese Embassy or Consulate (outside of China) and present your Employment License and Invitation Letter to get your single-entry Z-Visa. If family members are accompanying you, they will need to apply for a travel ¡§L¡¨ visa.
If you do not do this prior to arrival in China, and if you arrive under an “F” or “L” visa and once the Employment License and Invitation Letter documents are granted, you will be required to leave the country and apply for your Single Entry “Z” visas outside of China. Folks typically do this in Hong Kong or Macau.
NOTE: I did this years ago in Hong Kong while staying at the Compass Hotel. The staff there were very knowledgeable of the procedures and in some cases were able to run all the paperwork for a fee. Check them out. If you like to gamble, try this while staying over in the gambling state of Macau.)
ANOTHER NOTE: Expect to see variations on the documentation required by respective Consulates around the globe. You should contact your Embassy or Consulate and request a listing of the documentation they require for your Single Entry Z visa.
Documents typically required for applying for an Employment License and Invitation Letter:
1. Copy of your highest diploma or degree (your relocation company should help coordinate having the diploma copy chopped by your sponsor).
2. Your resume (your relocation company should help write this in an acceptable format and coordinate with your sponsor company to have the resume ¡§chopped¡¨ with the company stamp).
3. Three 2-inch color photos.
4. Photocopy of your passport ID page.
5. A letter from the sponsor company stating your Job Title, detailing your work assignment with them and duration of your assignment. Your relocation company should help you write this letter.
6. Application Forms (your relocation company should prepare these forms and coordinate to have the forms chopped by your sponsor company).
The application process usually takes 8 business days, but expect delays.
Once approved, your Employment License and the Invitation Letter should be mailed back to you.
Next get your Z Visa. Document requirements for a Single Entry ¡§Z¡¨ visa:
1. Original Invitation Letter (sent to you from your relocation company)
2. Original Employment License (sent to you from your relocation company)
3. Passport photo
4. Original valid passport
5. Processing fee (your relocation company can tell you how much)
6. An application form
When you arrive in China, bring all paperwork and correspondence used for these applications and transactions.
ROUND THREE: RESIDENCE REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE
Unless you stay in a hotel, you need to register with the local Public Security Bureau with jurisdiction over your place of the residence within 24 hours after arrival. Otherwise, you may be subject to a penalty. Obtain a registration form from the Public Security Bureau directly. Usually hotel and management offices with residential compounds can help provide this service. If you have difficulty with this, ask your relocation company to help out.
ROUND FOUR: WORK PERMIT
Documents required getting your Work Permit:
1. Your original passport.
2. Original Employment License.
3. Three color photos (2-inch standard).
4. Original medical exam.
5. All application forms (your relocation company can assist completing these forms and have them chopped by your company).
6. Copy of the your employment contract with your sponsor company.
7. Your Chinese name (ask for good one!).
This process usually takes 5 business days, but expect delays.
STEP FIVE: RESIDENCE PERMIT
Required documents for you and each family member:
NOTE: Travel overseas during this time should be avoided
1. Two 2-inch color photos for each person
2. Original passports
3. Residence Registration Certificates for each family member
4. Original medical exam records for all family members
5. Copy of Marriage Certificate, preferably a certified copy
6. Company-chopped Residence License Application Letter
7. Copy of all Birth Certificates
This process usually takes 5-8 business days, but expect delays.
When done, work hard and have fun!
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