China Work Permit vs. China Work Certificate

Liz Smith
Career China Digital Marketing Manager
Oct 16, 2018

Getting a job in China is easier than it may seem. However, the difficulties tend to come around once you get into the visa process. One topic in particular that seems to be the most confusing for people is the difference between a Chinese work permit, Work Certificate, and the China Resident Permit. All of these are a part of the China work visa process, but they are different documents that are needed at different times. So let's clarify!

China Work Permit: Before You Get Your Working Z Visa

After you get a job offer in China, then you will need to begin the work visa process. There are a number of steps in the process for getting your Chinese work visa. So be sure to review all materials here on our website, and read the information from your visa specialist carefully. While you can gather some documents for your work visa in advance, you can't really start the official process until you sign a job offer.

After the offer is signed, then you will be given instructions from our Career China visa team on the specific documents you will need to gather for the first stage of your work visa. These include items such as your resume, University degree, TEFL certificate, background check, passport, photos, physical exam, etc.

These items will need to be notorized and authenticated. Be sure to check with your visa specialist on the process for notorization and authentication - because it can vary between countries (and also can change at any time!). Once that is finished, they will need to be sent to China in order so they can process your work permit.

You need your work permit BEFORE you can apply for your visa at the consulate in your home country.

After you receive your work permit, then you can finish your visa application and submit it to your consulate with your passport and related application materials. Once you receive your visa, you are ready to fly to China!

The work permit can take roughly 1 month to complete.

However, this depends on if all the documents were prepared correctly. There are a number of things that can delay this process, mostly if something isn't done right. So pay attention to the instructions from your Visa Specialist carefully!

China Work Certificate: After You Arrive in China

Having your Z visa in your passport allows you entry into China. However, the legal process isn't yet finished. With the assistance of either our visa team or a representative from your employer, you will be taken to the police station to register (as all foreigners in China must do). You may also need another physical exam.

Then you will need to take the following documents to apply for your Work Certificate in China:

1. Passport (real, not a copy)

2. Police registration form

3. Physical examination

4. Two two-inch passport photos with white background

In about 5 days, your Work Certificate will be ready.

China Resident Permit: The Final Step to Being a Legal Resident in China!

Finally you are at the last step of the whole process once you have received your Work Certificate in China. With the help of our team or a representative from your employer, you will go to the local PSB office in China and submit the following documents:

1. Passport (real passport not copy).

2. Updated Police registration form from police station

3. Resident permit application forms.

4. One two-inch passport photo with white background.

5. Original Work certificate 

In around 10 business days, your final resident permit will be ready to be picked up!

A Legal Resident in China

While the process may seem daunting, it is absolutely doable...and worth the hassle to be done right. Nothing feels better than having that official resident permit, which enables you to travel anywhere within China as well as bouncing in and out of China as many times as you want. There are no restrictions to how long you can stay, at least for the duration of your resident permit's validity. And you can come and go as you please. Plus, it's peace of mind to know everything is legal and you can just work and live as you wish in China.

Read more from The Ultimate Guide for Moving to China

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